Books about law school and law school prep

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Books about law school and law school prep

Postby angioletto » Sat Jun 05, 2010 9:32 am

Many 0Ls spend the spring and summer before they begin law school wondering what books they can read to prepare for law school, hoping to begin a step ahead of their classmates. While some would say to spend your time reading for fun and that you should not try to do any prep work before classes begin there are several books available that can give incoming law students a glance into what law school is like, an idea of what the exams will be like and overall advice on how to avoid common mistakes and pitfalls. I read several of these books and here are my reviews.

Planet Law School I/II: (aka PLS/PLS II)
Author: Atticus Falcon
ISBN: 1-888960-50-7
Cost (new): $24.95
First impression: This is a BIG book. At over 800 pages I honestly thought they had accidentally shipped 2 books in one envelope.
Content: Well, it’s long. And it is pessimistic. AF spends a lot of time saying (over and over) that all law school professors are “out to get you” and goes into great detail on historical facts. While there is some very relevant and helpful information within this book reading all 800+ pages to find it can be a bit daunting. Preparation for your future as a lawyer reviewing documents? Perhaps. But for the purpose it is meant to serve it definitely could have been trimmed down to a more concise 200 pages. Included is an in-depth study guide for your 0L summer, which includes dozens of prep materials that you are urged to read before classes even begin. There is debate whether it is better to do such prep before classes begin or if students are only sabotaging themselves by possibly learning things “the wrong way” and then struggling once classes begin to re-learn the way your professor wants you to learn things.
Reviews: Mixed. Some swear by the “PLS method” while others claim AF is crazy.
Ratings: 3.5 out of 5 stars on, 147 customer ratings

Getting to Maybe: (aka GTM)
Authors: Richard Michael Fischl and Jeremy Paul
ISBN: 978-0-89089-760-7
Cost (new): $30.00
First Impression: A book about excelling on law school exams – it seems like it is too early to read such a thing before I even begin classes, but will I have time to read it once the semester begins?
Content: This book had some scary moments for me. As a 0L I was not familiar with much of the legal vocabulary used in the book and I found myself thinking this book would be much more useful if I were already a student and familiar with some of these concepts. Overall this book has many great tips for preparing for and working through law school exams.
Reviews: Often referred to as the best resource for learning to do well on law school exams.
Ratings: 4.5 out of 5 stars on, 59 customer ratings

Law School Confidential: (aka LSC)
Author: Robert H. Miller
ISBN: 0-312-31881-2
Cost (new): $17.95
First Impression: Seems like a book that will be easy to read, if nothing else.
Content: LSC is written by Robert H. Miller but it has contributions from 12 other law school graduates. The beginning of the book introduces each of these graduates and gives a brief bio to show the diversity of their legal educations and jobs. As the book goes on comments from these 12 former students are mixed in to give a “personal advice from a friend” feel to the info provided. The "briefing in technicolor" method (using 5 colors of highlighters to brief cases) is said to be "ridiculous" by some but others have said the method works great for them. I found this book to be very thorough and an easy read.
Reviews: A great book for getting a glimpse into what law school is like and for the “timeline” of being a law student, but not necessarily a great resource to help improve performance as a law student.
Ratings: 4.5 out of 5 stars on, 180 customer ratings

How To Do Your Best on Law School Exams: (Delaney series)
Author: Professor John Delaney
ISBN: 0-96085-14-5-3
Cost (new): $30.00
First Impression: The format of the pages is a bit overwhelming and the table of contents is surprisingly long and detailed for such a relatively short book.
Content: This book is a comprehensive guide to performing well on law school exams. It includes practice exam questions and answers as well, which I find to be extremely helpful as a 0L who has never seen an exam before. This will be a good guide to refer back to during the semester and before exams.
Reviews: Gives a good step-by-step approach for doing well on law school exams.
Ratings: 5 out of 5 stars on, 23 customer ratings

An Introduction to Law, Law Study, and the Lawyer’s Role
Authors: James E. Moliterno and Frederic I. Lederer
ISBN: 1-59460-048-1 (2nd Edition. 3rd Edition will be released soon.)
Cost (new): $25.00
First Impression: This book was listed as required reading before the week of orientation for a school I was accepted to (but am not attending).
Content: While I wasn’t sure about this book at first it offers some great insight for incoming law students. Several chapters cover a hypothetical where a brand new civilization is being started and goes through different scenarios and how those scenarios shape the laws that will govern the people. This really opened my eyes to the ways that each case can transform the meaning of a law. From there this is a good guide on the classroom experience, using the law library and judicial interpretation.
Reviews: A lesser known book – reviews and ratings not available.

These are my reviews as a 0L - so I have not had a chance to test out any of the methods proposed. 1, 2 and 3Ls - please feel free to leave input as to whether certain aspects of any book helped or hurt you as a law student.

Thane Messinger
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Re: Books about law school and law school prep

Postby Thane Messinger » Mon Jun 07, 2010 9:44 pm

Angioletto & All -

First, thank you for the post. It's valuable to discuss these resources for all: I'd not known of one of the best when I started.

To you and to all, I've a few copies of Law School: Getting In, Getting Good, Getting the Gold. It's somewhere between the first four. I've not read the fifth, so it could be close but no guarantees. = : )

I'll add a few comments to yours:

PLS is radical, too long (and I was one of the editors!), and very, very serious. Agree or disagree, it's a must read.

GTM is good, with some good pointers, but not sufficient. Don't rely on it as the sole prelaw resource.

LSC is generally good, but I'm afraid I'll have to join the naysayers in at least a few respects. Some of its advice is just plain silly. That's not so bad, except that that leads law students down dead ends. It should be no surprise that, in the first year of law school especially, there's precious little time for dead ends. Be very, very careful.

Delaney does great work. Recommend his several books.

And, as mentioned, I haven't read the fifth book listed.

An offer:

To the first responders, I will send you a copy of Law School, at my expense, if you're prepared to read it and add your thoughts and comments to the thread. Feel free to send a message with address and I'll send as many copies as I have.


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Re: Books about law school and law school prep

Postby Dingolady » Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:50 am

Hello and thanks for your tips. I've started PLS and will check the library for these other books. Someone recommended that I read the commercial outlines/ supplements from my first semester classes or go to the library and get the cd's and listen to them and take notes. What do you think of this advice?

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Re: Books about law school and law school prep

Postby nol607 » Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:58 am

I was recommended by another poster on this website to read The Legal Analyst- A Toolkit for Thinking About the Law[i][/i] by Farnsworth. I have read about 50 pages and strongly recommend it. Each chapter is ten pages or so on a dimension by which issues are considered. For example, Chapter 1: Ex Ante & Ex Post deals with how in any case you should not just think retroactively, but forward-what precedent is being set. There are many hypotheticals, and while I was mistaken in assuming it would be a "beach read," it is accessible and requires no prior knowledge. Worth noting, it is published by UC, so there is definitely a "law and economics" bent. I'm not endorsing it as a prerequisite for 1L, being an OL myself, but I have encountered new ways of thinking which I imagine will be explored in law school.

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Re: Books about law school and law school prep

Postby JohnMarshall17 » Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:16 am


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Re: Books about law school and law school prep

Postby jetsfan1 » Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:10 am


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Re: Books about law school and law school prep

Postby northwood » Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:29 am

Wentworth Miller's LEEWS has ( was) highly regarded on this site as a way to approach law school exams.

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