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For 145E course: Do not take this class. Save yourself the burden. There is alot of reading and unless you have a cool TA (Gilda) then you will not do well in the class. Don't try to approach her or raise your hand in class because she will belittle you and make you regret any question you have asked. The class is pretty funny at times, especially when she forgets something or just plainly, is her old granny self. She gets off tangent alot too in class. Bring you laptop, if you don't want all your notes to be scattered. Also, Wikipedia will be your best friend, since most of you will not have time to read all your cases. So, good luck if you are dying to take this course. Other than that, stay away.
Very interesting class and the cases she assigns are really interesting and not too long. The exam questions are also pretty general and only necessitate a shallow understanding of the verdict and the reasoning. HOWEVER, you mostly tie these cases through the lecture and that might prove a bit difficult given the fact she can't stay on 1 point for more than 10 seconds and goes on confusing tangents. I literally had to write everything she said because it was incredibly hard to decipher what the point of what she was saying was. To get an A, I had to go the extra mile and bring my notebook to the TA before every exam to figure out what the hell it was she was trying to say (which he himself sometimes admitted to not getting, luckily my TA was understanding and told me what he expects on an exam). Once you get the point of the lecture the class is easy, but this can prove an onerous task...Getting an A is very doable, but takes alot of effort.
Course: Rights of the Accused
She covers waaay too much material in a short amount of time and attempting to memorize all the court cases is pointless. Just pick and choose some main ones to focus on for the midterm and final. She gives a choice of essays and its broad enough for you to use the major cases. It's a lot of work and u gotta stay on top of the readings cuz she gives pop quizzes in sections but its manageable if you try hard enough. Class is interesting & worth it if you're interested in criminal law. But if ur not, then you should probably avoid it cuz lectures can get boring and its way too much work for an A.
Course Taken: Political Science: 145E, Rights of the Accused. Winter Quarter 2009
Karen Orren's lectures are very fast moving and old school. No power points, handouts, podcasts, or supplemental info on the course website. She does not take advantage of technology and does not like to communicate via email. Her lectures are very fast moving, and are based on the assumption that you've already done all of the reading. In Pol Sci 145E that meant 5-6 Supreme Court case decisions a week, which translates into about 75-90 pages of tedious and complicated reading. You are fully expected to understand each case factually, conceptually, and historically, and be able to memorize, master and interrelate them to one another. If you haven't finished the reading and aren't completely alert and following the lecture, you may have trouble following her and get lost/bored.
This is definitely the most difficult course I've had at UCLA, but in all honesty I have learned a lot, but have had to work VERY hard to keep up with the class. I would recommend Professor Orren if you plan on continuing on to law school, because I would imagine that her classes are comparable to the rigor, pace and workload of a law school class. Do not take one of her classes to fill a time slot in your schedule or fulfill a requirement you aren't seriously interested in. This is not an easy A...or B for that matter!
The chance to take a class from Orren is a great opportunity - one of the leading thinkers in political science, right there in the front of you!
Lectures are fast moving and old school. No power points, handouts, or babying here - she gets up, gives you new information, expects that you've already done the reading, and moves very quickly. If you aren't tuned in, you may have trouble following her and get bored. This isn't because she isn't interesting - she's fascinating. She gives a lot of information very quickly, however, and it might be tough for people to keep pace.
There is quite a bit of reading, and it won't be spoonfed to you. We read supremem court decisions, five to six a week. We were expected to understand them factually, conceptually, and historically, and be able to master and interrelate them. Definitely the most difficult course I've had at UCLA, but also the most rewarding thus far.
If you have an honest interest in law, legal history, and legal theory, then Orren should be at the top of the list. This is not a filler course or a filler professor, so don't take this is you're looking for a light course.
NOTE: At this time, Orren is not teaching any undergrad classes again until Spring 2009.