Study Tips

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Study Tips

Postby Ken » Tue Nov 28, 2006 8:52 pm

When I was a first-year student (1L) at Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law I interviewed several second and third year students about what advice they would give to a 1L for success in law school. Below are the many responses that I received, hopefully they will be helpful to everyone either this year or next.

“Entering students should try hard to always remember two things:
1. What it was that brought them to law school (desire to learn, work for public interest, make $, etc).
2. To do fun things periodically (like go to the movies) to break the monotony and keep their spirits up.”

“I would first advise not to take law school too seriously. At a certain level, you have to remind yourself that this place is a joke. But be proud to be at Boalt. I’m a transfer student and I can tell you Boalt is much better than most law schools (especially for liberals). To students of color and women I advise you not to be discouraged by the predominantly white male structure of law school. Join organizations where you will feel supported and where you can tell people what you are really thinking. Do an internship – get experience in the community and don’t forget public interest. Law schools are primarily firm factories because many students don’t realize they have other viable options. Most of all, we need a 1L/2L mentor program. I’m willing to be involved.”

1. “Outline early
2. Do practice exams with a professor
3. Have a life
4. Ignore over-anxious nerds”

1) “Regarding life: Treat your schoolwork like a job. By this I mean 9-5 Mon-Fri. Regardless of when your classes are. If you can do this you will never be behind, and you can even get most of your evenings and weekends off.
2) Regarding studies: You’ve probably heard it before, but it’s true – brief those cases. It ensures that you actually read rather than skim the material and it is great discipline. Do it even when you are sick of it and don’t fee you are getting anything out of it – that’s like so you should get used to it now.”

“Remain calm and hang out with people outside Boalt!”

“Don’t listen to all the rumors about exams, P-subs, etc. Don’t be intimidated by the lengths of other people’s outlines; never talk about an exam after it’s over; DON’T WORRY – if you weren’t able to succeed, Boalt would never have let you in the door. Enjoy law school; enjoy your colleagues; hang out and have a good time; keep the whole law school thing in perspective.”

“You definitely MUST do your OWN outlines. Fully relying on either an outline done by a previous student or cutting and pasting a classmates into your ‘own’ or relying on ol’ Gilbert’s or Emmanuel’s will get you a fat P!! It really is the process.”

“Set aside time everyday for yourself – even just 10 minutes of chocolate and silence.”

“Don’t listen to those who would tell you not to start outlining until mid-semester. Start outlining 3 or 4 and do it every week or two for each class. It is this process that maximizes learning. Your payoff will be in your grades!”

“Study hard but keep the big picture in mind. You will be living in this world for another 40-50 years, law school is only three years of that time, and being here does not mean you HAVE to be a lawyer. You really do have a choice and you should think hard about what it is you really want to do with your life, and if it really is ‘law.’”

“If you want higher grades, do your own outlines. Don’t underestimate the importance of Legal Research and Writing – good writing skills are essential to exam writing and job performance.”

“Start thinking about jobs early. Don’t hesitate to party a few hours a week.”

“I think the most important thing to do is keep up. For me this means always doing the reading before class and then always going to class. The professors will (via their lectures) tell you what they think is important, and doing the reading in advance helps the lectures make more sense. I also found going over old exams (especially those where the professor provides sample answers) with a small study group to be very helpful. A lot of it is deciding how you study best and sticking to it. And don’t stress too much.”

“Talk to 2Ls and 3Ls about which professors are good teachers and choose your classes accordingly. The subject matter may be less important than the interaction you have with the professor.”

Note that I am starting to write a book about law school success and if anyone else has any success tips or advice to pass on I would greatly appreciate further posts by anyone else.

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Re: Study Tips

Postby mac.empress » Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:51 pm


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Re: Study Tips

Postby tome » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:08 am

I would stop short of endorsing briefing cases. However, I have heard a lot of people on here say not to bother reading cases, but to instead rely on supplements. This is not what I did at all. I read all the cases on the weekends and underline. Then before class I would do a quick re-read and make a paragraph of two of notes. This meant that I had gone over the stuff three times by the time class was over. It also meant that I had read through the stuff twice by class time, and was able to get more out of lecture I think.

This system worked really well for me, and was not nearly as time consuming as most of the other systems I have read about--particularly briefing every case or reading through supplements.

Also, always remember that your classmates will be your future workmates. Don't be "that guy" and don't be a dick.

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Re: Study Tips

Postby annapavlova » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:27 am

I'm advocating for hand-writing notes during class, and typing them into a word document or outline on the weekend. Hand-writing helped me pay more attention in class, forced me to discriminate about what was or wasn't important, and made me sit down and look over the class material again (something that was particularly helpful for remembering nitty gritty CivPro details). It helped me tremendously for midterms and finals, and though I know it's not for everyone, I really feel like there are far too many people who don't do it. I think I'm one of the 2 out of 80 people in my section who hand-write notes, and both of us did very well.

Ex: For about a week and a half I stopped writing notes because I ran out of legal pads (and was too lazy and poor to buy more right away). During that time, we covered Venue in CivPro. The only multiple choice questions I missed on the midterm were about Venue. I didn't falter in hand-writing after midterms, and all was good for finals.

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Re: Study Tips

Postby 20160810 » Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:42 pm

mac.empress wrote:tag

Strong bump

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Re: Study Tips

Postby sarlis » Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:44 pm

sticky this thread!

Thanks Ken!

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