Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

I bought my books yesterday for spring semester, which starts on Monday. One of the books is a 1416-page behemoth of a casebook. And yet, the first line of the editors' note: "No single volume can contain all that an instructor would like to convey to law students concerning...." Um, FOURTEEN HUNDRED PAGES. I think you came pretty close, Professor. No single volume? Is there a part two? Are we machines?

I've waited until this final semester to deal with the professional responsibility requirement. The bookstore had a whole bunch of used copies of the casebook, so I spent ten minutes flipping through looking for the least highlighted one I could find. I've heard multiple strategies on this. Some people like the highlights because it saves them reading. But how can you trust someone else's highlights? It's a very personal thing. I don't want someone else's incorrect or sloppy or distracting notes vying for my attention on the page. 1L year, my Criminal Law book was used and someone had written on one of the pages, "The person next to me sucks" or something like that (I've blogged about this before, and used the exact quote -- I'm just paraphrasing now, because it's not important, but you get the point), in really big letters, and we spent a lot of time on that page, and I had to cover it with my arm so the person next to me wouldn't see and think that I wrote it. It was quite frustrating, and something I've tried to avoid since. Anyway, I was looking through the used books and came across one that had a friend's name on the inside cover. So at first I was inclined to buy his book, just because I thought that would be cool. But I flipped through it, and he'd taken really sloppy and illegible notes in the margins and it was all a big distracting mess. I've lost respect for him (I'm kidding). I didn't buy his book. Instead I bought the book used by someone who did about 2 weeks of reading, carefully underlining the important parts of about 30 pages of the book, and then never opened the book again. Much better.

Two of my classes don't seem to have any books (yet?), which probably means a thousand-page packet, or some other monstrosity. That's okay. I like packet reading better than casebook reading. At least there's always a chance for something interesting -- a newspaper article, a graphic, something that ends a third of the way down the page. There's potential surprises in a packet. Not in a casebook. It's just cases, and notes, and questions, and problems with no answers, and answers with no problems, and... and... it's FOURTEEN HUNDRED PAGES.