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100 thoughts on “The Worst Law School Advice that Just Won’t Die (And How to Avoid It)

  1. This is great. But I'm not sure you have to do an outline. My performance vastly improved when I started to set aside time every week to study throughout the semester. Instead of putting together an outline, I reviewed material covered in class that week, and I read secondary materials and worked through chapters in the examples and explanations books (or the like). While doing so, I looked at my class notes and added to or revised them as necessary. At the end of the semester, I was ready to start studying for exams without having to do any kind of cramming. The important point though, as you said, reviewing the material while fresh and organizing it in bite sized chunks.

  2. I'd like to learned the law, but as soon as I read some of it I become so much depressed. Like how little freedom people actually have.

  3. I want to be a lawyer so thank you for making this video , also can you make a video on how to pass the character and fitness test for the barbri??

  4. Nice job. I agree. Hopefully your law professors will have several years of previous exams on file in the law library. Studying them was a huge help for me. I even had professors who’d answer questions regarding past test questions during review sessions. If your professor offers a review session in which they just answer questions you and your classmates may have GO TO IT. Even though I didn’t ask a question or say a word, much more often than not, I learned something that was invaluable towards getting a better test score.

  5. What some folks fail to realize here is that we're looking at a split. Yes by and large 90% of what you get in your 2 year degree (and that includes your concentration), and maybe 3/4ths of your 4 year you might be able to get away with not going to class. We're we're talking about professional programs and grad school with this video however and not so much your 2 and 4 year degrees. Reason he said "Law School". I teach here and there along with practicing (psych) and when it comes to the stuff that I teach undergrads it is insanely watered down from what I use in practice and sometimes wholey different than the intended way to use it. That's what undergrad is, a smattering of a lot of different subjects (but a very light overview of them) to provide a well rounded education and provide a decent foundation. At least that is the intent, it rarely goes that way, ultimately it is more about milking financial aid than it is rounding out your education.
    Sometimes I get a little irritated that I have to hold back a bit on the reins regarding how much I can teach on the undergrad psych side, we give you a bit, but sometimes where we have to stop leads to gross misunderstandings.

    So the point i'm making here is, yes early on "not going to class" isn't a "bad" piece of advice, I tell my students that "if you feel you have something better to do then go do it", that being said, i teach on the undergrad and in an area that folks don't usually focus in to the point where they NEED to be in class every day. Students who are majors in the subject, my advice does change for obvious reasons. When you hit Master, Specialist and Doctoral programs however you really do need to be there as much as possible (i can't speak for med school, but frankly who wants to have the doctor who skipped suture, bone setting, or transplant day) you're no longer in graduated daycare (lets face it that's what college is becoming) and you are supposedly interested and want to learn about your subject matter by the time it comes to grad school.

    Lastly as a professional therapist and instructor, I will say that while skipping class is not the end of the world, it is important to build up good habits, and skipping classes is a rough habit to break; but ultimately it is up to the student to decide what's important to them. My advice to my students is make every class you can but if you need to miss funeral, studying for another class, sick (seriously if you're sick please don't come share it with me), hung over etc then do so, if you want to be polite and respectful you can send your professor an email but most of us will likely not care unless you're in our field as it were. Most of us expect some absences and build it into our curriculum, something of a participation grade, or pop quizzes (personally I save those for when a majority of the class is clearly not doing their out of class reading).

    Ultimate point: So figure out what's important to you and do that, in your undergrad you're going to be taking a lot of BS classes that have nothing to do with what you're interested in; I had to take several math, stats, foreign language and science classes (my pre-med bio and A&P classes wouldn't count when i changed majors) that I hated every minute of in both my 2 year and 4 year degrees. In fact I had to take a couple classes in my field that drove me to the brink of insanity (research and psych courses taught in the education department). So as I say it is about what's most important to you. If you find that there are no redeeming factors in your current education field, you may need to re-adjust your priorities and ask if that's what you want. I started pre-med and hated every minute of it and skipped every class i could get away with because I hated it, fell into psychology and loved it and never skipped another class (without serious reason ex leaving class after learning my grandmother died). Being miserable doesn't make you better than anyone else, it just makes you miserable, if what you are doing makes you miserable, then re-consider it. Life's too short and death doesn't give you a rebate for wasted years.

  6. "No one will ever use a case book in practice. They are totally useless."

    I now have a collection of about 20 textbooks that are mostly useless to me almost ten years out of law school. However, they aren't totally useless; people who don't know what a case book is will look at a book shelf in my office with all this junk on it and think it looks really impressive.

  7. "No one will ever use a casebook in practice" – has wall of foundation press casebooks in background. Although to be fair, they are impressive looking and that might be enough.

  8. The worst advice I ever got about law school was "you should go to law school", followed immediately by "even if you don't study law, your resume will look much better if you finish your degree".

  9. Eh? — briefing cases is a skill — which helps you develop your analytical skills — you don't need to brief every case, but briefing is part of the process; you have case books on your shelf behind you (they are decorative) ; refine your outline as finals approach; study your professor like you study the material — you can narrow the scope of your exam if you know/appreciate what he/she is likely to ask about. (Lawyer 32 years)

  10. "Don't go to law school unless you want to be a practicing lawyer. If you want to work in policy, or run for office, or do anything other than actively practice law as a lawyer, you're wasting your time with law school. You'd be better off getting a masters."

    Advice I hear all the time. Your thoughts?

  11. Referring to your 4th piece of advice. Studying criminal law in Queensland, Australia, we have a book called 'Carter's' which outlines various acts related to criminal law as well as in-depth explanations and case authorities for each situation in criminal law. So case books aren't exactly useless. Plus, they're useful even after law school, sat in on a case once and the lawyers came in with a big cart of books and on top was the latest edition of Carter's.

  12. Best advice I ever got for reading cases is: Go straight to the Holdings, write them down and then restate them (the Holdings) as questions. Do that first and you will understand the legal aspect of the case (and precedent set) very quickly. You can then move to the rest of the information including shepardizing.

  13. I'm a retired lawyer. I graduated first in my class, and I then clerked for a Ninth Circuit judge before beginning practice. I have also done some adjunct teaching of legal writing.

    I agree with pretty much all of this–except for the advice about briefing cases. I briefed everything. It's good exercise for practice, as it helps you get ready for dealing with all aspects of any case. Sometimes a case may appear meaningful for where you are–but it isn't, because of the procedural posture. For example, it means one thing if an appellate court affirms a jury verdict, and quite another if it reverses a jury verdict. So you need to be able to understand procedural posture as well as black-letter law.

    I want to emphasize the importance of outlining as you go. I drafted an outline for every class period and then incorporated that into a long outline for the class. As each semester moved on, I would begin shortening my long outlines. At the end of the course, I'd have my long outline and a shorter outline. I'd work between the two to create my study outline, which focused on the case names and the important holding from each case. My long outlines sometimes exceeded 100 pages. My intermediate outlines would be 30 or 40 pages. My study outlines would be 10 or 15 pages. And I worked over those until I knew them intimately.

    I fully concur with his recommendations about commercial outlines. I used Emanuel's outlines, along with nutshells and treatises. I would move between those three sources, along with my casebook and notes, until I felt that I understood each issue. I thought that Emanuel's outlines were sometimes off. But you can't know that until you put in the effort to understand the substantive law.

    He's absolutely right about not worrying too much about context. I was in study groups during first year. Lots of my fellow students got hung up trying to figure things out before we had the necessary background. I'd say, "Let's move on. We've got this for now. It will become clearer later." And that's always true. On your first encounter, personal jurisdiction is a nightmare. But it's really not. And you'll get there.

    Finally, much of what you learn from law school is how to analyze fact patterns. You can't learn that by memorizing rules. You have to spend time with messy bunches of facts–i.e., cases. That's why law schools still use casebooks, rather than the crisp statements of black-letter law provided by bar review courses. So read the cases, and go to class and pay attention to your professors.

  14. Just great advice for college too. I showed this to my kids who aren’t in law, but great study habits are great study habits.

  15. Somehow I've got the feeling that he got and obediently followed all those advises when he used to be in law school himself. Only painful experiences can drive such passion to help preventing others into making the same mistakes.

  16. I went to law school (and practice) in Canada and some of this advice isn't relevant to law school outside the United States (I've never seen a commercial outline for Canadian law, for example) but most of it is extremely good advice even for law school in a different jurisdiction.

    The absolute best piece of advice I could give to anyone going to law school is go to class. You can certainly pass your classes even if you're skipping regularly; however, you're going to have to put in way more work to get a decent grade. Going to class and taking decent notes makes the whole experience far less stressful and more manageable, and you'll see it reflected in your grades (I was terrible for skipping when I started at university, and had a B- average. By my final year of law school I almost never missed a class and had an A average).

  17. I’m a doctor, everyone in my profession thinks they are lawyers. Then they complain that everyone wants to be a doctor. Ho hum, and the world continues to spin.

  18. Another point that supports doing weekly outlines:

    It's insanely helpful to review stuff weekly instead of waiting until the end of the class to create the outline. You hinted a bit when you mentioned "while it's still fresh in your mind," but I think many students (not just law students) underestimate the importance of reviewing as-you-go. It helps solidify the new information, and when you do review your outlines at the end of the term to add context, it will make more sense since you already "studied" while creating those outlines ahead of time.

  19. I love these law classes you are holding. I took a year of Business Law at Providence College and in the first semester Mr Travis our professor gave us an exam and most of the questions came from the footnotes. The whole class failed the exam. The professor said that's what law school does so get use to it. I was a junior in college.

  20. Hey, if you made a general study tips video I'd love that. Know that it might not apply completely to the channel and theres lots of other videos but I see where I could apply some of the stuff in this video to my studies. Maybe a whatever amount of ways to study like a lawyer

  21. Go to every class! Please! Given how much you, your parents, or some kind donor has spent, please go! It’ll be so helpful.
    Yeah, you don’t need to brief every case. But at least read every case.
    I didn’t use commercial outlines. Some of my classmates did. I think they often didn’t read the cases. Boo on them. Go ahead and buy outlines, but please, read the cases.
    I did my outlines at the end. It didn’t hurt me, but it didn’t help me.

  22. I always tell my juniors they're gonna cry a lot, but at least they won't cry alone, so that's a good part.
    Surviving college is easier when you have that one person to talk to about the injustice and frustration you're having.

  23. My advice is not to go to law school.

    (I’m kidding, it’s actually a pretty respectable and well-paying profession.)

  24. Objection! Everybody has one 'advice'?
    Did you just substitute the word 'opinion' with 'advice' without adjusting the grammar surrounding it?

  25. I like how the first piece of advice is "college professors will teach you law according to their opinion not to the law so make sure you listen to them"

  26. Loved the video! I second everything haha, but I did want to add that in Native American/tribal law you really can go all in studying the cases because none of the SCOTUS ones have been overturned. I realize that’s such a small subset, but I wanted to let you know this one exception! Because every good rule has an exception

  27. The way he said "the way that some of my friends did" makes me feel he too fell for some of this bad advice

  28. If you need simple statements of the law then why the @!?!#×%!! are EULA's so friggin' long and complex?? I've seen some really clear EULA's that cut out 75% our what is in a standard EULA and are much easier to read and understand.

  29. I’m a Sustainable Development major…this stuff will be useful. In Sustainable Development, we have to know at least a little bit about everything. I, for one, am interested in learning law, because it can help me hold those in power accountable for their actions.

  30. I really wish you didn't say "hit the ground running", I had to listen to All Star three times just to get it out of my head.

  31. Tips I learned: 1 Learn the proffessor 2 focus on the major pieces of the cases 3 Only case brief when nessisary 4 learn from other types of outlines such as a commercial outline 5 case books are not used later 6 personal outline early, personal outline often .

  32. I'm in IT, not law, but a lot of this applies to us loosely too, in a different context, particularly the part about getting new textbooks. At least in your field (I hope) there's fewer cases where your textbooks are empirically and provably wrong.

  33. My advice: Don't go.
    I went for a year, sucked at it, and flushed out.
    I am currently working on a PhD in Public Administration, I did well on the GRE and LSAT… But law school is not for everyone.

  34. it seems the general advice for lawyers is to be a procrastinating prick who fails, so the person giving the advice doesn't have to deal with you later? lol

  35. I don't know if this is just a jurisdictional difference, but dicta and dissents are highly relevant where I attend law school (Toronto). Profs put them in deliberately for cases for which they do not agree with the result, and they want you to take a stance. Jurisdiction aside, I'm sure you're aware of the Palsgraf case (Cardozo J), where it's not exactly irrelevant in an exam what Andrews J argued about proximate cause. Often law exams up north will ask you to defend which of the decisions was better in an essay-based question, rather than just all fact patterns questions.

  36. "You don't need to go to class or pay attention if you do" That would be bad advice no matter what type school you're going to or what subject you are studying.

  37. @LegalEagle: oh my Zod lol tell me you've heard of this joke (*posting here because kind of relevant)


  38. Nearly at the end of my first semester of law school and I’m still briefing nearly every case for my Torts class… thankfully I’ve stopped for Property and Civil Procedure. Though my structure of briefs the facts and the reasoning behind the holding take up most of the space

  39. I passed most of my law school by re-reading the casebook before the final and waiting till the end to really start outlining and sometimes I only got through re -reading the book; and i got A's in a lot of my classes.

    I also know a lot of people who had the same problem as I did and came to a similar solution as mine.

    That being said, I think your video misses the point that people operate differently, and what works for some may not work for others.

    You should end your bit by stating the final piece of advice "don't take what others say about law school to heart, we all have different paths and in the end its about perseverance."

  40. I can’t believe I didn’t find this video till the end of the semester. I briefed every single case we read including shorter cases. I wasted three hours a day briefing cases for one class alone because i felt pressured to by classmates and 2Ls.

  41. My federal job of 1 year and 7 months fired me after asking about therapy benefits, 2 days after my new insurance kicked in from the contractor change, saying they determined I was a danger to the work place.

    My state is also a right to work state, so my job can fire me for almost any reason without being specific, and lawyers have told me I cannot sue except for disability discrimination, which is not applicable in my case.

    I have not been able to find a job since, and my depression has hit the lowest point it ever has in my life, since I clearly can't afford help.

    I don't know why I'm posting it here. I guess I just need to rant since I'm broke and I don't have many friends.

  42. Objection on case briefing, yes it is a waste of time for the finals, but it also teaches you to be objective and causes you to understand both sides of the issue. I'd never turn it in as a homework assignment, but sometimes it is a great tool to just expand knowledge of the law.

  43. That is the worst college advise. PERIOD! You should always pay attention in class no matter the subject, take the best notes you can and always read the book whenever you can, especially if it's assigned to do so.

  44. Who would actually say you don't need to go to class? Like maybe for an easy 100 level undergraduate gen ed like English 100, but it always helps to have good attendance, to listen and take notes, and to ask questions in class if you don't understand the material. In almost every class.

  45. Going to class is important 90% of time. But just remember as you get closer to exam time skipping class to study might be useful.

  46. I pay $7,200 per semester for four professors to read from a power point each week with 20-40 slides. I'm told I'm getting a great discount for that education too.

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