April 29, 2016

Who Went Where

After chatting with one of you lovelies about my post over picking a school, I did some research and decided to do a little series over where leaders in Texas went to law school. Naturally, first up would be our wonderful Texas Supreme Court Justices. I wanted to list their undergrad too just in case any high school hopefuls stumbled across here and were wanting some guidance, but I ran out of room in the little bubbles. For that information and more about who is running this great state, you can click here. Stay tuned for more later and keep your comments and emails coming!  

Who on the Texas Supreme Court Went to What Texas Law Schools | brazenandbrunette.com

P.S. I highly recommend following Justice Willett on Twitter (@JusticeWillett)

April 27, 2016

My Favorite Law School Apps

my favorite law school apps | brazenandbrunette.com

Amazon Prime

If you use your .edu email, then you can get Amazon Prime at a student discount with Amazon (free). Because you get free shipping as a Prime member, I end up just buying most of my odds and ends on there because it ends up being an easy way to save money.

Blackboard

If your school uses Blackboard, then you might as well download the Blackboard app (free). If you turn on the notifications, it'll let you know whenever your professor uploads a document or sends out an announcement. Just so you never miss a due date.


Chegg

Chegg (free) is my favorite place to rent or buy used books from. They always have great prices and send you little freebies with your books!


Dropbox

Dropbox (free) is a necessity to keep all of your papers safe. If I write a 26 page research paper, you can bet that I'm uploading it to dropbox just in case something happens to my computer.


Evernote

Evernote (free) is the BEST note taking app! Ever! I've been using it since my freshman year of college. I practically wrote a whole post over why I think you should switch from Word to Evernote.


Fitbit

No Fitbit tracker? No problem if you have an iPhone 5 or newer and Fitbit (free). Just go to Account > Set Up a Device > MobileTrack and now you can stay on top of your health. Especially if you're a stress eater like me because law school can be stressful sometimes.

Related: How to Stay Fit in Law School


Ibotta

In case you haven't noticed, law school gets expensive fast. So to make my student loan stretch further, I use Ibotta (free). How it works is you make your grocery list and then go through the app and find what you need in the app. By buying one brand that's sponsored through the app, you get a cash back rebate! Plus you get $10 FREE when you sign up! I've already made $41 since downloading it :)

Related: How to Create a Budget for Law School


iStudiez

iStudiez (free for the lite version, but I recommend the $4 pro version) is an app I love almost as much as Evernote, which is saying something. If you have an Apple Watch, there's a compilation you can use that will tell you when to leave to go to class, what classroom to go to, and while you're in class it has a countdown of how much time you have left (whether you didn't read or are starving, you'll realize how helpful this is). It also has a separate app in the Mac App Store that will keep your class schedule and reading assignment in the notifications bar, which is super handy.

Mint

Mint (free) connects to your bank and shows you how much you have in your checking and spending accounts. It can show you were you spend most of your money on and help you be able to set a budget for yourself so that you don't go broke. It's the responsible thing to do.

Related: How to Create and Stick to a Budget


Pocket Points

If you have a problem with sneaking your phone during class, Pocket Points (free) will help you break that habit. It uses your location to know when you're on campus and then you can use the app. You get 1 point for every minute that the app is open, and while it's open you can't text or scroll through your newsfeed. Then you can use your points to redeem prizes at local stores (I've used mine for BOGO at insomnia cookies!). 


Pomodoro

So as it turns out, the way I study actually has a name and it's called the Pomodoro Method (lol I actually thought I made this up myself). Anyways, the Pomodoro app ($0.99) helps if you study like this because it will set a work timer and a break timer, and automatically switch between the two so you don't have to keep changing your timer. It also supports Apple Watch which is cool if you have one because then while you're off your phone, you can still use this app.


Power Nap

Power Nap ($1.99) is perfect for little dozes during study breaks. It's great because it waits until you're asleep to start the timer so if you take 15 minutes to fall asleep, you can still get a full 45 minute nap instead of being shortchanged. You set it for how long you want to sleep and it uses the motion of your phone to know where you're at in your sleep cycle so it can wake you up at the perfect time. 


Quimbee

Quimbee (subscription required) is what me and a lot of other students use as a supplement. Their case briefs are so good that if you get a little lazy on your reading, they can catch you up. More importantly, their videos and quizzes really help when you're studying.

Related: All About Quimbee



there's an app for that | brazenandbrunette.blogspot.com

Quizlet

Quizlet (free) is another app that I've been using since my freshman year of college because it just helps so much. It helps me to make flashcards with the elements to different rules so I can make sure that I have them memorized backwards and forwards.


Sallie Mae

Sallie Mae (free) is who I got my student loans through. I am on there every month making payments towards my loan and checking on what I still owe. Right now I can't pay back very much, but I at least want to be doing something to tackle my debt. Even if you got a different loan, see if your bank has an app so you can monitor your loan too.


Spotify

Spotify (free) is my go-to when studying. I love how they come up with so many different playlists with themes like 'relaxation' and 'intense studying.' Having music in the background while I'm studying keeps me from getting distracted every time one of my neighbors is noisy.


theSkimm

Ok, ok, so technically theSkimm (free) isn't an app, but you can use it through the email app of your choice so there. I just include this because in law school it actually helps to know what's going on in the world. This is because 1. it already feels like everyone around you sounds smarter than you so now you can sound smart too, 2. because law professors like to tie in what you're learning to the real world when they can, so if you don't know about a Supreme Court case being heard then you'll miss the reference, and 3. you're going to have to do some networking sometime soon so this gives you "oh I read it somewhere" things to say to keep the conversation interesting. 


Unplugged

Unplugged (free) is another app that's good to keep you off your phone so you can finally study. You have to put your phone on airplane mode to use it, which is good because you won't be getting any texts or other notifications. While the app is in use it'll keep track of how long you go before you take if off airplane mode, and you can even set it to remind you to get off your phone every so often.


Bonus

These aren't apps, but they're features on my iPhone that I use every day.

First there's Do Not Disturb (moon icon at top). Yes, it's great to keep your phone from waking you up when you friend drunk snapchats you 20 times at 1AM. But for law school, it's great to just turn it on and not be distracted when you're in the study zone.


there's an app for that | brazenandbrunette.blogspot.com

Lastly, there's Night Shift (sun and moon icon on bottom). If you go into your brightness settings, you can have night shift turn on when the sun sets. With it on, your phone gets a slight yellow filter that blocks out the blue hues from your phone that messes with your sleep cycle. Essentially, it tries to keep your phone from making it harder for you to fall asleep.

Related: How to Sleep Better to Be Happier


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April 20, 2016

Registering for 2L classes

Registering up for 2L classes | brazenandbrunette.com

Wow wow wow wow this came fast. I swear this semester feels like it was more like a mini-mester. Signing up for my 2L classes was a different experience because I didn't have an academic adviser to tell me what classes I should take. It was also different because I still haven't decided what type of law I'm drawn to. The good news is that this meant that I wasn't dead set on getting into any specific class. The bad news is that this gave me literally no direction of what classes I would be interested in.


Choosing a Class

To get an idea about what classes I should take, I did some research on what classes hiring lawyers want their employees to have. They were:

  1. Evidence
  2. Intellectual Property Law
  3. Federal Courts
  4. Administrative Law
  5. Patent Law
  6. Conflict of Laws
  7. Copyright Law
With honorable mention for:
  • Secured Transactions
  • Individual Income Tax 
  • Corporations
  • Accounting and Financial Reporting
  • Securities Regulation
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
I shared this information with my moot court partner, and it turns out that she did some interesting research too. She looked up the most important classes needed to pass the bar. When she told me this, I felt dumb because I hadn't even thought to look into that! Her list was:
  1. Evidence
  2. Administrative Law
  3. Corporations
  4. Complex Litigation
  5. Pretrial Advocacy
  6. Corporate Finance
  7. Law and Accounting
  8. Intellectual Property
  9. Federal Courts
  10. Patent Law
  11. Conflict of Laws
  12. Copyright Law
  13. Secured Transactions
  14. Individual Income Tax
  15. Accounting and Financial Reporting
  16. Merger and Acquisitions
You'll see that there's some overlapping ---> very important classes! I took these lists into consideration as well as some advice I got from one of my favorite professors. He told us that law school is all about being strategic and one strategy that he did was find a professor that he liked and did well on the tests, and took every class that professor offered so that he knew he was locking in a high GPA.


Signing Up

Our registration opened at 8am this morning, so the night before I made a list of all of my first choice classes. What was nice is that my school releases the Fall finals schedule with the class schedule so you can plan to have your finals spread out. After making a list of my first choice classes, I wrote a backup for each class just in case it was already full by upperclassmen. 

Although I didn't have to register right away, I knew that a lot of people in my section were wanting to be in many of the same classes that I was wanting to get in to. Although I wasn't dead set on getting into any particular class, I was dead set on not taking a professor that has bad ratings on rate my professor.

The only class from my first choice class that I didn't get in to was Advanced Legal Writing, but that class had a cap at only 16 students. So here's what I'll be taking this fall :) For Secured Transactions, Evidence, and Law and Economics I'm going to have the same professors that I have this semester.


Registering up for 2L classes | brazenandbrunette.com

Final Thoughts


My school has two law journals—the official law school one that you're invited to on based off your grades, and one you can write-on for that focuses on social justice issues. Both of my moot court judges were on the latter journal and encouraged everyone to apply. I was really interested in it until I heard about how much writing you have to submit each week and was really afraid that my grades would suffer, so I ended up not applying. Then when I was looking at what classes to take, I discovered that the journal was actually a class! So I could've gotten credit and had time to write, but too little too late. Moral of the story, take every opportunity you can and don't talk yourself out of them! 

Be sure to read part 2 of this post, Choosing Law Classes Wisely!

April 17, 2016

Choosing a Law School


As you may know, I didn't get into my dream school and am instead at one of my back-ups. But this week I got a text from one of my friends who has the exact opposite problem—she got accepted into both of her dream schools and now is having trouble deciding which to pick. This is a difficult situation because both schools are great and she know's either one would be a fantastic choice, but she still has to choose one. Because I can't make the decision for her, I helped her think through and evaluate what it is that she wants.


Cost

I'm starting off with this because it's obviously a major factor. Tuition and scholarships should be heavily weighed when deciding, but it shouldn't be the reason why you choose a school. A lawyer explained it to me as if your mother had a heart attack, you wouldn't take her to the cheapest hospital- you'd find the best hospital. True, you don't want to be in over your head in debt, but if one school is obviously better than another, yet more expensive, choose the better school.


Reputation

When I chose to go to my undergrad school, I made that basis off of how far of a drive it would be, how the football team is, and how fun the town was. This was because I knew that a BS from one school is pretty much the same as from another. But law school, where you go is more important. While it's not everything, having a high ranking law school on your résumé will no doubt open more doors for you. 

You should also look closely at a school's bar passage rate and job ratings. If a school is struggling to have it's students pass the bar, then it's not teaching you everything that you need to know. And if a school's graduates are having a hard time finding [or keeping] a job, then it's not preparing you enough. This should be weighed pretty heavily because this is what you can count on experiencing after leaving a school. 


Opportunities 

You're going to want to look at what a school has to offer for you. Pro bono clinicals are a great way to get real-life lawyering experience while also getting to add volunteering to your résumé. Externships allow you work with a real lawyer for class credit. Internships get you real-world experience to boost your résumé. Judicial clerkships are also a great resource if you're considering being a judge. 

You'll also want to look at student life opportunities such as student organizations, trial competitions, writing for a journal, or being a research assistant. At the beginning of law school your résumé will look kinda weak once you have to cut out your undergrad achievements and involvements, so you need to consider what will help you bulk it back up.


Location and Size

As a general rule, it's advantageous to go to school in the state where you want to practice. This is because it's kind of pointless to spend three years learning what Texas law is when at the end you'll be taking the bar in New York. But if you are get accepted into a better school in a different state, you can take a state-specific bar prep class and catch up. 

Size-wise, smaller classes have been proven to be more effective because you are getting a more personal learning experience. Smaller classes also make it easier for your professors to get to know you better, so you can count on them for a more thorough reference letter. A school that is very large can also create the problem of having you compete against more students for limited internship opportunities. But, a larger class will make the curve more in your favor. And a too-small school is likely to have limited resources. 


Final Thoughts

Of course, make sure to try to try to visit your top choices to get a feel for the school before making any decisions!


Choosing a Law School | brazenandbrunette.com

April 13, 2016

The Curve Giveth, and The Curve Taketh Away

how the law school curve really works | brazenandbrunette.blogspot.com

This past month we had our midterms. Most of them were online and not for a grade, and one was for 20% of my grade. I personally think that they're kinda just BS, but what's really nice about them is that you get to see how professors structure their questions and where they try to trip you up. If you do have an online test, I suggest either taking a screenshot of each question or writing them down as you go. I say this because one of my professors went over the test the next day in class, but I couldn't remember what some of my answers were to correct myself.

As for my graded midterm, I got really excited about only missing 3 out of 20 because this was for Constitutional Law. My Con Law class is two hours a day, and usually by hour two I'm so bored I'm not even paying attention. I really thought it would be like last semester and I wouldn't do so hot, and was pleasantly surprised ecstatic that I didn't fail it.

how the law school curve really works | brazenandbrunette.blogspot.com

That was, however, until I got an email from my professor letting everyone know that the class average was a 16/20. Although I am technically above the class average, there's a really good chance that because everyone else did so well, it's going to pull down my grade. So now the pressure is still on for me to do well on my final so that I can beat the curve, but at least this time I am starting out in the B range.

More about the curve here!
how the law school curve really works | brazenandbrunette.blogspot.com

April 10, 2016

Moot Court

what to wear during moot court and what to wear during moot court | brazenandbrunette.com

At my school, everyone is required to participate in Moot Court as a pass/fail part of LRW. We could pair up with any 1L and then competed against the entire 1L class for a chance to argue in front of appellate justices. The hardest part was that we had to argue both sides back to back, so by the second time my partner and I were mixing up our arguments over if there was or wasn't a constitutional right. Unfortunately my partner and I did not advance to the second round, which consisted of only the top 16 teams. But that doesn't mean that I didn't learn a lot!


What is Moot Court

Mock trial was a big thing in my pre law fraternity, but I never really got involved. So when moot court came up, I had no idea what I was doing. For those of you who aren't really into these either, mock trial is more where you question witnesses and argue in front of the judge and moot court is more for appeals where you just stand at a podium and talk to a judge. While these are different, I do wish that I would've at least tried my hand at this before I got to law school so I wouldn't feel so clueless.


What you wear

Before we started moot court, a 3L from my school's official team gave us a presentation about what to expect and one thing that he pointed out was that the dress code was strict. "Business Professional" like what you'd see on Pinterest still isn't business-y enough. This has to be Court Room Professional. Black pant suit or a skirt suit with skin-colored panty hose. No tight skirts and skirts should end right around the kneecap. White, peach, or pale pink button up or blouse. No cleavage whatsoever. Close-toed, black heels less than three inches, preferably not patent leather. Nude or pale pink nails. Natural makeup. Stud earrings and minimal jewelry. Hair out of your face. No bold colors and preferably no patterns. The rules were pretty strict, but I did feel like a total badass looking so professional. 



What happened

The only people in the room where the four speakers, a 3L (judge), and the timekeeper (bailiff). The order goes like this: Speaker 1 for Petitioner speaks on issue #1 for 7 minutes, Speaker 2 for Petitioner speaks on issue #2 for 10 minutes, Speaker 1 for Respondent speaks on issue #1 for 10 minutes, Speaker 2 for Respondent speaks on issue #2 for 10 minutes, Speaker 1 for Petitioner rebuts Respondents for 3 minutes. This is why it's very important to have comfortable shoes because your feet will start to hurt after standing in one place for so long.

When you go up there, you should have your main arguments outlined in 1-2 pages and a case list. The arguments should really be in bullet points so that you can't allow yourself to read from them. Your case list should have a list of all of your cases, with each case having one sentence summarizing the facts and one sentence summarizing the rule. You'll also want to know what level in the courts that this case made it to and in what jurisdiction. Our arguments were summaries from our briefs because we argued over the same hypothetical issue.

Don't think that you actually have to memorize a 10 minute speech!! Your judge will constantly be bombarding you with questions so in reality you might not even make it through your first argument. Because of this, you really need to start off summarizing the outline of your arguments so that even if you don't get to elaborate on argument two, you still got to mention it. Also, make your arguments concise so that you can cover more ground before getting cut off, because you can always go back and elaborate if you have leftover time.


What I learned

Moot court is all about presentation. 
Keep your hands on the podium and don't fidget or move around. 
Eye contact is very important.
To maintain eye contact with your judge, memorize your opening and closing statements! 
Use your most formal language.
Never cut off or interrupt your judge.
Always begin your response to your judge with Yes or No Your Honor.
Try to answer each judge's question by citing to a case.
Answer a question before continuing. Don't say I will answer this later or my partner will address that issue. Answer. The. Question.
Relate your judge's question to what you say next after answering.
Properly answering questions and your procedure are a little bit better than a strong argument.
Use your opponent's own case against them. 
Taking a pause is better than mumbling "um."
Make sure that your arguments are based on facts, not emotions.
Don't be afraid to BS a little if you start to get stuck :)
Be assertive — tell the court what it should do and why.
Don't use I, we, or my client. Instead use the name of your client (Mr. Jones) and call the opposing party by either Petitioner or Respondent. [but not the Petitioner/Respondent]
Most of your time will be spent answering the judge's questions. 
Remind yourself to speak slowly, calmly, and clearly. 



April 7, 2016

What Am I Doing Here??



dealing with self doubt in law school | brazenandbrunette.com

As I mentioned, last semester was a whirlwind. Moving to a new city, starting at a new school, living alone for the first time, and testing out the law were all really big changes that happened all at once. But something else happened last semester that has never happened to me before. I don't mean to be a downer, but I want to be real with you so you know that you're totally normal and not alone. You're going to doubt yourself, and you're probably going to seriously consider dropping out. 


How it happens

There's main two reasons why I thought maybe law school wasn't for me—I simultaneously felt like I didn't deserve to be here and that doing something else would be a better investment of my time. 


Am I worthy of being here?

It wasn't one major thing that made me feel like I didn't belong, but a lot of little things that really stuck with me. Everyone getting excited to meet a judge who I'd never heard about. Thinking that I knew the answer in class and being completely wrong. Reading the cases, paying attention in class, and still having no clue what was going on. Having mediocre to sub-par midterm results. Noticing other students who met in study groups both before and after class. Everyone and their dog seemed to have a close connection with the legal field. It was crazy how easy it was to feel like I was just kidding myself and that everyone else were perfect law students. That part sucked.


Can I afford to be here?

On top of that, there's the money issue. Although my parent's paid for my undergrad, I am paying for law school by myself. While your education sounds like a fantastic investment, you start to do the math. I realized that I could buy a brand new Range Rover or pay my tuition. And then I realized the interest on my debt. Just last semester, my Sallie Mae loan accrued over $300 of interest, and that's with me paying monthly installments already. I also noticed that my loan says my estimated payoff date is November 2028. And that's just one year's loan. I have to do this all over again for two years. On top of that, it's looking like a paid internship isn't in my future for at least another year. All of this debt starts to make you wonder if it's really worth it. 

To be honest, every time I saw an infomercial for going to paralegal school, it seemed like a better situation until I remembered what that job description entails. My school offers night classes and I had to sit down and seriously weigh the pros and cons of slowing down my graduation rate so that I could work during the day time to help off set my loans. In the end what made me decide against that is that I know that I'm the type of person who would probably use having a job as an excuse to half-ass my classes and I didn't want to risk that.


Is this the best use of my time?

Another factor that made me consider leaving school was that I saw what everyone else was doing. My newsfeed was constantly bombarded with my friends who were graduating in December announcing that they had accepted some exciting new job. To be honest, I was envious of how they were making pretty good money as I was falling deeper into debt every day. It didn't help that I would see them being able to afford to make down payments on a new car or house while I was telling myself that I don't actually need name brand cheese from the grocery store. 

Even more so, I got to see some friends follow their wildest dreams. One of the girls who I studied abroad with returned to Spain and is currently teaching english in Madrid. Another friend is a flight attendant for Emirates Airline and is in a new country every week. I felt like I was missing out on seeing the world while I still can before I have a family and career, and seriously considered postponing law school for a year or two while I took on a life adventure. It's hard seeing someone post pictures from the Eiffel Tower while you're reading a case about whether or not a deed to a house was actually handed over or not. In the end, I had to remind myself of how long law school has been my dream. It reminded me of the saying to not give up a dream for temporary pleasure. 


How it got better and why I stayed

A saying I've heard is that in law school, success is not you're driving factor- fear of failure is. This was 100% true for me. I had spent a whole year casually letting every one that I met know that I was going to law school, and telling them that I couldn't finish it would've been devastating. I've always been known as the smart girl, so admitting defeat would be extremely embarrassing. Basically I had no choice but to "fake it until you make it." 

Eventually this happened for me. Three people answered a professor's question wrong and then when I answered correctly my professor actually let out a sigh of relief and said, "Yes! That's exactly what I was looking for." I got a paper back from my LRW professor with a note about how normally legal analysis is a student's weakest area in legal writing, but it was my strong suit. Not everyone can be perfect at everything, and you have to remember to not compare yourself to other students because even the girl on the Dean's list has her weak areas.

Lastly, I ended up adopting a cat. I know sounds cheesy saying that a cat helped me de-stress. I know it sounds very single admitting that I live alone and have a cat. Oh well. My cat ended up being great because very often I'll be reading a case and he'll just plop himself down on a book. It's hard to be mad at a little fluff ball so I end up taking a little break to pet or play with him. What's nice is that cats change their minds fast so after about 5 minutes of attention, he's over me and wants a nap, and I can get back to studying. 

He also helped with my motivation because as much as I'd like to stay in bed until noon, I'll have him head nudging me to get up and get him breakfast. Then I'm forced to get dressed and take out his litter. Since I'm already awake and dressed, it's a lot easier for me to get started with my day and be a little more productive. I'm not saying that if you're having a hard time at school to get a pet, but I am saying that I personally believed that he was a little help. 


Final Thoughts

During one of my pre law fraternity meetings, we had law students come talk to us about what to expect. One girl stood out to me when she said, "Make sure that you love the law 110% so that when law school knocks you down, you still love it 100%." The leap of faith from undergrad to law school is MUCH bigger than the leap from high school to college. If you start to notice yourself in a slump, remember that a law school had enough faith in you to admit you and that you're following your dream. Also, a lawyer spoke to my WLA about doubting yourself as a young lawyer, so apparently this is kinda like a reoccurring thing. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? 

dealing with self doubt in law school | brazenandbrunette.com

April 3, 2016

Finals... Already

studying for finals in law school | brazenandbrunette.com

Today I set down to make my planner out for this week and noticed that there's only three weeks left on my syllabus. Which means it's officially freak-out time... It's stressful when you feel like you have all the time in the world to get your life together and then realize that you actually only have 6 more classes! In undergrad I rolled my eyes when I saw people stressing over finals before classes have even ended, but this is law school and every thing you do sucks up all your time. 

I'm a big fan of using as many senses as you can when studying so I'll read my notes out loud so that I'm seeing, hearing, and saying everything that I need to know. It probably helps that I live alone so I"m not bothering anyone when I do this. In undergrad, I probably would've said that this is overkill, but for law school you really need to have all of your rules down. For every test last semester, I was typing right up to the 5 minute warning. When you have so much to say, the three hours really flies by (just like it did for the LSAT) and you don't have time to sit and try to remember all of the elements of a rule.


Step 1: Outlines

Last semester I didn't really put forth too much effort studying before classes ended and I did okay. This semester, my goal is to start studying sooner so that I won't have to feel like I'm cramming right before. The greatest thing my school has ever done is that they planned out the 1L's final schedules so we all have only one test per day, with our tests only on Monday's and Thursday's which gives us ample time to switch gears between tests.

So today I cracked down on getting my outlines together. I've found a happy medium and will only make myself work on it for 30 minutes at a time, and then get a break to either do a load of laundry or watch one episode on Netflix. It might seem counter productive to not get in a "study zone" mindset and do nothing but outline all day, but I've realized that if I don't give myself rewards while I study then I start to burn out quicker. A good thing to try to do is to spend one day at the end of every month updating your outlines so that by the time finals are here, you're cleaning them up (step 3).

Related: How to Make an Outline

What's funny is that my best friend is currently taking business law in undergrad, so I'm having to teach him hot to outline — rule, elements, where the rule came from, exceptions. Once he started to do this for a test, he realized that just basically copying his notes helped him remember what he'd already learned and further burned into his brain the rules. 

Making outlines also makes you go back through your notes and see where there are gaps. Now you can either look in your book right around what you're working on, or see if your professor has uploaded any supplements that might help. In the end, my outlines usually come out to between 10 and 15 pages. If this sounds like a lot to you, remember that outlines really spread out the spacing and some lines will only have a few words on them. If this doesn't sound like enough to you, remember that this is supposed to be only what you need for your tests. If your outlines are too long then there will be too much information for you to memorize. 


studying for finals in law school | brazenandbrunette.com

Step 2: Flashcards

Another reason why I'm finishing my outlines so early is because this is really just step one. After I get my notes condensed down to an outline, I'll make flashcards on Quizlet to start studying the rules. I like this because I can make sure that I have everything memorized backwards and forwards and also can easily see what I have trouble remembering. Again, just the repetition of writing out what you need to know for the flashcards helps burn it into your brain.

If you pay for Quilzlet, they have this great feature called long-term learning where you are given 20 cards from a certain class to work on, and as you begin to master those more are added. It will also keep track of what percentage of your cards that you don't know, know okay, know, and know well. If you don't trust yourself to remember to study, there's even a feature that will remind you to go over your cards.

Step 3: Make a Case List

Some professors don't require me to cite the cases where a rule of law come from, so this isn't entirely necessary for those. However, a lot of word problems on my tests ended up being very similar to a case that we had read before. My case list is very simple. One sentence summarizing the cases and one list giving the rule. For the professors that don't require me to cite cases on a test, I don't really bother with memorizing this in it's entirety, just refresh myself on what the cases were about. 

Some of my professors would use cases in a multiple choice question where this really helped out. For example: if you knew that the correct answer for a civ pro question was that a court couldn't hear this case because of subject matter jurisdiction, you might have choices B and C say that but B says because of so and X case they can't hear it under subject matter jurisdiction and choice C says because of Y case they can't hear it under subject matter jurisdiction. Here obviously knowing the cases will really help. 


Step 4: Memorize Outline



Then I'll start to condense my outline down. Usually any definition that I have in there gets taken out because I've already memorized it through notecards. Or if my professor has given us a list of elements and underlined only a few words of each element, eventually I will know enough context of the elements to only have those few specific words left. By now, you should also understand concepts enough that you don't need any examples or hypotheticals in your outline. Once I can start taking out smaller details, my outline shrinks to a few pages. Now the only information left is the bare necessities. 

On the day before my test, I will literally memorize this outline and work on writing it over and over again. When I get my actual test, I flip over to the back of the test and write down this simplified outline exactly. If I start to get confused on a topic or get writer's block, I can just flip to this outline and know exactly where to go. I did this last semester and it really helped me having my own little cheat sheet on the back!



studying for finals in law school | brazenandbrunette.com


Also, check out my Finals Posts Round Up post for more tips to help with your finals!

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