Leslie Griffin

Constitutional Law (scroll down for Torts)

Our section was the first to get Griffin for Con Law (in 2002) because at that time she was a recent transplant from University of Santa Clara Law School. Because there were no 2Ls for us to quiz about exams and such, she came to us as an unknown. You are going to learn a TON about Con Law - on the upside you can dazzle your friends with your smarts while watching The O’Reilly Factor. On the downside, if you were hoping for an easier workload in semester 2, Griffin sure won't give you one.

Con Law reading is fairly lengthy and often pretty dry, particularly the early material on historic cases. The Chemerinsky hornbook Griffin recommends is genuinely excellent, but I paid $65 for mine and only opened it a few times in the first few weeks; after that I started to catch on to the material better and I didn’t really have the time for the extra reading anyway. You might give the class a few weeks before buying the Chemerinsky book, Rothers won’t let you return it beyond a week into the semester.

Griffin calls on lots of people in a given class, sometimes up to 15. While “I don’t know” seems to be an acceptable answer, at least early on in the semester, I wouldn’t make a habit out of it. Griffin has an excellent memory and will notice pretty quickly if someone is consistently unprepared. On the topic of memory, Griffin also notices if someone has an axe to grind on a particular issue and will return to that person with questions whenever that issue comes up.

Griffin is fine with fielding questions during class and tends to encourage class debate. You will cover a LOT of material in her classes, and she’s good about feeding you the important points of law, constitutional tests, etc. so if you can write (or type) quickly you can get some really good class notes from her. She doesn’t however like to take questions in the hour immediately before class, or while she’s standing around waiting for the minute hand to hit 12 so she can begin teaching (she prefers to concentrate on her teaching notes for that day).

Like I said, you will cover a very large volume of substantive material in Con Law, so unless you police yourself, you’ll end up with a 50 page outline to study from come exam time, which is unfeasibly long. A remedy that was effective for me was to continually update my “big outline” (it ultimately ended up being 48 pages), but then about 4 weeks out from the exam, go through all pull out the important points of law and create a super-reduced outline that’s maybe 7 or 8 pages, and study from it. A reduced outline that my study group liked a lot is posted below.

Griffins Con Law Exam:

Definitely, positively, do Griffin’s old exams that are posted online. Its excellent practice, and she posts summary sheets for each exam that tell you what you should have talked about to get a good grade. Griffin is also very good about reading over students answer attempts to old exam questions and will give you feedback either by email or in person. Griffin made it very clear for us what we’d need to do to achieve a certain grade, namely:

C answer: answer the question as to whether the law in the fact pattern is constitutional or not, offer some reasoning as to why
B answer: do the above, but also include the relevant case precedent and explain how it would effect the fact pattern in the question.
A answer: do the above two, but also include a discussion of how the current supreme court would cast their votes on the issue in the fact pattern.

Griffin’s preferred method of answering a question is the polar opposite of Crump’s preferred method, so if you have both these profs, be aware that one style of exam answer definitely does not fit all. Whereas Crump likes all the relevant law laid out before the facts in the question are applied (closer to the standard IRAC – Issue, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion format), Griffin likes answers that simultaneously apply the law to the facts.

Griffin is also very big on exam answers NOT giving her a history lesson. By the time the exams come around pretty much everyone knows the law and could write an undergrad style paper, listing what you have been able to memorize. Griffin sees a thorough application of the law to the facts as much more important. One time she commented that if a client comes to you when you’re an attorney, they don’t want to sit in front of you for half an hour listening to a potted history of the supreme court’s precedent on equal protection, they want to know what you can do for them in their situation. Keep that in mind when answering her exams.

Lastly, Griffin by her own admission is a Prof who drops hints in class about topics that would make for a good exam question, so keep your ears open. At the time of our exam, two big equal protection cases were being heard by the supreme court, Lawrence v Texas (petitioners wanting the court to find Texas’ sodomy law unconstitutional) and the University of Michigan Law School affirmative action case. Griffin is big on setting questions that reflect decisions the court is about to make, so be smart: discuss the possible arguments that can be made for either side with your study group before the exam, analyze how the justices might vote, and make notes on your discussion. We got Lawrence v Texas (well…not the case, but the same fact pattern) on our exam. Discussing the case a few times with my study group had a lot to do with my grade and how prepared I was for the exam.

Anonymously contributed Con Law A Outline added 09-04-2008
Carter Outline - Con Law - Spring 2003
Carter Outline - 8 Page Reduced Con Law Outline
Anonymously Contributed Con Law A Outline

Professional Responsibility

Anonymously contributed Professional Responsiblity outline (PDF file - needs Adobe reader) added 08-17-2009


The following advice was anonymously contributed:

*** START *** Sitting in Leslie Griffin's Torts II class was like watching a speed round game show; always be prepared, don't pay too much attention to your book or computer or her or she'll pick on you so you have to find that perfect balance of looking like you are taking notes and looking at her. Also, this is not a professor you want to miss too many classes with, she notices your absences. However, her final is straightforward and not too hard. *** END ***

Griffin Torts Outline – spring 2010added 01-01-2011
Griffin Torts Outline
Griffin Torts II Outline (thanks to Carl Galant)

Griffin Torts Outline 2003 (thanks to Robin Phillips)
Griffin Torts Flash Cards 2003 (thanks to Robin Phillips)