Law School Success

  • This Subject Area Index lists all currently published CALI lessons covering Law School Success.
  • The Law School Success Outline allows you to search for terms of art that correspond to topics you are studying to find suggestions for related CALI Lessons.
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Words Matter

You may have heard that lawyers are precise. It’s true. In law school, you will spend a lot of time discussing the meaning of a singular word or placement of a comma.

It is also true that sometimes there is more than one way to say something, or multiple phrases may mean essentially the same thing. It can be tricky to hear both that every punctuation mark and word matters, and that you must be nimble enough to recognize when two sources are talking about the same concept in different terms. This lesson is designed to show you some examples both of precision, and of when two things essentially mean the same thing.

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This lesson focuses upon the concept of metacognition and teaches you how to enhance your understanding about how you learn to better improve your study, organizational, test-taking and self-assessment skills with the goal of improving your performance in law school.

The lesson should help you better understand your individual learning process and show you how to use this information to develop study and test-taking skills needed for success in law school.

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Don't Compartmentalize! Transfer is the Key to Law School Success

One of the best ways to learn and remember something is to connect it to something that you already know. Once you have made that connection, it becomes easier to use the new information, because you are connecting it to something that you already understand. Making these connections is called transfer. You can transfer vertically (i.e. from one topic in criminal law to another, or from Contracts 1 to Contracts 2), or you can transfer horizontally from course to course (i.e. from contracts to criminal law).

During law school, it will be helpful to build frameworks for what you learn, so that you can fit new concepts into those frameworks. This will not only enhance your understanding of the doctrine, but also your ability to apply what you learn to new factual scenarios and new doctrinal areas. To be most effective, these frameworks should not only incorporate knowledge and skills from a single class, but across classes.

This lesson seeks to introduce you to the concept of transfer (taking a concept from one place and using it in another place) so that you can begin to incorporate it into your legal studies.

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Law School Resources

Law school will consume your life during the three or four years that you are enrolled. But that doesn’t mean that life stops. Bills still have to be paid; people still get sick; the rest of the world keeps rolling on.

There will likely be a time during your legal education when you need help with something. The good news is that there are plenty of people available to help. You are not alone. Whatever you are going through, someone else has gone through too. It’s important to reach out for help, so you can work through your problems, without hurting your academic performance.

This lesson will address what to do if you face a variety of academic and life issues. It will also get you to begin thinking about post-graduation planning.

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Preparing for Class 101: Preparing for Your First Day of Class

This lesson will run through critical considerations to think about before stepping into the law school classroom, or the "theater of learning" for the first time! Through a series of interactive diagnostic questions and teaching pages, the lesson explores many themes of first semester, including choosing your seat, class participation and how to handle the Socratic method, pre- and post-class prep, time management, using professors' office hours, and how the basics of the court system and functions of each level of court generate the "case method" of law school teaching and learning.

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Case Briefing

This lesson focuses on case briefing. The lesson will guide students through cases identifying the most important part of cases to prepare for classes.

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Finding The Rule

The lesson introduces several common rule structures and tests recognition of each. The lesson challenges the student to recognize the rule of law as it appears in several cases.