Professor Lebow's class is more of a "civil responsibility" class focused on Separation of Powers than . She really wants to have students engage with the material and understand how cases that were decided decades or centuries ago still have an impact on the lives of everyday people. Because of this, she also really puts a lot of emphasis on class participation. Which means: 1) Do the reading, or at least the important parts. You don't need to have every case memorized before you come in, but know the basic concepts; 2) Sit near the front, and raise your hand often. It will make a big difference when she's grading your final; 3) Talk with her. Doesn't even need to be in office hours, a brief question after class will show her that you're interested in the material.
There's a lot of reading, but not all of it is entirely necessary. You should still get a study group for the mid-term though, to make sure you understand all the ideas. On the mid-term, there were no questions about court cases that were not addressed in class (WHICH MEANS GO TO LECTURE; yes it's long, but it is valuable). The final allows you to pick 2/4 questions to write 8 page papers on. I wrote mine pretty last minute, still managed an A. Make sure you focus on the ideas she discusses in class, and you'll be fine.
Overall Grade: A+
40% Midterm (short answer). 60% Take-home Final (2 essays). Go to class, take good notes, get an A. Don't go to class, no notes, get an F. It's as simple as that for all her classes. Personally, she was the best I ever had. Highly recommended.
Good Luck taking Lebow.
She is one of the most pretentious professors I have taken thus far in my UCLA career. She is very self-involved, which comes across in her lectures and teaching style. She thinks a lot of herself and her personal subject, acting like you have no other obligations at your time at UCLA. She expects you to focus on her class and her class only. There was a absurd amount of reading for the class topic and the midterm was ridiculous. Ranged from broad very obvious questions (which she later berated us for not giving her verbatim answer) to extremely specific questions on the most obscure court cases. She does try to get student involvement, which is mostly all the students who worship at her feet and go to every office hour trying to get that precious letter of rec. Her grading is super subjective and her lectures are just what she feels like talking at you about that day. My advice if you have to take her: your essay and midterm just match the exact words that came out of her mouth in lecture or in the book, because she is just looking to see her own ideas.
Hands down the best PS professor I've had at UCLA. If you want to actually learn and stay engaged in the material take Prof. Lebow. She is truly just a really cool lady who has a great deal of knowledge and cares about her students learning. Her classes are not the kind that are easy As and require no work, which are the types of classes we all love, but instead challenge you to think about the material and offer your own opinion. I have a great deal of respect for Prof. Lebow and I think she is easily the most fair professor/TA/administrator I've come across in my three years at UCLA.
Professor Lebow is by far the best professor I have ever taken. Her class is tough, work intensive, but ultimately rewarding. She is almost always accessible for office hours and genuinely cares about the success of her students. Attending class is however a must. Not because she takes attendance, but because missing a lecture is extremely detrimental to your success.
With regards to the people who wrote poor reviews, they most likely didn't show up to class and as a result did very poorly. This class is extremely well structured with every lecture building upon itself. Do not take this class with the expectation of an easy A. However, if you do the work (expect 100-200 pages of dense reading per week), show up to class on time, and actively participate, achieving an A is doable.
Lastly, Professor Lebow’s class is a breath of fresh air from the typical liberally biased political science classes at UCLA. She does her best to leave her personal opinions out of the class room. To an independent, like myself, who is still formulating his own political opinion I greatly appreciate that in a class room.
Community College students:
This was the perfect class to take for me. It was a lot of work, difficult, and at times frustrating. However, it improved my study methods, my reading comprehension, my writing abilities, and my time management skills. I received a B in her PS 140C, an A- in her, and in the last two courses available to me I earned two As. This class will prepare you for any class at UCLA. If you can learn to read a Supreme Court case and understand the subtle nuances detailed in the Justices’ opinions, you will be able to read anything for any class.
I highly encourage anyone planning on going to Law School to take this class.
Professor Lebow is a very effective instructor. She is proficient in her field and certainly works hard to help her students succeed in her courses. I have taken every class she has taught thus far and from her I have learned how to think about the law and the function of the Court as a political institution. The courses aren't easy for those who do not pay attention or do the readings, these things are essential to success in her classes. But if one works hard, does the reading, and participates in class, then the outcome will be well worth the effort. The readings will certainly help to alter the way in which one thinks analytically about issues. She is always willing to listen to a student's needs as long as one approaches her early enough. If you're having trouble, DO NOT wait until the last minute to let her know. Study groups are very helpful for the midterm, I would recommend getting one together right away. The finals are more like hypotheticals where one applies the principles of the law and Constitution that have been built upon during the course, so make sure you understand the core precedents so as to write effectively. Overall, I would highly recommend this instructor and her courses.
Professor Lebow is one of the most sincere and effective professors here at UCLA. She cares more for student learning than any academic I've encountered in my life. She has inspired me to be a better student and individual. Her teaching methods are largely socratic; while she lectures, she tries her best to maximize student participation throughout her classes. The material is dense--but what would you expect, it's constitutional law. But she makes it very approachable and guides you in understanding the concepts and holdings of every case. Her class consists of an in-class midterm and two take home papers. The midterm is largely conceptual and fairly straightforward. If you do the readings and go to lecture, you should do just fine. The two papers give you flexibility to write about key concepts relating to Constitutional Law. As a result of her classes, I have become more aware of how the law works and operates in everyday life. Contrary to what a lot of reviewers said, she quite frequently espouses the notion that the Supreme Court is a highly political branch of government, thereby qualifying it as a political science class. She is open to all students during her office hours and if you prove to be a hard worker, she will write a very good letter of recommendation for whatever future endeavor you choose to pursue. Don't let some of these reviewers fool you into not taking an interesting and engaging class with a concerned and effective professor. I promise, you won't regret it.
Definitely one of the toughest classes I have taken in my entire life. We had two giant readers for the quarter; by the end we have had read at least 900 pages. As said below, this is not a Poli Sci class, everything discussed in class is law and court case- related. Not very impressed by Professor Lebow, although she does know a lot regarding each case. If you are planning to attend law school, and you like challenges, the take her. Otherwise, I would not recommend taking a class with her. The class consists of one in- class midterm, and a take-home essay.
I am not impressed with Professor Lebow. It is tough to make a course on the Supreme Court uninteresting or meaningless to me but she does so with ease and arrogance. A student could learn everything in the course simply by reading the textbook, an extensive and detailed chronicle of the Court and its history, but she recounts the material in monotonous recitation.
Yeah she does demolish GPAs, but in my case she deducted my grade for her own complacency and error: a typo in the midterm directions she neglected to properly correct. Wow - hm a professor that feels content unreasonably penalizing a student - who would have otherwise received an A - for her own mistake, while simultaneously stressing attention to detail in exams. Don't take this class unless you would like to listen to an idiotic lady drone on about high school level material in robotic fashion.
Lebow just started teaching last year and it shows. There is no cohesiveness to the course, and her grading scale is arcane and misleading. There is no homework, long, boring lecture about otherwise interesting Supreme Court cases ( I came in as a pre-law student interested in the course) that make you fall asleep.
Most of the front of the class is comprised of suck up pre-laws more interested in getting a letter of rec than actually learning anything.
There were a few moot court activities that could have been fun but no one really knows what they're doing the whole time and basically made idiots out of themselves the whole time.
All in all I got a C in this class that killed my 3.8 GPA, and it was a big mistake. As the previous poster mentioned, Lebow grades harshly and doesn't tell you what she expects, she had a psuedo-TA that didn't show up to half the class grading our papers, and he basically failed everyone for every quiz, I had to argue about my quizzes to get credit for them because she couldn't explain why he graded it the way he did.
The quizzes are often testing mundane and redundant memorization skills (Like the 10 amendments in the bill of rights) or what federal circuit court is, but the issues on the final and midterm are all conceptual short answers that you can expect to totally bomb otherwise.
DO NOT take this class if you are worried about your GPA. Teacher with great law credentials, but no actual teaching experience
Prof Lebow is very impressive: became a lawyer when women weren't regarded highly in the field, worked for VP Biden, Janet Reno, worked the RANT Corporation and did public and private law. All her classes are intense. She expects you do not only memorize a bunch of cases which will probably be your first time being exposed to law at UCLA but to know the ins and outs, the implications, and connect them to other law cases. She is helpful and welcomes office hours if you go. While she doesn't pick "favorites" she does have a core group of students that tend to participate and go to her office hours and they seem to be doing well but the majority of students seem lost. This class is intense workload and hard grading. She expects you to be super serious. This class is barely political science and mostly law. If you want to get a feel for law I encourage you to take any of her classes in a low work-load quarter and with some friends. I did not get good grades in her class (lowest ever grades at UCLA) but I am not upset with her, mostly just aware that I had way too much going on to fully commit myself hours a week to this class. Her classes are usually 2 hours, no breaks and cover a HUGE range of material. Take it and learn something but remember 1)This is nothing like a Political Science class 2) She grades hard. 3) You NEED friends in the class 4) Be okay with getting a lower grade for putting the same effort in another class 5) Go to her office hours 6)Sit in the front, she has a soft voice 7)Be prepared to really be challenged