How to Study Law

1. Suspend what you know about the law a. this allows you to absorb what is "new" to you about the law b. also, you will then be able to learn that which conflicts with your prior knowledge & experience about the law. 2. Know the goals & context of every assignment a. how does the assignment fit into what I have learned? b. carefully listen and take notes c. ask about the professor's expectations on each assignment d. ask classmates about their understanding of the purpose and context of the assignment. 3. Design a study plan a. make a list of everything you need to do b. add 50% to the time you initially think you need to study a subject, class, couse c. create your own study area free from distractions. d. do a self assessment of your study habits and establish a program to correct any weaknesses: Here is a lits of some study weaknesses: 1. minimal study efforts 2. you learn best by listening, but not by studying the subject 3. do not like to study 4. cannot concentrate 5. study with TV or radio on 6. get bored and cannot keep motivated 7. don't seem to understand the subject material 8. cannot read or skim read or cannot understand what you read. 9. dont look up words you do not understand 10. cram for exams or projects/procrastinate 11. dont study consistently 12. can't memorize or forget things you study 13. can't take good notes 4. Improve your grammar/spelling/composition/writing skills (click here for excellent grammar and writing skills program on the internet) a. take personal responsability b. read more, and be more aware c. use the grammar program on the internet (see above) d. improve your spelling - look up words in a dictionary (click here for a good internet dictionary) if you don't know the exact spelling, then click on the circle which says "approximate" and then type in your best guess of the spelling for the word. also check out law words with a law dictionary. e. take english classes, English 21/28, and English 101.

learn the general rules.f. and other times not at all. the patterns. and exception. (for instance have a subdirectory. and files so that you can find your work. take down "too many" or "too few" notes 4. and who helps with understanding. or "political" or "philosophical" rationale used by the courts or the legislature in making legal rules and deciding legal cases.. and work product (assignments. develop checklists of the law and subject matters of the law. law sometimes can "punish" and be very punitive. some weaknesses to overcome are: 1. slow writers 2. for every general rule. . legal pleadings. this will help to organize each class. dont like taking notes 3. and under each subject you can then have subdirectories for assignments. engage in study groups with your fellow/sister students. g. b. c. and other times it can be very "fair" and "equitable". since they have a study partner to colloborate with. cant seem to organize your notes very well. 7. and all the other essentials necessary to learn the complex subject matter of the law. organize you law subjects." f. and put your materials. etc. on your computer (if you have one). learn the commonalties of law. then conclusion is "B". subject matter.Organize your learning a. and each subject area you study. learn the exceptions. be "realistic" about the law and how it is applied. and which ones are more "fair and equitable".. and the "legal thinking" process used by courts and the legislature in making and deciding law cases. set up 3 ring binders for each subject. each labeled appropriately. and divide your binders with divider pages. law is sometimes very fixed and definite. and legal fields are more "punitive". dont think that note taking is necessary or important 5. 6.. but if "Y". call it law or school. dont know what is important. try to learn which subjects. law 11. etc. Learn to live with the "amiguity" of the law a. etc. tests. 5. b. know the equation: if "X" is present. and legal work) in order. try to understand the overall general public polcy. e. under your c:/ root directory. but if "Z" then. then conclusion is "A". * note: I have found that students who pair up do very well in their studies. like what are the elements of a "tort" or a "contract". and by becoming a "legal student" or "student of the law". practice writing g. and try to understand the legal rationale or theory behind each rule. there is an exception. then under that have subdirectories for each class like. you can also do this with your computer disks. Develop Note taking skills a. d. This you learn by just studying a lot of cases and code sections. motivation. law 10.

of your status as a "law or paralegal student" and practice your skills until they become "excellent". be accountable for your mistakes. and friends. b. or which do not make much legal sense to you with others.8. and with your friends. Studying law is very . your friends and family members. or knowledge. f. Do not be afraid to say "There is something I do not understand about this or that". also be willing to teach other students things that you have learned in exchange for being taught by other students. e. but demand "objective" criticism. when you really do" a. 9. compare your work with the "model answers" given. your family members. but do strive to become "better" each go around. practice on others making your legal arguments. develop a "thicker skin" to criticism of your work. ask other students to review your work product e. Studying Rules a. and see what their opinions are of the cases and legal rules. if you cannot understand the facts of a case. d. make summaries of the legal rules your learn. and even-handed" grading or feedback of your work. or word processing. like the internet. 11. know when you do not really understand. 13. and not just petty criticism of "minor or small details". read your materials carefully b. and realize you know a lot more than you might give yourself credit for. The best way to learn sometimes is to teach it to some one else. Feeback a. Set your priorities a. d. or with other student's work. Write down instructions" a. Don't be proud. and demand "accountability" along with "fair and equitable. Don't say you don't understand something. 10 Don't pretend you know when you don't" a. and try answering your own questions. practice your legal arguments you have learned. ask other students. or discuss legal cases which you do not understand. Do not expect "perfection" . Many times students are the "harshest critics" of their own work. and family members. or in class. learn from your mistakes made on exams or on assignments c. be honest. try diagramming who the parties are. and what they are doing in the case. write questions for yourself in the margins of your notes or books. Be proud of your profession. Test out your knowledge with others. learn to write down how to do something. discuss with other students or your professor. with the class. and legal arguments you have learned in cases. or to correct your work to improve or make it better. be willing to learn. and be willing to ask. g. try to be self-supporting. look for feeback from teachers and fellow/sister students of your legal work product. f. 12. evaluate your exam results. c. or the teacher questions you have about your materials. be willing to say no to others.

word processing. Be patient with yourself. frustrating. change to another computer. with your instructors. by an large. email. Rome was not built in a day. 14. Your basic skills and knowledge grows with each step you take. * a special note on computers. the internet. with you fellow/sister students. remember it takes time. . but do not wait for ever. the computers many times do not work correctly either. with your instructors. and with the computer. if the computer does not work. there is a wisdom knowing when you must be more patient. try a few times. don't be too patient. The same goes for learning to use the computer. a. and time consuming. and you must know when it is you who is making the mistake. You must take the time and dedicate yourself to learning. and on and on. You must learn to be more patient with yourself. and with the computer. work most of the times. or it is the computer. your fellow/sister students. but also be patient enough. and not the machine which is making the mistake. sending attachments. computer. and when you should be impatient.complex. difficult. remember many times is it the operator.

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