Ray's J.D. (Juris Doctor)
1L: NWCULaw 1L Plan:
Prior to even starting the 1L year, I would hope that you grabbed my One Sheets/Definition Sheets and read them over at
least three times before doing anything else... you do NOT need to know everything you read, it is all important, and you
are going to go over it again and again - so it WILL make more and more sense!
My One Sheets/Definition Sheets contain 98% or MORE, of what you MUST be able to master COLD in order to do well on the
essay portion of the First Year Law Students' Examination, the FYLSX!
A bold statement, but here is how I can prove it... I pulled those issues out of the old PASSING SAMPLE essays, put them
into a spreadsheet, and sorted them to demonstrate what comes up most often - lower on this page, I have links to the initial
spreadsheets that I created... proof!
These issues do not change, and my One Sheets/Definition Sheets cover all three subjects in just 16 pages, three of which
are the One Sheets, the other 13 are the Definitions (Rule Statements), five for Torts and Contracts, and just three for
Criminal Law! They are designed to be easy to use, easy to memorize, and fast to deploy on the FYLSX.
Welcome to 1L! Be ready for the most difficult study you have ever been subjected to... ever! Now that we got that out
of the way, let's work on making it a WHOLE LOT EASIER!!!
Think of it as, "Ray suffered, so I don't have to! Thanks Ray!!!"
You're Welcome! Let's get to it!
The first thing that you need to do, is get some information into your head. You cannot possibly participate with any sort of
quality without knowing at least something to get you started. When I went through 1L, I was clueless, and I paid the price that
you will not have to pay if you follow the efficient and effective way to get a lot of data into your head in a very short period
of time... because EXTRA time is something you are NOT going to have!
Welcome to the study of law!
I mentioned them on the materials page, but let's get right into HOW to use the materials that I recommend, and use them in the
way that will get your head into ALL of the material in a very short period of time without forgetting anything as you work!
My original plan works well, by the middle of 3L, I evolved it to be better... and better is good!
Gilbert's Law Summary's:
Gilbert's Criminal Law
For Torts, Contracts, and Criminal Law, we have our Gilbert's Law Summary's. Let us take a fast look at how the Gilbert's are set
up - in one of three ways.
Some of the Gilbert's do not have a Capsule Summary, which is a very short version of the entire book, but for Torts, Contracts, and
Criminal Law, they all have the Capsule Summary. I just checked, and only Constitutional Law and Administrative Law did not have the
Capsule Summary, I'll come back to that.
There are two types of the Gilbert's which do have Capsule Summary's, and this difference is small, I did not even notice it until
I evolved this whole process for my 3L year! I just want to mention them here as they apply to the process.
In my Tort's Gilbert's, the book has a first section for each chapter called "Key Exam Issues." The exact same thing in my Contracts
Gilbert's is called "Chapter Approach."
They cover the same ideas that I want you to get into very quickly, which is primarily a short introduction to the chapter. For the
introduction to the entire book, in Torts, it is called "Gilbert Exam Strategies," and in Contracts, the same section is called,
"Approach to Exams." These are short introductions to the subject matter, and are only a couple of pages long. For each CHAPTER, they
also have the chapter introduction, which is a short overview of what you will be studying.
I just want you to be aware of the different names for the same things in each type of Gilbert's. Let's take a peek at the California
Bar Essay Book.
The California Bar Essay Book:
Essay Exam Writing for the California Bar Exam
In this little book, they cover ALL of the Essay Subjects that you can get hit with on the California Bar Exam Essay Section.
I want to go over the information that is inside this gem of a book... let's have a look!
Let's use Torts.
Now let me make this perfectly clear, I want you to do much better than I did, and I want that even more than YOU want that. My goal
is NOT to simply get you up to speed for the study of law, I want you to get up to speed to pass the 1L year with SOLID grades, and to
be PREPARED to attack the FYLSX with a higher probability of scoring well (as in passing!) within the first three administrations of
the FYLSX once you qualify for it.
Part 11 (in my book), Torts. It starts off with the table of contents, which is less than four pages long.
The next section is a one page introduction to Torts. Remember this page, I will be coming back to it.
The next section is the Issues Checklist, which seems painfully short, less than half a page! This is for later on
when you start to really learn stuff, to focus on the most vital issues.
The next section is a Memorization Attack Sheet. You will be lost if you try to use this from the start, do not even try,
but later on, when you look at it, you will see the beauty in what it really is, and you will love it! It is just three
The next section is the actual outline in this book. For Torts, it is only eighteen pages long!!! Everything you must master in
just 18 pages! However, the Memorization Attack Sheet is only three!!! As you can imagine, the better you learn the eighteen pages,
the more sense the three will make (and my five!)!
LEARN THIS COLD, but my Definitions are BETTER, because my Definitions (Rule Statements) are perfectly imperfect
to cover the widest set of facts, with the least amount of words!
The next section is the Torts Issues Tested Matrix. In short, this tells you the most important issues to know cold, but these
are for the BAR EXAM, not the FYLSX!!! My Definition Sheets cover what you must know, and are very short as is!
Following that section are a number of previous bar exam essays, and the first two have sample answers, but they all have an
assessment, which is helpful.
And allow me to touch on THAT point.
You want to pass the FYLSX the first time out - we all do. The FYLSX, on the other hand, NEVER wants ANYONE to pass, and it is geared
up to eat 80% (on average) of everyone who sits for it, every. single. administration... the numbers do not lie!
On average EIGHTY PERCENT of everyone sitting in the same exam you are sitting for IS GOING TO FAIL IT... EVERY SINGLE TIME!!!
I want that to be crystal clear in your mind. The FYLSX is not "curved," it is scaled two ways, and I address that on the FYLSX page,
but trust me now, and thank me later, you WANT to be prepared for The Beast.
I have, in my possession, a letter that tells me I passed the FYLSX in October 2014... that was my SIXTH attempt, so I know a bit about
what it takes to pass the FYLSX... trust me know, master this information as fast as you can - my program here will help get you there,
right where you need to be!
I do recommend the Fleming 1L Survival Kit. It is not cheap, but it has a LOT of excellent material in it. For 2L, 3L, and
4L, we have access to Professor Fleming's video lectures, and the outlines are included in our tuition price, we call in for
them, and they are mailed to us.
Fleming's course is REVIEW. I would do all of the reading I suggest above, and THEN go into the Fleming materials and see just
how well you understand his course.
Below is a technique I used for enhancing the Fleming audio lectures in the FYLSX kit.
In Microsoft Media Player, there is a "Rip" button that allows you to capture CD audio to your computer.
Capture the Fleming audio to your computer so that you can play it at an enhanced rate of speed. Fleming will talk faster,
but not sound like a chipmunk - which is sort of a neat thing.
I can listen at 1.8 times normal speed, but I suggest that you start out at about 1.4 to 1.5 times normal speed until you get
used to him and the material.
Fleming is a REVIEW of the entire year. This is why it was so important to bang out all the other work before you got to here,
so it will make more sense the first time out!
Go through the Fleming Materials a MINIMUM of three times, in full. Do it with his books in front of you and use the books as
he goes through it all - you need the audio and the book.
Later on, you will see why.
California Bar Sample Answers:
The sample answers from the California Bar website are sample answers from essays. Both your mid term and the final exam are
essays - see the connection?
Do this project PRIOR to working on your mid term exam and the mid term (an open book exam) will be MUCH easier for you to
complete. Then, continue mastering this project and you will fly through your final exams and not end up on Academic Probation
like I did!
The Super Secret Fact!:
I know the fear that you might not even realize that you have - there is so much material to know!
Or... is there???
Sample Answers are not Model Answers:
I can tell you two things about the California Bar FYLSX Sample Answers:
"The answers received good grades and were written by applicants who passed the examination."
What else do you need to know?
That comes from the document on which the sample answers are attached... they passed.
If you go over all of the sample answers from 2002 through 2012 (I have them all), you would find glaring mistakes, horrible
rules, outright incorrect restatement of facts!
If you take any particular sample essay, and hold it up as the ultimate truth against the fact pattern it was written on - you
will find serious errors.
This is NOT why we want to know the issues, and you are going to love this!
The California Bar DOES NOT Test on Everything!:
Go over the last few years of administrations of the FYLSX essays. Look over the samples. Take one sheet of paper per essay, so
four sheets of paper per administration. Along the top of the page, write something like - "October 2012, Q1, Torts" (because
You will want the above information for further analysis, that is why you do it on a single sheet of paper per essay.
Make a line down the center of the page. On the left side of the page, make a list of the issues that the "A" answer spotted
and wrote up.
On the right side, write up the issues that the "B" answer saw and wrote up that are DIFFERENT than what the "A" answer saw.
At times, the "A" answer may very well have seen everything the "B" answer saw - and then some - so the "B" side - or right
side - of the page, will be blank.
This is fine, all you want to do is pull out all of the issues written up per essay. When you are done, make the list nice
and neat, one list per essay.
When you have gone through all of the samples that you can get your hands on and made the lists, use a computer spreadsheet
(openoffice.org has a complete "office style" suite for free - I use it... As of 2015, I am using Libre Office, and it works
with OpenOffice too) and start entering in the data per subject. This is part of the reason you made that note along the top
of each page!
Contracts only, criminal law only and torts only. When you have completed entering in all of the issues for the subject you
are working on, find the tool to "alphabetize" the list. Press it. You will now have an INSTANT image of what the California
Bar is really testing you on!
When you complete this entire project, you will see four types of issues:
1) Issues that come up ALL the time - you must memorize all of these!
When you get done with this process, you will have a master list of issues that you can clearly see that you MUST know, and
know them cold!
2) Issues that come up often enough for concern - you should memorize these too.
3) Issues that come up every so often - you should be familiar with these.
4) Issues that rarely come up, once in five or ten years. Don't waste too much of your time on these, if any!
There are NOT really all that many issues - especially compared with the realm of each subject.
After I saw the obvious, I made up three spreadsheets.
Here are those spreadsheets - they cover from 2002 through 2011.
You need to zoom in on them to read them.
In fact, the short list will work out to be:
In Contracts, it is Formation.
Find the list of specific issues that come up all the time, make your list.
In Criminal Law, it is Homicide.
In Torts, it is Negligence / Products Liability.
Now comes the hard part. I could find no single source - not one! - for exam ready, perfected rules (definitions) that can be
used to memorize and use effectively on the essays. I had to create my own.
My eventual definition lists came from Gilbert's, Fleming, Foldeez, Black's Law Dictionary, the Internet and the exams themselves.
Mine included every single issue that came up at all between 2002 and 2012, but you do not need near that many. The point to
working up your perfected "exam ready" definitions is that, as you work with them, making them better and better, you memorize
When you sit for a law school final, or the FYLSX, if you did the process correctly, the essay portion of the exam will be
simple for you.
PRE START: Read my Definition Sheets THREE TIMES in a row... do NOT get hung up, just read them THREE TIMES IN A ROW!!! TRUST ME!
Do not look anything up, do not get upset, just read through them three times in a row before you start... again, trust me.
1) Grab the California Bar Essay Book. Read the Intro pages for Torts, Contracts, and Criminal Law. This is very basic
information, an introduction, and I am positive that some folks will not understand all of what they are saying... do NOT worry about
that, just read the three pages once or twice, and feel free to take the rest of the day off - hard stuff, right? I told you! TRUST ME
NOW, thank me later!
2) Grab the Gilbert's Torts Summary.
On this big book, you are only going to hit the INTRODUCTION sections initially! I want you to read the Gilbert Exam Strategies / Approach
to Exams, for the subject, and then I want you to read ONLY the Introduction sections of the rest of the book. There is a one page intro
for the book, read that too, but jump on the sections called either Key Exam Issues, or Chapter Approach and read those sections of each
book. Stop at the Intro, do not go into the main outline yet! The first part of either sort of outline will begin at "A." You will know
it when you see it - stop there, even if it says "A. Introduction."
This is short reading, and I want you to just get your eyes on all the words. Don't get lost, do not look things up right now, you will
be doing enough of that in short order... right now, just get your eyes on the introduction sections and read on through! This will not
take you long!
3) Once you complete all three of those books intro sections to EVERY chapter - this is short reading! - I want you to
re-read the One Page Introduction to Torts, Contracts, and Criminal Law in the California Bar Essay Book again... take the rest of the
What on earth did we just do?
Let me tell you... You just go the introduction to all three subjects in a very effective and efficient manner, and you did not have time
to forget anything, because you hit them all in short order... now we will be stepping up the amount of work, but with the same game plan
in mind... all three subjects, in a relatively short amount of time - by using a section of the Gilbert's that I had initially ignored
completely... the Capsule Summary!
4) Go back to the Gilbert's and start reading the Capsule Summary. Read all the way through one subject at a time so as
not to mix anything up. Do not worry about not understanding anything just yet - trust me, the really important things will repeat often!
This is NOT short reading, but it is far shorter than the MAIN Outline! Just read on through and get them done, it won't take you very long!
5) Now go back to the California Bar Essay Book and re-read that single Introduction page for the three subjects and take
the rest of the day off... let your mind rest, and work on the information you have been feeding it!
Next, still part of 5 above, now read the California Bar Essay Book outlines! These things are short! They have all the information that
you must know very well, and a little bit more for understanding. This is short reading, and you should start to grasp much of what you
are reading at this point. When you get done reading these three sections, re-read them again... this is short reading, and you are going
to be spending a LOT of quality time with this book!!!
6) At this point, you should be working on your projects. You will have Quizzes, Vocabulary, and Case Brief Assignments
that must be done and submitted to the school. The reason I have this listed as number 6 is because if you want to look things up, now is
a good time to do it!
Let's look at the assignments.
Before we get there...:
I want to mention PARTICIPATION.
We NEED to score any free extra credit that we can, and painfully, there is little of that to be had! There is extra credit given
for participation in the discussion boards, as well as in class discussions. If you can participate live in class, in the video or
text classes, I highly recommend that you do so. I personally cannot get to most of the live classes for a variety of reasons, but when
I can, I certainly try to.
If you miss a class, they record them, you can watch them on the school's site and make a report on the appropriate discussion board
as to what the subject matter was, and that helps your extra credit.
Active participation with some decent quality in your postings can save you! In fact, we are granted either 1/3, 2/3, or 3/3 credit
for our level of participation. The thirds are "of a grade." Now, if you wrote all "D's" and finished the year, but had rock solid
participation, that could bring you up to a "C!"
This is not an easy program, and my GPA is very close to a "C" as I begin 4L. The thing that saved me? Participation in the discussion
You MUST get all of the extra credit that you can... if you wrote all "B's," your final grades become an "A," now THAT kind of benefit
is what you really want!
PARTICIPATE, learn stuff, score free credit with the bonus of your quality participation!
Let me tell you how valuable it really is, in real life. In the 3L year, when I got my grades back from my mid terms, I KNEW, at that
point, that if I walked into my Final Exams and wrote complete trash, and failed all four Final Exams, I would STILL pass and move on
into the final year of 4L!
Here is the kicker, I did actually write pretty crappy Final Exams - not on purpose - but because I do write poorly on the essays, but
I have this one last year to GET good at it... still, the PARTICIPATION gave me the boost I needed to allow me to slide into 4L without
landing in Academic Probation - a position I did not want to be in for this final year!
Bottom line? Participate!
For 1L only, you will have Quiz Assignments for Torts, Contracts, and Criminal Law. You do not have Quizzes for the upper level
law study classes - so, you have something to look forward to on that part of it.
The Quizzes take some time to get through, but you want to start working on them right away. If you want to also start on the
Vocabulary Assignments feel free to do that too, but in regard to the Quiz Assignments, feel free to bounce around on those
until you have all of them completed, for Torts, Contracts, and Criminal Law. Once you have them all completed, submit them
together (we have to submit all of the same TYPE of assignment all at the same time, all Quizzes at once, all Vocabulary at
the same time, all Case Briefs at the same time.)
Vocabulary Assignments are from the Clancey's Outlaws. So let me go ahead and help you set this one up.
In the Syllabus for each course, you find the Vocabulary Assignment with just the terms that you need to write up examples for.
However, on the school website, you can find the Clancey's Outlaws. The way I work with the Vocabulary Assignment is to copy
the Clancey's Outlaws and I EDIT them down to about ten pages (or there about) each. I leave (or further edit) the definition
that is included, and then I make a template out of the whole thing whereby I write in my work, the Example or Explanation,
where appropriate, below the supplied definition. When I get done, the average document will have grown back up to about 26
pages or so.
My reason for using the Clancey's Outlaws is because they ARE the Vocabulary Assignment, and having the definition there reminds
me of what they do NOT want, a new definition... the school is asking for an example, or a new explanation, of what the term is.
The reason to use a template is because it makes the assignment fly by much faster than it would have otherwise.
Case Brief Assignments
You do NOT need Case Books! Use Google and search for the case, the best ones are on Wikipedia, and Google Scholar.
These are long (yet one page (mostly) each), there are 33 of them in 1L (at least I had 33 of them when I did the 1L year.
The very first note I made to myself was to make a template for Case Briefs... do this! I might upload mine, but you only need
to do it once, then repeat it for the number of cases you have to brief in the subject.
When I was in 1L, we had to print them out and snail mail them in - which is probably why we have to send everything in at one
time (by project type!). Now, we simply upload them, and this is where the template is even more valuable!
For 2L, I did them the same sort of way, then I had to create PDF files and merge them together, that took me a while and it was
a pain. For the 3L Case Briefs, I simply made a new template page for the ten or so cases, and I placed a page break between each
one. I set up the templates for all of the Case Briefs before I did any of them. When I started doing them, to my surprise, they
just started to fly.
Let me explain the painful process of Case Briefs.
Keep them short, if it is more than one page, it is no longer a brief, but every now and then, one will spill over to a second page.
If you go past two pages, you are doing something wrong, look at it closer.
Now, in 1L, I had 33 cases to brief in all. As I started, it was taking forever. Each one was painful and seemed to take just as long
as the one before... but as I hit around number seven or eight, I started to notice that they moved faster. Just a little bit at first,
but then they had become obviously shorter to bang them out, and by the end of them, I was moving right along.
Now that you now how horrible they will feel initially, and that it rapidly gets smoother, and faster, you can feel the joy of being
able to have that feeling for yourself as it happens... and it will!
It normally took me about a month to do all of the Case Briefs, but in 3L, I got them all done in less than two weeks, and they just
flew by... I hope I have that sort of experience for 4L, because it was fantastic that it happened in 3L when I needed to catch up
Mid Term Exams:
Every course has a Mid Term Exam, and - normally, they have two parts to them. Both are essays, and one is what I call a College Style
Essay. On this one, I have always been able to share personal experiences in the subject matter due to my work in Litigation Support
(Video Production and Presentation), and these had been pretty fast for me to bang out three to five thousand word essays about.
The OTHER essay is a Bar Style Essay (Introduction to Law and Legal Writing does not have this one, or a Final Exam (the FYLSX is your
Final Exam for that one!)). The Bar Style Essay is the GRADED one, and it is one third of your final grade!
It is OPEN BOOK, and it has no time limit on it. For 1L, 2L, and 3L, I did not take a limitless Mid Term on that essay, but I tried
to do them closed book, and in one day, maybe some spill over to a second day (as in 3L). Still, my grades sucked on those, and did not
This is how I will be doing my 4L Mid Terms (Bar Style). I suggest that you do them this way as well!
Print out (they are in the syllabus) the Mid Term. Read it every single week - at least once, maybe three times or more - they are short,
and as the time ticks on, you will start to recognize some of the Issues being tested. Just keep reading them every week, and DO NOT SUBMIT
them until you have completed the Quizzes, Vocabulary, Case Briefs, and participated a good amount on the Discussion Boards. You really
want to aim very high... like an A! - on the Bar Style Mid Terms. Here is why...
It is not completely likely that you will score an "A." So you want to score as high of a grade as you can. I would suggest to submit the
Mid Term Exams around month 8 or 9, and give it a tremendous effort to make sure you fully understand the Issues, and how to answer the
question (Fact Pattern).
Every other assignment should have already been submitted, and accepted, and you should feel pretty confident about your effort on the Mid
Terms. You want to get them submitted by around month 9 so that you get the feedback with your grades and still have time to adjust with
anything you do not know very well. You need to do this in time for the Final Exams in month 12.
Now, if you did indeed score well on the Mid Terms, you will also know how much extra credit you scored for your participation. Using my
example from 3L, I KNEW, by my grades and the level of participation that I earned, that - even if I failed all four Final Exams, that I
would STILL make it into 4L! The PROBLEM is that if I had failed all four Final Exams, I would have been on Academic Probation.
I was also able to determine that if I scored a D+ or better, that I would slide into 4L with above a 2.0 GPA for the year. I did NOT
score as high as I would have liked, but I did score more points in extra credit, which gave me the clean slide into 4L, without being
on Academic Probation!
Again for 4L, I am already reading the Mid Terms, and I will be - every week! - until I am ready to start working them up for submission!
I will also take my sweet time to make sure I am very happy prior to submitting them!