Law School Success

This Subject Area Index lists all CALI lessons covering Law School Success

Law School Success

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Assessing Your Own Work

Throughout law school, students will be asked to assess their own essays by comparing them to a model or sample student answer provided by their professor. It can often be difficult to distinguish one’s work from the model. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish what a student knows, from what they wrote down. Experienced legal writers understand that subtle differentiation in language changes the meaning of what was written. This lesson will provide students with strategies for self-assessment, so that they can become critical judges of their work, and consequently precise legal writers.

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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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Creating Study Aids

Creating Study Aids is part of the Academic Support series of CALI Lessons. This lesson introduces you to law school study aids. It begins with a brief overview of self-regulated learning and Bloom's learning taxonomy. Then, the lesson introduces law school study aids by pairing them with learning objectives at each level of the taxonomy. Finally, the lesson concludes with an activity designed to help you reflect on your learning. It can be used as an introduction, supplment, or as review.

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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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IRAC

This lesson will cover the basic structure of written legal analysis: IRAC. IRAC stands for Issue, Rule, Application/Analysis, Conclusion. There are slightly different versions of IRAC which may be used for different legal documents. This lesson will focus on IRAC for essay exam writing. Some faculty may prefer CRAC, or CIRAC, where the conclusion is placed first. You may also learn CRREAC for writing legal memos and briefs, which stands for Conclusion, Rule, Rule Explanation, Application, Conclusion. Make sure you know your professor’s structural preferences regarding exams and other assignments. Whether you have the conclusion up front or not, all of legal analysis follows the same basic IRAC framework. It takes some getting used to, but once you understand how to properly work with the IRAC structure, you will be able to analyze any legal question.

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Issue Spotting

This lesson explores one of the fundamental lawyering skills, which is to be able to spot issues. This lesson looks at what an issue is, and best practices in spotting them in cases, with clients, and on exams. Students will go through basic issue spotting exercises to better prepare for exams.

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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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Legal Writing v. Exam Writing

This lesson explains some key differences between legal writing and exam writing. First, the lesson demonstrates the relationship between legal writing and exam writing. Next, the lesson explains the differences between legal writing and exam writing. After you complete this lesson you will be able to transfer writing and analysis skills learned in your legal writing course to your final exams.

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