Monday, November 30, 2009

A Law School Slacker's Guide to Cramming

Now that we are back from Thanksgiving and facing finals, it may dawn on us law school slackers just how far behind we are in studying. For all of you 1Ls, don't despair! You might fear that it is impossible to catch up, but that's not necessarily true.

Having found myself in this position before, I wanted to share tips on how to catch up. The resulting grades might not put you in the running for a Supreme Court clerkship, but they might help you to learn the material that you need to know for exams quickly. These strategies have helped me, but feel free to chime in with your own ideas.

Here it goes:
  1. Base your outline on another person's outline. Don't break the honor code, but use their outline to create your attack outline for the test. In my experience, it doesn't help to try to create my own full outline from scratch if I am far behind.

  2. Buy commercial supplements. I like to use one "case summary" supplement that summarizes the cases you need to know and one narrative-style treatise to explain how all of the cases fit together.

  3. Use your syllabus or table of contents to organize and distill the morass of information into manageable quantities of law.

  4. Keep up hope! Especially as 1Ls, we sometimes feel despondent if we haven't briefed every case and finished outlines before Thanksgiving. Cheer up! Grades can be arbitrary, but no matter how far behind you think you are, you can still take action to put yourself in a better position.
Best of Luck!

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Blogger Armen said...

I don't know if the word "slacker" and "attack outline" ever belong within a 100 miles of each other.

I had to dig deep through gmail, but I found this e-mail from co-blogger Disco Stu on the matter: "First of all, what is an 'attack outline?' I have no idea. All I know is that I don't want to be friends with people who make them (including any of you who made them). Pull an outline from two weeks before the exam like the rest of us."

11/30/2009 2:28 PM  
Blogger Slam Master A said...

Disco Stu couldn't have put it better. I'm not saying don't study, but I am saying only study in the week or so before finals. I wish I only had to study two weeks a semester!

11/30/2009 2:33 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

Simply preparing to do these four things is way more work than is necessary. Attack outlines? A commercial outline and a treatise? Finding the syllabus? Nuts. Law school slacker my ass. More like law school gunner. Just go to AJD and, and you'll be fine.

Speaking of, why are there no environmental law outlines on Is ELQ holding out on us?

11/30/2009 2:35 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

p.s. what the hell is going on with the n&b style sheet? the font changes are hurting my brain.

11/30/2009 2:36 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

Matt, it's just another reason to hate google blogger.


11/30/2009 2:39 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

my brain feels much better.

11/30/2009 2:41 PM  
Blogger J.D.elicious said...

Definitely agree that it is not necessary to have a treatise. But for me it helps because I don't understand things easily that are written in outline form. My brain panics when it sees:

So if I read an outline and don't understand part of it, then I go to something written in paragraph form. It doesn't have to be a fancy treatise- even wikipedia helps.

I find that they also help in those sorts of situations when you haven't read a case or attended class for a month and have absolutely no clue what the subject is about.

I'm envious of the people who have an easy time understanding things from an outline. To those of us to whom that does not come easy, I have found paragraph-form explanations of the law help me.

11/30/2009 3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... is a good resource for outlines for virtually every course.

11/30/2009 4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in good law school slacker company, and yet so much pain. The worst part is that no matter how much benefit of hindsight I get behind me, every semester, I don't do things any differently.

11/30/2009 4:28 PM  
Blogger Carbolic said...

I think the best advice is in point 3.

11/30/2009 6:29 PM  
Anonymous Toney (Boalt 2010, #1) said...

You're all f*cked. Cramming may get you an H, maybe an HH in a weak social justice seminar, but it definitely won't get you a 7&, and ITE, without at least a few of those, you have no shot at a job.

12/01/2009 11:16 PM  
Blogger Carbolic said...

True words. Many don't realize that the coveted "7&" grade is key to law school success.

12/02/2009 10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The E & E series is fantastic. Got H's in all but maybe one of the classes I bought it for. Particularly the 1L classes. Of course, the few classes I got HH's in, I found the E&E too elementary. That probably says something...

12/03/2009 7:42 PM  
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10/05/2010 1:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... is a great place for outlines.

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