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20 Tips on Success on Law School

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20 tips on success on law school
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  20 Tips for Success in Law School 1. DO THE READING. Do all of the reading assigned for your courses. Do not fall behind; you may never catch up. Do your reading at times of the day when you are most alert. Also, do your reading in a location where you will not be distracted or tempted to do something else. Otherwise, you will find that it takes you far longer than necessary to prepare for class. 2. BRIE THE !ASES. ake notes while reading. !or each assigned case, write down the legallysignificant facts, the holding of the case, and the rationale for the court s decision. his is what is referred to as #briefing# cases. $our case briefs should be %ust that&brief. '. RE IE# BEORE EA!H !LASS.  (eview your reading notes )case briefs* right before class. hat way, the cases will be fresh in your mind, and you will substantially increase your ability to follow the class discussion )not to mention avoid the embarrassment associated with  being unprepared when called upon by the professor*. +. GO TO !LASS. ost professors cover some material in class that is not discussed in the reading, so failure to attend class will put you at a big disadvantage when you take the final e-am. Also, you will receive an #!# if you miss more than 2/0 of the sessions of a course. his is factored into your grade point average as an #!# and is never removed from your academic record, even if you retake the course. . $A% ATTENTION IN !LASS.  ome misguided students use class time to shop on the 3nternet, play computer games or catch up on their e&mail. $ou are paying a substantial amount of money for tuition. Do you really want to spend your tuition money #surfing the net# or  playing computer solitaire instead of paying attention to the class discussion4 5. $ARTI!I$ATE IN !LASS.  tudents learn best when they are actively engaged in the learning process. 6. TA&E !LASS NOTES.  Do not, however, get so caught up in trying to take down everything your professor says that you are not actively engaged in the class discussion. (eview your class notes before starting your ne-t reading assignment and analy7e how the new cases you read affect those cases you already have reviewed in class. 8. $RE$ARE AN O'TLINE OR EA!H O %O'R !LASSES. Outlines prepared by more senior students or commercial outlines are not acceptable substitutes for making your own outlines. he analysis necessary to prepare a course outline helps you determine the rules of lawapplicable to the sub%ect matter of the course, as well as determine how the rules relate to one another. 3f you do not go through this process, you are less likely to master the sub%ect matter. Also, not all professors teach a sub%ect the same way. 3n fact, many professors do not even teacha course the same way from one year to the ne-t. he only way to get an outline tailored to your course is to make it yourself. Do 9O wait until the reading period to prepare your outlines; you ll never get them done in time. ome students like to outline once per week, others once per month. till others prefer to outline whenever a topic is completed. :ick whatever schedule works best for you and stick to it. . !ONSIDER OR(ING A ST'D% GRO'$. tudy groups can be a valuable learning tool. alking through material with classmates can increase your understanding and retention of course material. $ou also can obtain helpful study tips from your peers. 3f you decide to form a study group, seek out other students who are well&prepared for class and have similar academic goals. Do not let your study group meetings become social or gossip sessions. Also, do not use study groups as a way of sharing the workload. <astly, if you find that you are not benefiting from your study group, resign from the group. 1/. RE IE#) RE IE#) RE IE#.  =ust because you don t have an e-am until the end of the  semester does not mean that you should wait until the reading period to begin your review. his is not undergraduate school. $ou cannot cram right before finals and get good grades. herefore, make time for fre>uent review over the course of the semester. 11. ATTEND RE IE# SESSIONS !OND'!TED B% %O'R $ROESSORS AND*OR THEIR A!ADE(I! ELLO#S. ome professors and?or Academic !ellows hold review sessions prior to e-ams. his is a great way to clarify the issues about which you are confused without having to stand in line outside your professor s office. oreover, helpful tips regarding how to write your e-am answers in a way that will earn you the most points are often shared during review sessions. 12. TA&E AD ANTAGE O EEDBA!& RO( %O'R $ROESSORS.  3f your professor distributes a practice >uestion and says that she will review your answer if you submit it by a certain time, DO 3@ his is a great opportunity to get your professor s input and make any necessary ad%ustments before your performance is graded. 1'. ATTEND THE #OR&SHO$S !OND'!TED B% THE A!ADE(I! A!HIE E(ENT !ENTER.  hese workshops cover a number of topics such as outlining, time and stress management, and how to prepare for and write law school e-ams&skills essential to success in law school. 1+. TA&E $RA!TI!E E+A(S.  <ots of them. -ams previously administered by your professor are preferable. his will help you determine how your professor drafts his or her e-ams. he !owler chool of <aw <ibrary maintains a number of prior e-ams prepared by law professors. henever possible, select a prior e-am for which there is a sample answer on file. his will allow you to check your answer against the sample and evaluate your performance. 3f there is no sample answer on file, ask you professor if he?she will review and comment on your answer. Do not, however, wait until right before finals to ask your professor to review your answer. he earlier you ask, the more likely your professor will have time to review your answer. 1. !REATE A ST'D% $LAN.  any students complain that they do not have enough time to  brief cases, prepare outlines and?or take practice e-ams. hey re wrong@ By planning your time in advance, you will have enough time to meet all of the demands of law school and have time to en%oy some outside activities. 3f you need help managing your time, see :rofessor !aulkner. 15. DON,T #AIT 'NTIL THE LAST (IN'TE TO $RE$ARE %O'R LR# $A$ERS.  Again,this is not undergraduate school. $ou cannot throw a paper together the night before it is due and e-pect to receive a good grade )or for that matter, a passing grade*. Cood legal writing takestime and lots of editing so start working on your <( assignments as soon as possible. 16. RE IE# %O'R E+A(S.  eet with your professors to review your e-ams after grades have  been posted. his is the best way to determine what you did well and what you need to improve.18. (INI(I-E %O'R STRESS. <aw school can be stressful, but there are a number of steps youcan take to keep stress to a minimum. umor is a great stress reliever. ake time for e-ercise&carrying 1// pounds of law books every day doesn t count. at fruit, vegetables, and whole grain foods on a regular basis&a diet Eoke and a package of Ding&Dongs are not a balanced  breakfast. Don t overdo your caffeine intake; drink lots of water instead. Cet at least seven hoursof sleep per night. aintain a life outside of law school. $ou don t need to give up all of the things you en%oyed doing before you went to law school; you %ust won t be able to do them as often. !inally, if you think that your stress level is getting out of control, talk about it with your significant other, a family member, a close friend, a faculty member, one of the law school Deans, or :rofessor !aulkner. 1. DON,T GET !A'GHT '$ IN THE !O($ETITION AS$E!T O LA# S!HOOL.  !ace it. Only one student can finish at the top of the class. o instead of setting 9umero Fno as your goal, focus on doing your very best. Also, be supportive of and respectful to your classmates. 3t will make for a more positive law school e-perience for you and your peers.  2/. GET HEL$ I %O' NEED IT. 3t is not uncommon for students to be confused about the substantive law covered in their classes, how to prepare for class, how to study for e-ams, how to manage their time or how to take law school e-ams. 3ndeed, it is the rare student who does not have >uestions about these sub%ects from time to time, particularly during the first year of law school. 3f you have >uestions, there are a number of resources available to you. very  professor holds weekly office hours. he Academic !ellows for your courses also are available to help you, as is :rofessor !aulkner. :lease visit us if you have any >uestions. e re here to help.  How To Be A Goo S/uen/ Goo S/uen/s  (ae or Born1 A good student is made, not born. e learned to walk and talk, and then most of us learned to sit down and shut up and listen. ome of us even learned to listen without interrupting.ow does one become a good student at college or university4 ith a sports coach, you know that the coach is trying to help you improve yourself. ith his outside eye, and his e-perience of other athletes, he will guide you towards general fitness and your chosen sport. hen he gets you out of bed at +am after a heavy night drinking, he is not being sadistic. !irst, you should be up and running at +am every morning. 3f you cannot bree7e a +am 1/&mile run after a night in the bar, he is helping you to recognise there are choices in life and you made the wrong one. As you were stupid enough to make the wrong choice you need to feel the pain and discomfort to underline to yourself )1* you are an athlete and )2* athletes cannot drink like that )'* you still have to run the 1/ miles at +am come rain, come sun, or come deathly hangover. HO# TO BE A GOOD ST'DENT 3 know a :hysical ducation course where students who are late do / full body press ups in front of the class before they can %oin the class. he teachers tell me that even the dim students learn >uickly.ow much do you want to be a good student4 here are choices to be made. hese choices involveG $our timeG $our financesG $our social life  Tie hen 3 was a law lecturer 3 used to start the academic year by asking the class how many hours one normally worked in a full time %ob. he class discussed and usually said that '8 hours was about average.hen 3 asked how many hours a week a full time law student should work. here was always a crashingsilence because they could all see the correct answer was H'8I.3 would then suggest that the class should rethink their priorities to achieve a '8 hour week every week including holidays. 3 always had students come to me at the end of the class to thank me for that. hey had thought they were hard working but now they realised they had not been working nearly hard enough. %our Tie veryone, good student or not, has demands on their time. $ou need to plan your week. 3f you have to do paid work, plan those hours. 3f you are on a full time degree, plan to use '8 hours or so in classes and study. 3f you are on a science or engineering course you may need more hours. 3f you are in an important relationship you need to plan >uality time with your loved one. 3f as well as study you have some other activity plan that time.
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