How to do well in law school

LegalJob recently talked to various law professors about what it takes to do well in their classes.  There were four common themes:

  • Ask your professor.  This seems obvious but few law students ask for guidance from their professor.  Professors generally are more than willing to offer their advice and provide specifics.  If yours will not or you are not comfortable asking your professor (perhaps he or she is not approachable), consider asking another professor who teaches the same subject.
  • Prepare an outline.  The process of preparing this document is just as important (perhaps more) as the final product.  Not just a rehash of all you learned but the most salient points of cases and concepts as condensed and concise as possible.  One person put it this way — consider your third or fourth draft of the outline as your first draft.  It may be that concepts do not start coming together until that time.  Try to obtain sample outlines in any subject (but great if you could get for that class) from former A students, professors, others so that you can follow the same format.  If you cannot obtain a sample, talk to former law students that excelled about how best to prepare outlines.
  • Review old exams.  This one seems to be the most important (and mentioned by all the professors with whom LegalJob spoke).  Review exams from other professors if yours will not provide them.
  • Join a study group.  It usually helps to see things from various angles and not just yours and your professor.  For this tip, LegalJob notes that it may not hurt to connect with people that are smarter than you (or at least those with different skill sets).