Law School Discussion

No Preparatory Reading And Success?

No Preparatory Reading And Success?
« on: June 16, 2004, 01:50:21 PM »
I don't know if this is true, but this past weekend I spoke to two rising 2Ls at Wake and both insisted that they didn't read anything other than One L, A Civil Action and Gideon's Trumpet to prepare for law school...They did well by the way, not top 10% I don't think but above the median.

I didn't belive them..Do you?

The only way I would believe that is if these particular students had lawyers as close friends and family members and were prepped/helped through 1st year by them..

What do you all think?

Re: No Preparatory Reading And Success?
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2004, 01:59:27 PM »
The larger question you are asking is, "Is is possible to be successful in law school without any prep work?"  I haven't gone to law school yet, which is true of most of us here.  Based on the information I have, I would say that is absolutely possibly.  I would say those that heavily prep are actually in the minority.  I talked to the senior class prez at Hastings and he said most students didn't prep before school in his class. 

I know there have been other threads along a similar line.  Prep work probably assists in increasing confidence, but "thinking like a lawyer" is a skill that can only be honed in law school.  So, I think absolutely someone could be successful w/o prep.  I think I will prep a bit since I know it can't hurt.


Re: No Preparatory Reading And Success?
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2004, 02:00:15 PM »
So, their class rank was somewhere between the top 49% and top 11%. That's a big range. I think there are a variety of strategies that could get one into that kind of class rank - none of which would seem particularly unbelievable.


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Re: No Preparatory Reading And Success?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2004, 02:07:37 PM »
Just take a look at a million other threads where this is debated!!!  but are not expected to know anything before you start!!! repeat that to yourself everytime you start worrying about it :)  Personally I read a book on legal history and one on legal philosophy as my prep as well as the two books you mentioned because they were a fun read. 

If you were smart enough to get into law school that chances are you are smart enough to do well if you apply yourself.  From seeing others go through it the most important thing is time management, not pre-law preperation.  Making yourself sit down and read every day for 2-4 hours is not something that reading a bunch of PLS-type books is going to teach you.  Forcing yourself to do outlines nightly or taking practice exams well before test time cannot be learned in a book.

I know the subject matter will be confusing but I've known plenty of people in top 25 schools who have graduated in the top 25% of their class and they didnt do anymore prep that i have (in fact theirs is the model i'm following since i've seen how well it works)


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Re: No Preparatory Reading And Success?
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2004, 02:14:10 PM »
As one of the other threads recent threads (,3806.0) has been discussing, this isn't really a decided subject.  The feelings seem to be on both sides.  I really don't see anything inconceivable with doing well without ever prepping.  Maybe they've had similar classes in undergrad, maybe they picked up on the game quickly, maybe they're naturally a good fit for law school exams, or maybe its something completely different. 

Regardless, there's no one who has been able to show definitive proof that studying pre-1L summer is necessary.  Of course on the other hand others will say that there is no definitive proof that studying pre-1L is unnecessary.

Perhaps the person who put it best was a 3L I talked to at admitted students day at NYU, who said something to the effect of this:  Law school is a game with imperfect information.  There's plenty of people giving information, but you have no way of knowing exactly what YOU will do when you get there.  No matter what you've done before, you've never taken a law class and you've never taken a law final.  And no one elses experience can provide perfect information to describe what will happen to you if you do this or don't do this.  So take all information with a grain of salt.


Re: No Preparatory Reading And Success?
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2004, 02:20:46 PM »
There's nothing strange about doing well in law school either with or without prepping before hand. There are religious nuts on both sides of the debate. Some will say you're screwed if you don't study for a year before-hand. Some say you're doomed to failure if you read the outlines before getting to class. Both groups are retarded nut-cases.

Just pick the strategy that makes you feel best for going into law school. If you feel you need the chill-time to rest and relax before 3 years of heavy study, then do so. If you have lots of free time and want to study all the outlines before class, then do so.

Anyone who tells you they know the right way to prepare (or not to prepare) is just scared that they are doing something wrong and want to make sure that everyone else is in the same boat as him or herself.

Re: No Preparatory Reading And Success?
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2004, 02:41:48 PM »
Everyone has made excellent points and I thank you.

The reason I didn't believe them was because I met other rising 2Ls that didn't prep as well AND studied hard and did not do well.  I also know lawyers and a few very recent ls grads who did okay or not so hot their first year because they went into law school clueless.  And these were not stupid or lazy people.  They were simply clueless about the law school curriculum and the process through law school.

It was some of these people that pulled my coattail to books such as LSC and PLS. It is for that reason that I guess "prepping" for law school (in its varying degrees) has been something that I never saw as debatable.  But that of course is just my opinion.

On the flipside, even reading a book like One L can help to prepare you for law school.  It does kind of tell you what not to do.

I guess I just didn't realize how uncommon it is to not prep for law school. And I don't mean actually reading and studying primers or Leews beforehand, I mean not even reading LSC or PLS (both of which are immensely popular on all of the law discussion boards I've been on).


Re: No Preparatory Reading And Success?
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2004, 05:35:05 PM »
I say read to prep if you feel the need, but don't wear yourself out. 

I feel the need, but I'm reserving the last two months to preserve my lifelong laziness, since I will never be lazy again once LS starts. ;D


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Re: No Preparatory Reading And Success?
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2004, 04:13:35 PM »
I've been fretting about exactly the same point.  I can't foresee myself sitting down and reading 6 or 7 books before school beings this summer, unless they're for fun.  I like hearing that there are other people out there who believe that reading your entire summer away is a bunch of bull.  I'm reading Law School Confidential right now... and I'll prolly follow most of what they say about commercial outlines and stuff... but some people on here are nuts about the books they read. 

Here's a shout-out to the fun people...  ;D