First-year law students often begin the study of law with a highly structured curriculum. Coursework typically covers civil procedure, jurisdiction, standing to sue, motions, pretrial procedure, the structure of a lawsuit, and appellate review of trial results. Students will also learn about constitutional law, including a thorough study of the Bill of Rights, enforceable promises, and the rules governing non-performance. Using outlines in class and studying case law can prepare students for written and oral exams.
First-year law students prepare for exams by creating outlines
Outlines help students think like lawyers and remember rules and principles more effectively. They also help students rewrite and memorize material. Outlines are the primary tool law students use to prepare for exams. When the week before an exam approaches, law students should set aside their class notes and casebook and focus on creating an outline. Outlines give students focus and allow them to maximize their notes. Outlines are also especially helpful if the exam is open book.
Students should start creating their outline early and keep updating it regularly. Outlines should be at least 40 pages long. Outlines should include important material on a particular topic. Outlines should also contain specific details and links to cases. It’s also helpful to include illustrations and graphics if applicable. Students should make legal connections between subtopics and case examples, as this is often tested in course exams.
Outlines help students analyze case law
An outline is a document that a law student uses to better understand the laws of the land. A law student can make an outline in any language, but it is usually best to write it in a standard, handwritten font, so that it is easier to read and save. Before beginning, a student must know what they are writing about, because it will be important to identify which sections of the textbook are critical to the course’s learning outcomes.
In a legal exam, students should begin an outline with the statement of law articulated by the case. Students should use shorthand or well-known case names. For example, a student studying Brown v. Board of Education might start their outline with the name of the case, the date of the case, and the facts. Once they have written down these facts, they can start analyzing each part of the law.
First-year law students prepare for oral exams by participating in simulation classes
Simulation classes help students learn the art of lawyering through practice-based exercises that allow them to apply theories and concepts to simulated courtroom situations. Students are given feedback on their performance and can adjust their performance accordingly. It’s all about learning by doing. During the first semester, students participate in several simulation classes and receive substantial feedback on each case. Taking simulation classes can help law students prepare for the oral exam.
In simulation classes, students work on team projects and practice writing documents. The projects may include negotiations of acquisitions, drafting private letter ruling requests, preparing internal memos, researching and writing tax opinion letters, and identifying the advantages of different entity choices for future transactions. Teams are required to meet with the instructor before presenting their cases, and they must also make two individual presentations throughout the semester. The class meets one evening each week and is limited to 12 students.
First-year law students prepare for written exams by analyzing case law
Legal analysis is one of the fundamentals of the law school curriculum. It teaches students how to analyze case law, identify legal rules, and write a clear and concise answer. First-year law students often struggle with academics and an opaque educational process. While reading assignments in law school are usually composed of appellate court opinions, professors typically use the Socratic Method to get students to answer their own questions.
Several ways to practice for written exams are available online. Some law schools even have sample exams that students can take to ensure they have mastered the material. Creating outlines and analyzing case law will help students prepare for written exams. Students should also consider taking a writing elective in law school, which is more valuable than one might think. In addition to studying case law, students will also be required to read casebooks instead of textbooks. Some law schools also require students to complete several graded essays throughout the semester.