May 1, 2016

What a Law School Class is Like

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Today I realized that I've talked about what a typical day is like here in school, but never gave any insight to what class itself is actually like. Whoops! Major oversight on my part because it was one of the things I was most unsure and nervous about. I didn't know if it'd be as mean as Legally Blonde or as fast paced as How to Get Away With Murder, especially because of the Socratic method. I know every school is different, and every professor is different, but I have a feeling that the general idea is the same regardless.

Going Over the Case

My professors are very prompt and straight forward, so our classes generally begin with a professor diving right in to the material and calling on someone. Usually they just pick a name off the attendance sheet and then you're up. Depending on the professor, you might have to stand up when it's your turn. What the professors will want out of you is a brief background of who is suing who and why, the Issue part of your IRAC.

Socratic Method

Then you move on to the Analysis and Rule of your IRAC. You'll probably get a few leading questions asking for specific things that your professor wants you to get out of the case, like why were they suing under this theory and not another one or did the plaintiff prove all the elements they needed to. For the most part these questions aren't hard as long as you paid attention while reading and understood what was going on for the case. If there are any questions in your book after a case or within the footnotes, there's a really good chance that your professor might ask you one of those.

what class is like |

Open to the Class

After you've gone over the case, the professor might ask some tougher questions which you have first dibs on but could also be open to the class. These are things such as "What did you get out of this case?" or "How is this case different from the cases we read last class?" I've noticed that these seem to be more big picture questions, with professors wanting you to piece together what the chapter is about and what you should be getting out of each case.

Moving On

For my classes, we generally have about 2-3 students each class who go over the readings, with each one getting their own case or a combination of two shorter cases. In particular for my Crim class, my professor will call on two people and have one be the prosecutor and argue why the defendant in our case should go to jail and have the other person be the public defendant and argue why the person deserves a softer judgment. 


At least for my classes, the professors probably lecture for only 10 minutes because most of it is spent going over the rules and analysis of each case. Anything they do lecture is usually the more difficult material. Some professors put up slides with the information they want you to know, and some do a drawing or other visual so that you can understand the concepts. 

Here's what I made to print out and write my IRAC on. Mine's color-coordinated with the colors I highlight in my book as I read.

what class is like |
Dowload this IRAC template here


  1. Thanks for the highlighting legend idea! Studying for the LSAT and your blog keeps the motivation and morale up!

    1. I'm glad it's helping! The LSAT is the worst and applications suck too, but then after all of that is the exciting OMG I'm going to law school part so you have that to look forward to. Good luck studying for the LSAT!

  2. I'm so thankful I found your blog....studying for the LSAT and getting ready to take it in December and apply for law school after that. I was so nervous about everything but your blog and advice is helping a great deal, so thank you!

    1. Thank you so much Linda, that means so much to me!! Good luck with the LSAT and feel free to email me if you ever have any questions while you're applying or getting ready for law school!