Friday, 23 May 2008

NYC- Day 6- Burglarizing.

First day of class today. As ever, I was about 15 mins late (will I ever be organised enough to get myself to the right place in time, for anything?). To be fair we had just moved into our apartment about half an hour beforehand so time was a little tight.

Classes are at NYU, which is in the nicest location- the village. It's really pretty. Class of somewhere between 50-100, I think there were about 5 classrooms on at the same time. So, I find myself a seat and sit down and wait. And wait some more. And people start to get annoyed. Turned out we weren't meant to be in this room, there had been a switch at the last minute but someone had helpfully removed the sign on the door that said this.

Anyway, someone at BarBri eventually clicks to this and comes in. She apologises profusely, and then loads up the DVD.

Yup, we're being taught by video. 4 hours of a video lecturing on criminal law. It was exactly as fun as it sounds. I can't imagine how much BarBri are raking in- if there were about 70 people in my class, who have each paid about $3000 for the class, that adds up to a lot when you consider that all Barbri has to provide is a few books, room rental, and pay the lecturers to tape these lectures. (Some are live- we have the videos of the the live lectures). And this happens all over the US, Barbri is the biggest provider. I'm sure their actual costs run at a fraction of what people pay. Anyway, that's just an aside.

So we pretty much covered all of criminal law in that 3 1/2 hour slot (1st half hour was intro stuff). I think I might get close to your GDL in 28 days record Swiss Tony! We have 30 lectures, each of about 3 1/2-4 hours, and in that time we are expected to cover the 'general' multistate law and the particulars of New York State Law.

The silly thing about the multistate aspect of it, is that for many areas, like today's criminal law lecture, it's not the law of any states really - because it was sort of common law based, whereas nearly all states have gone on to codify their criminal law.

I learned all about the joys of larceny, false pretenses, homicide and -my favourite- burglary today. Which is what you get when someone burglarizes you. I was typing away on my laptop and I had so many squiggly red lines from where I'd used the British spelling of words, I will have to adjust my register accordingly!

But seriously, burglarize?


Swiss Tony said...

Mel, its interesting how the excitement and anticipation of beginning a new course fly right out of the window to the sidewalk as soon as the lecture begins.

If its as dull as you say, just think that you could have done the same thing, listening to recorded lectures in the UK, so no good food, no exciting place to be, no interesting people to watch, no funny accents to hear, and just the rain and London Transport to contend with.

Although I realise now I have said it that London has as many interesting people and funny accents, its just not the same.

I hope that despite the dvd aspect, you do enjoy things, and are careful with those americanisms.


Mel said...

It is dull, but it's not that bad. On the one hand it's not as hard as doing a degree, because you really don't have to worry about why the law is and wherefore and how it should be and how it got there. You just have to learn the law. Now, learning by rote has never been my strong point but I'm sure I can get over that.

The setting is completely what makes it do-able. I love London, but a change is nice. And now I will have lived in London, Paris, and New York. Ooh, get me :P.

Actually I don't mind the DVD aspect, it means you don't have to worry about a lecturer seeing you yawn etc!

Actually the (video) lecturer said the exact same thing as you about anticipation etc. He said halfway through 'you're probably bored by now, but that doesn't matter- you don't need an A in the Bar exam, you need a C+". Which makes sense I guess, so just get on with it!

Anonymous said...

The beauty and subtlety( not that I have spelled the wretched term correctly) the English Language in its properly spoken and written form, I must say I do rather find the terminology of our colonial cousins somewhat frustrating: "burglarizing"(what ever happened to theft?!)"criminalizing" ( whats with the Z?) "labor" "harbor" where's (the u?!) but then again I suppose I am bieng a bit silly given the truly stunning breadth and depth of American Literature, which can not in any way be detratcted from despite the odd missing vowel or consonant. I really am an old bag sometimes!

I commend you, Miss Mel, for your bravery in tackling the laws of New York State, particularly when it is delivered in that most dry of all educational forms, Rote.I am totally positive that you, cosmopolitan spirit that you are, will be absolutely fine! :)

I cannot WAIT to hear your observations on your classmates!!

Hope you and Boy are settling down/in well. What will Boy be doing for the duration of your stay, or is he there in his full time official capacity as rock/supporter/ chief tissue box holder/random cuddler/all around good egg?!

Anonymous said...

Bum!! so much for my command of the English Language!!!!! What I MEANT to begin my last post with was " As one who is deeply passionate about .......(bieng possessed of verbal dihorrea)....."
eeeeeeee! take the splinter out your own eye, Minx, before taking the log out of those of our colonial cousins!!!!
(*goes to lie down in a dark room - its been a ROUGH week*.....)

Mel said...

Thanks Minx. American law is (See next post) at the moment making me feel like I'm at a convention of Law & Order writers.

Boy is also taking the NYBar exam. Being the member of an existing US state Bar (albeit at the other side of the country) he felt he didn't need to shell out for lectures, and would simply self study with books. So we are sort of studying together, but not quite. I think he'll be spending more time at the apt than I am so I expect full tissue holding/ purchasing of chocolate remedies to be in preparation every evening!

(Yanks do just hate the letter 'u' it seems - and fail to realise that when an 's' is between 2 vowels, it's pronounced 'z' and so you don't need to make it a 'zee'. Grr argh indeed).

Android said...

Video lectures? Unbelievable :)

What are your books like? Anything exciting? :)

Mel said...

Yup- video lectures. In large size, but still video lectures!

The books are...huge! But not spectacular. They're the course provider's own books, rather than being practitioner volumes. They're pretty much the lecture content plus some other stuff. There's a fat one on NY law and a fat one on Multistate law, and then an even fatter one which is meant to be the 'mini review' of both of those books. I think that's a misuse of 'mini'!

The other ones I haven't really looked at...I think they're for testing yourself, etc. One is to take to lectures and you fill in the blanks as the lecture goes on...Yup the NY Bar is basically a test of reading comprehension and rote legal knowledge.