Exam time is fast approaching! This week we highlight a guide to succeeding on these all-important tests.
Open Book: Succeeding on Exams from the First Day of Law School
By Barry Friedman and John C.P. Goldberg
Law Study Skills Collection KF283 .F75 2011
Open Book: Succeeding on Exams from the First Day of Law School recognizes that most law schools and law professors do not talk about the logic of exam taking, or how to be a successful exam-taker. The authors’ goal, therefore, is to explain how exams works and why they work that way, in order for you to do your very best.
The book is organized “backwards” – it starts with exam-taking skills and works back to the beginning of the law school experience. The first section of the book, titled “Understanding the Law School Exam” is the heart of the book. This section addresses the relationship between legal practice, legal reasoning, and law school exams. It also explains how to effectively use IRAC to organize your essays, and addresses each IRAC element (issue-spotting, rules, application, and conclusion) individually. The second section of the book, “Beyond IRAC – How to Take Exams,” discusses different types of exams and exam conditions, gives concrete tips on improving your performance on exams, and offers advice on how to avoid exam trouble. The final section, “Succeeding on Exams by Exceeding at Law School,” explains how to leverage your experience in class throughout the semester on the final exam.
**A brief “how to use this book” portion at the beginning of this book is particularly helpful for those reading it at this point in the semester.
Ask and it shall be given. A studious law student (is there any other kind of law student) asked that more materials be added to the Study Skills Collection which focus on estate and gift tax law. They have arrived and are waiting to go home with you. A few of the titles are listed below. We also added a few books on evidence, corporations, and secured transactions.
The Law School Academic Support Blog recently highlighted some counter-productive study techniques. It is worth a look:
Some Common Errors in Exam Study
The upside of economic downturn is that forces people to get creative. And job hunting is no exception. Today’s Above the Law blog entry about One 2L’s Innovative Approach to Job Hunting is a good example of “thinking outside the box” when it comes to a job search.
Need more innovative job hunting ideas? Be sure to check out:
Part 8 of the new books series focuses on a study guide for civil procedure.
Legalese to English: A Workbook for Civil Procedure
By Elura Nanos and Michele Sileo
Law Study Skills Collection KF8841 .N36 2011
Legalese to English is an excellent study guide to civil procedure, which is about as confusing as law school topics can get, and as a four-credit course takes up a lot of every 1L’s time. The book is written for law students in a humorous and direct tone. It gives advice on how to prepare for class throughout the semester (daily, weekly, and monthly study plans), and directs you through the different steps needed to be prepared for exams once the end of the semester arrives. The authors provide tips on how to manage your time and lay out what to study and why in order to organize and test your knowledge. Each sub-subject includes explanations of difficult concepts and cases (i.e. International Shoe), workbook-style questions and answers, writing exercises to prepare you for exams, and a template for managing outlines. Essay flowcharts for each topic are particularly helpful, as they provide ready-made blueprints for tackling essays.
**A section at the end of the book titled “Starting Late” gives instruction for students beginning to read the book at the end of the semester. Moral of the story – the is still time to take advantage of this great study aid before exam time!
Peruse this sample content and review the book’s contents below to see if it might be helpful for you this exam season.
1. Introduction to Civil Procedure
2. Personal Jurisdiction: When traveling doesn’t seem like so much fun
3. Forum Non Conveniens: One last effort to get rid of this case
4. Venue: Which federal court in the forum state?
5. Subject-Matter Jurisdiction: The rules of playing with the big boys
6. Supplemental Jurisdiction § 1367: Two for the price of one
7. Removal: When going to federal court is the defendant’s idea
8. State Law in the Federal Court: The dreaded Erie Doctrine
9. Collateral Estoppel and Res Judicata: Cool legal tools, and we’re not talking about the lawyers!
10. Joinder: Everyone, all together now!
11. Rule 12: The Great Dismisser: The champion of defendants
12. Summary Judgment: Federal Rule 56: Cutting to the chase
13. The Rest of the Rules of Civil Procedure
14. How to get a D on a Civil Procedure Exam
President Obama nominated Andrew Hurwitz on Wednesday to serve on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Justice Hurwitz was appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court in 2003 by Governor Janet Napolitano, and has served as the vice chief justice since 2009. He has taught regularly at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law since 1977, where he currently teaches Civil Procedure.
In a statement released Wednesday, President Obama said that “Justice Hurwitz has proven himself to be not only a first-rate legal mind but a faithful public servant. It is with full confidence in his ability, integrity, and independence that I nominate him to the bench of the United States Court of Appeals.”
Interested in reading opinions that Justice Hurwitz has authored while on the Arizona Supreme Court? Check out the following sources:
- The Arizona Supreme Court website has the Court’s opinions back to 1998 available. Use the “Opinions Custom Search” to search for Justice Hurwitz’s opinions.
- Using Westlaw, limit your search to the Arizona Cases (AZ-CS) database, which contains Arizona state court cases since 1866. In your terms and connectors search include “JU(Hurwitz)” to retrieve opinions authored by Hurwitz.
- Using LexisNexis, limit your search to the AZ State Cases (AZCTS) database, which contains Arizona state court cases since 1866. In the “Restrict by Document Segment” portion of the search page, choose “OPINIONBY” from the drop down menu, enter “Hurwitz” in the blank field, and click on “Add.” This will run a search of opinions authored by Justice Hurwitz.
This week’s installment of the new book series features the story of John Thompson, a man who served 18 years in prison for a crime that evidence originally hidden by prosecutors proved he did not commit.
Killing Time: An 18-Year Odyssey From Death Row to Freedom
By John Hollway and Ronald M. Gauthier
Law Treatises HV8701. T58 H65 2010
John Thompson was convicted and sentenced to death in 1985 for murder. He served 18 years in the Louisiana State Penitentiary, the infamous Angola prison, before he was acquitted in 2003. The turning point in Thompson’s quest for justice came in 1999, when an investigator hired by Thompson’s lawyers found a report in long-forgotten microfiche, which had been sent to New Orleans prosecutors, concerning the blood type of the perpetrator. The blood type did not match Thompson’s. After Thompson was freed, a civil jury awarded him $14 million in damages because of prosecutorial misconduct in his murder trial. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court.
John Hollway and Ronald Gauthier tell Thompson’s tale in narrative style, re-creating dialogue based on extensive research into Thompson’s case. The end result is a compelling account of a man who never stopped fighting to both prove his innocence and to hold members of the justice system accountable. Read the book to find out more about Thompson, and check out the links below to find out how the Supreme Court ruled in his case.
New York Times article by John Thompson about his quest for justice
NPR piece about the Supreme Court’s ruling in John Thompson’s case
The Supreme Court’s opinion in Connick, District Attorney v. Thompson