XO_MissCourtney wrote:Cuse, can you give a little more insight on the best way to actually form a group. Or even different methods that can be used. I'm all about efficiency so walking up to some guy and saying "Hey you seem smart and not a douche, wanna be study buddies?" seems like rolling dice...
yeah it really depends on the person/situation. I wasn't going around auditioning people or just going up to them randomly in the hallways and such.
I would say don't fall into the trap of being too enthusiastic, which most new 1Ls are wont to do. The whole "okay we're all best friends, now we're going to be this super official study group and we're all going to work together yay" enthusiasm is great, but it's rarely effective. There's a lot of hype in 1L. Everyone will be rushing to brief, to take a practice test, do E&E's, form study groups. Don't fall into it. Hold back and don't be over eager. Taking a practice test in september is much less effective than in November (once you've actually learned the law), even if it's the same test. Same thing here. Forming a study group during orientation isn't as effective as forming one in late september (once you've actually gotten to know your section mates).
Be patient. There's literally nothing to actually study in the first few weeks of school. So don't rush to form a study group. You'll meet, realize there's nothing to do, and inevitably take it less seriously (since there's nothing to do at first).
I wasn't actually planning on being in a study group. As a person I'm much more of a "work alone" type than a "yay group project" type.
I'll just go through and explain how i met the other 3 people.
Guy 1: Was friend from undergrad. Happened to be placed in the same section. I hadn't planned on being in an official study group with him, but assumed that we would naturally end up working together one way or another since we knew each other and were comfortable around each other.
Girl 1: Became friends with her during the nightly orientation bar outings. I didn't know if she was smart or driven, and frankly i didn't care. She was just so nice that I thought to myself "if I'm going to be working long hours, i'd rather be working with someone like her." She ended up being very smart/diligent..and basically the reason why i didn't fail Property.
Guy 2: Was roommates with one of my TLS friends, so I knew who he was, but had never talked to him or anything. I was studying by myself at school and i saw him and we sat together and talked about implied contracts, and ran into some confusion. We tried to work it out and left at the end of the night. In a few hours I had an email in my inbox. Apparently he had gone home, looked up the material we were confused about, and then emailed me what he found. I didn't actually know or care whether what he found was accurate, my only reaction was "wow this dude is actually proactive"
So i didn't go around and recruit people or anything. When you're making friends, you don't go aroudn interviewing people. You just kind of find each other. Same thing here. Pay attention to how your peers study/behave. Consider whether you'd be happy working long hours with them. and pay attention to how responsible/proactive they are.
I found all 3 of my peers in different ways, and it worked out great. Once you have a good group of people, the only thing left to do is to be open with the fact that you're a group. Once I found my people, i set up a Google drive to share documents/tests/outlines. Some of them weren't as "in the know" about legal hiring or how the game worked, so i told them how important 1L grades were, how BigLaw hiring worked etc...I showed them all the practice exams I had accumulated, and any time a mentor told me something relevant or shared an outline with me, I shared with them too. We talked regularly in a group FB chat (not completely about law school stuff) and we used iCal/Google Calendar to make our group schedules. Sometimes our meetings weren't effective, cuz there wasn't much to do. Sometimes we were completely on point. The important thing to remember is that this is an evolving process. Don't get discouraged because you got distracted once or something.
Pro tip 1: When you eventually debate practice exams/the law, different people will apply the law differently. Maybe your groupmate thinks the fact pattern includes a conspiracy charge, maybe you don't and think it should be solicitation. To resolve disputes about the actual law, just go ask your professor. When different people see different issues, the credited reaction is to just incorporate their analysis into yours. Who cares whether a fact pattern only includes one charge or another? Just apply both. You never know where you can get points. The most helpful part about my study group wasn't necessarily that we were correcting each other. It's that each of us spotted issues that the rest of us didn't consider at ALL. The more issues you harvest, the more analysis you'll write, and the more points you'll get. If you don't have time to apply everything, then consider which issues will generate the most points and prioritize those. In torts for Tamanaha, negligence will always generate more points than assault/battery. For our torts final my study group actually sat down and organized all the torts in the order of their point value. We memorized it. On the exam we read this long fact pattern that had more issues that could possibly be completed in 3 hours, and we prioritized all the high value torts first. These are the strategic exercises that you can do with your group that will yield very real benefits on exam day.
Protip 2: Keep in touch with your TLS friends who went to other schools. They're great resources later for when you need practice tests from other schools in case you lack exams written by your professor.