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Author Topic: books before starting law school  (Read 3167 times)

jacy85

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Re: books before starting law school
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2005, 11:12:56 PM »
I agree that Law School Confidential is a good read.  I second the advice to not follow it to the letter, but it's a good overview, and he had come pretty common sense advice.  While it's not a lesson easily learned, and it's good (I think) to start out briefing, the earlier you can get into the swing of book briefing, most likely the better off you'll be.

SleepyGuyYawn

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Re: books before starting law school
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2006, 12:37:59 AM »
I had a hard time believing this before I started law school, but there really doesn't seem to be any great way to prepare.  Yes, I remember thinking that sounded a bit silly, but it's true.

As I see it, there would be two ways to prepare, if you were to do so.  You could prepare substantively or procedurally. 

Substantive preparation would be trying to learn the law before you're a student.  I think this is highly unlikely to be successful.  I suspect that there's something about the process of law school -- learning to think like a lawyer (like a law student) that makes you able to gradually understand concepts in torts, contracts, property, civil procedure in the way that a law student should.  But if you read a hornbook before law school, I think it would be confusing and frustrating.  I think I would really wonder what to do with all of that information. And it's hard to realize the nature of the law before law school.  It's hard to grasp the ambiguity of the law -- and that the law as an entity that isn't concrete.  And without that understanding, the commercial supplements don't make much sense I think. Besides that, you really don't know what your professor is going to cover and how.  Some good advice for law school is that you should remember that you're not taking, for instance, just "torts" -- rather you're taking "torts with professor _____."   It makes a difference.

Procedural preparation is trying to figure out how to succeed on exams and succeed in your preparation for class.  But this is hard.  I think, for example, that most law school prep services are a total waste of money.  Because if your law school is anything like mine (and I think most schools), most people have to adapt their studying techniques greatly -- with time and to their own learning styles.  There is no "off the rack" law school advice that fits everybody (at least none that will be useful past the first two weeks) -- not even the "how to brief" advice that's typical of those law school prep programs (most students don't brief past the first month -- it takes far too much valuable time). 

Okay -- so I think that "preparing" for law school is pretty much a waste of time (contrary to what I thought last year).  But if you really pressed me, I would say there are a couple things you could read to help you understand a little bit of what you're going to be encountering your first semester -- in a way that you could comprehend before you actually start (that's not meant as an insult or anything -- it's only reflective of me really).  Yea -- so I would read "A Civil Action."  I would flip through a book called "Getting to Maybe" (this will end up being pretty helpful later in the semester I'm guessing).  And I would find a book called Heracles’ Bow by James Boyd White -- I think it's out of print.  But it was recommended to me by an old professor of mine, and I thought it gave me a real insight into what law is really about.

Good Luck!

lincolnsgrandson

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Re: books before starting law school
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2006, 09:55:02 AM »
everything SleepyGuy said (except for the Boyd White book; I've never heard of it.  What is it?).

tacojohn

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Re: books before starting law school
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2006, 12:12:09 PM »
The best way to prepare is to attend a summer start class, and they are quite expensive ($5-9,000), and not all schools offer them.  These are different than law school prep courses, which in my opinion are worthless.

As for books, I read LSC, it helped a bit.  Read One-L, but remember that law school is not like that, and Turow even admits that he is a little neurotic to begin with.  If you read it, the lesson to take away from it is that if law school feels like that ever, you need to step back and see why that is, because it shouldn't.

SleepyGuyYawn

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Re: books before starting law school
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2006, 01:41:53 PM »
The recommendation of a summer course that costs $5000 to $9000 kind of irks me -- b/c I fear that some people who might not have the money to begin with might spend it b/c they feel it's necessary, or b/c they're scared about not succeeding in law school (especially first-generation college students).  Plus, of course, you must consider whatever earnings you lose in the summer while you're doing that course -- pushing the cost into the tens of thousands perhaps.

I know a couple people who participated in such summer courses and I am confident that they were no better prepared for exams than any other average student.  Maybe this doesn't apply for you, sjab, but then again you may have felt comfortable with law school even if you didn't take this -- there are some people who just naturally take to it better I think, and you might be one of those people, mistakenly believing it was the summer course. 

Or I could be wrong.  Perhaps the summer courses are helpful.  But I do know one thing: two of my friends who are 3L's are in the top 10% of their class, and neither did any preparation before law school at all (I know b/c I remember asking them about it before I started).

tacojohn

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Re: books before starting law school
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2006, 07:25:47 PM »
For the record, I'm not talking about law school prep courses.  Those are worthless.  I mean taking one or two real courses in the summer before your 1L start.  Loans covers a lot of this, but every little bit you save helps.  As long as you don't think you know more than you really do, they can really improve your confidence by allowing you to "see the monster."

And to be frank, law school isn't cheap.  If you're willing to go $100's of thousands of dollars into debt, then I think you shouldn't shy away from spending money to get an advantage.  If you think it's for you.  I'll admit it's not for everyone, and many students do just fine without it, particularly because the programs are limited and expensive.  But I have yet to find someone who wouldn't have benefited from being more experienced when they start law school.  It's about personal choice at that point.

naomi288

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Re: books before starting law school
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2006, 11:18:43 PM »
law school confidential is a wuick easy read, i read PLS, but it's completely overrated now that i look back on it, doesn't really teach you anything. I would either read books for fun if you like that, or do something else fun you like to do, you definitely won't have time for leisure reding when school starts
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Chibundu

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Re: books before starting law school
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2007, 05:38:14 AM »
The best way to prepare is to attend a summer start class, and they are quite expensive ($5-9,000), and not all schools offer them.  These are different than law school prep courses, which in my opinion are worthless.

As for books, I read LSC, it helped a bit.  Read One-L, but remember that law school is not like that, and Turow even admits that he is a little neurotic to begin with.  If you read it, the lesson to take away from it is that if law school feels like that ever, you need to step back and see why that is, because it shouldn't.

Where can you find out more about these kinds of programs. I am jsut curious to know more about them.
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StrenuouslyObject

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Re: books before starting law school
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2007, 08:46:39 AM »
www.lawpreview.com

I am not a salesman nor have I taken this class.

Look through the first pages of this board and you'll see a topic devoted to Law Preview.

squilla

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Re: books before starting law school
« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2007, 03:22:56 PM »
In my opinion, you shouldn't try to learn the law before you start law school - your professors will teach it to you the way they will test you, pay attention and learn what they want.  Professors can always tell who used out-wise class materials on the exam!  In order to get the most out of class, preparation is key!  But the beginning 1L has no idea how to prepare for class, I.E. how to read cases.  So, what I would recommend, is a book that prepares you for legal reasoning and teaches you how to brief cases, so you are that much more prepared for class, you can get more out of class, and you will understand the law that much better:

Learning Legal Reasoning: Briefing, Analysis and Theory by Delaney

Do the exercises, and then when you start class, apply that to the cases you read.