The Socratic Method and You

As a law student you experience the Socratic Method instructional model, which is based on the asking and answering of questions in class with the goal of stimulating critical thinking.  You can thank Christopher Langdell for that, who as the Dean of Harvard Law School from 1870 to 1895 introduced this method to legal education.  Before Langdell, legal instruction was based on the lecture model, in which students memorized material from an instructional textbook and were lectured on that material in class.

Many law professors now combine the Socratic Method with the Case Method, in which they question students about appellate-level court cases to help them explore the rules that can be derived from those cases.  While this instructional model has a fair number of critics, it is a mainstay in law school.  Below are a few ideas from the Law School Academic Support Blog on turning the Socratic Method into a more positive experience:

1) Recognize what questions the professor almost always asks about each case during class.  Think about the answers to those standard questions during your class preparation.

2) Before class, consider the case from 360 degrees.  In addition to understanding the case deeply (its separate case brief parts and details), consider the case more broadly (how does it fit with the other cases read for that day and into the larger topic).

3) When called on, think about the question asked and take a deep breath before answering.  Many mistakes are made because students blurt out something they immediately realize is wrong or answer a different question than asked.

4) Remember that most people in class are not judging you when you are the student called on for Socratic Method.  About a third are relieved it was not them.  About a third are looking ahead frantically because they realize their turns are coming up.  About a third are busy taking notes and looking for the answers.

Be sure to also check out, Cracking the Case Method: Legal Analysis for Law School Success or 1L of a Ride: A Well-Traveled Professor’s Roadmap to Success in the First Year of Law School, both are available in the Study Skills Collection at the Law Library, for more ideas on how to master the Socratic Method.

Tara Mospan, Associate Director and Head of Research Services

How Do I Know Which Study Guides are Right for Me?

Are you rudderless in a sea of books, guides, and online materials? Do you need help taming an onslaught of resources? Help is here. The Law Library’s Electronic Services Librarian, Sean Harrington has prepared a succinct study skills materials chart to guide you through the semester:  Study Aids Chart

Sean says, primarily the reason we collect such a wide range of study material is because they present (usually similar) material differently – we want to accommodate for different learning styles. To determine which you like the most it is best to skim the content (either in the library or online) to see which sparks your interest.

Secondarily, some of the materials serve different functions: One title may restate class materials in a summary form (Examples & Explanations), while another may give you a boatload of practice multiple choice questions (Q&A), and another may be audio lectures for your commute (Sum & Substance).

We hope the chart helps and remember you can always Meet with a Librarian.

Study Aids Chart

1L Meet with a Librarian Contest!

1Ls: Would you like some expert help and a chance to win a signed copy of Prof. Noreuil’s book, The Zen of Law School Success? Make an appointment to Meet with a Librarian and you will be entered into a drawing to win one of 6 copies of Prof. Noreuil’s book which offers a comprehensive approach to succeeding in law school based on the principals of simplicity and balance.

Our expert librarians can provide you with 1L memo assistance. We can teach you how to conduct a preemption check, help you choose a paper topic, offer feedback on your research strategies, Bluebook guidance, and so much more!

The deadline to enter is October 31, 2020.

Help is just an appointment away. We can’t wait to meet with you.

Wolters Kluwer and West Academic Online Study Aids – Create Your Accounts Today!

The Law Library is pleased to make available to you two online study aids services.

Wolters Kluwer Online Study Aids provides unlimited online access to hundreds of titles. Some series that are available include:

  • Examples & Explanations (a law student favorite)
  • Emanuel Law Outlines
  • Glannon Guides
  • And much more!

Click here to access WK Online Study Aids

Click register to create an account. Once you create an account, your WK login will ensure off-campus access to the study aids. You will also be able to print, download, highlight, and take notes. You can download the WK Study Aids Mobile App and study anywhere. 

Wolters Kluwer Study Aids – Instructions on how to download an ebook

West Academic Study Aids offers you easy online access to hundreds of study aids, treatises, and audio lectures to help you succeed in law school. To access the collection, go to the West Academic webpage

You must use your ASU email address to create an account. West Academic will recognize you as a member of the ASU community and allow you to create an account when you use your email address as your username. Once you create an account, your West Academic login will ensure off-campus access to the study aids and will also enable you to print, download, highlight, and take notes. You can download the West Academic Library Mobile App and study anywhere.

For assistance, Ask a Librarian.

1L of a Ride Video Course and Much More from West Academic

West Academic has a video course for first year law students. The 1L of a Ride video course is by Andrew McClurg, a professor at the University of Memphis School of Law. He wrote the law school prep book, 1L of a Ride on which this course is based.

  • 1L of a Ride Video Course is a candid, comprehensive road map to both academic and emotional success in law school’s crucial first year.

You may also want to take a look at these digital books from West Academic.

Critical Reading for Success
Presents critical reading strategies in a systematic sequence so you can become an effective reader in both law school and in practice.

Get a Running Start
Covers all the major concepts taught in each of the courses most commonly offered in the first year of law school.

A Short and Happy Guide® to Being a Law Student
Learn how to be your best in and out of class, how to prepare for exams, how to cope with stress, and how to create value in everything you do.

If you don’t have a West Academic account, you can create one here: Create Your West Academic Account 

Law Library Tour and Orientation Videos: Quick YouTube Videos to Get You Up to Speed

The Law Library has a YouTube channel!  We have a series of New Student Orientation videos you can watch at your convenience to get you started on your road to success in law school. You will learn about our resources and what our expert staff can do to help you throughout your law school experience.

Here, you can watch Associate Director, Tara Mospan take you on a short tour of the third floor library space, the circulation desk, and the library’s dedicated Zoom reference room.

The reference librarians are happy to give you advice on which study aids may be right for you. You may check them out using the self-checkout machine located on the east end of the circulation desk or with the help of the friendly circulation desk staff.

We also introduce you to the resources available on the Law Library’s homepage and in its catalog, with tips on making an appointment with a librarian and the plethora of resources to help you that we have compiled in our New Student Guide. The video One Search and Library Catalog demonstrates searching for materials and accessing them, including an explanation of how to retrieve materials from other branches of ASU Library.

We also introduce the wide variety of extremely useful study aids available to you through our subscriptions to West Academic and Wolters Kluwer, including how to set up your own account so you can access all study materials away from campus. Materials on CALI can supplement your course lectures when you run into tricky topics.

For your clinical classes, we have a First Year Legal Writing Guide to help you write memos and deliver winning oral arguments. We can also help you format your citations. The video Meet with a Librarian tells you how you can set up an appointment with us to discuss all your research assignments, in which we can provide feedback on your research and tips on how to quickly find what you need.

Finally, we will discuss our social media presence, and how checking out our blog can help you succeed. We will have advice for you throughout the semester. So welcome! And best of luck!

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

Reference Librarians are Available to Assist You Virtually

The reference librarians at the Ross-Blakley Law Library are happy to help you find or navigate research resources. We are now available to help you virtually. We can meet with you via Zoom. To make a Zoom appointment, click here: Make an Appointment with a Librarian.

You can also join us on Zoom during reference hours. Librarians are available 9am-4pm Monday-Thursday and 9am-2pm on Friday. Join us on Zoom during reference hour: Reference Zoom Room on Law Interactive  You will be taken to the Law Interactive page. Look for the Zoom Reference Room under Library Resources on the right side of the screen. You will be admitted to the Zoom Reference Room from a waiting room.

You can Chat with a Librarian, which is also available during reference hours.

You can also contact us by phone (480) 965-7161 or Email us during reference hours. You can email us anytime. We will get  back to you during normal library hours.

We can’t wait to assist you!

Stay in the Know: Our Blog is Here for You Throughout the Semester

Welcome to a new semester! Especially for those just joining us, it will be a new and exciting experience. And it’s a time to connect with those who have experience with ASU Law to learn, grow, and build ties to the legal community.

The Law Library is here to help and our blog is just one of the resources that can help you. Throughout the semester, we will share information on helpful study resources, efficient and thorough legal research, exam prep, career development, and even maintaining your calm focus on the task at hand.

Early in the semester, we will help you find the right resources to keep you well prepared for class by highlighting resources in our study aids platforms. We will examine the Socratic method and help you achieve success and overcome unnecessary anxiety.

Later, when research assignments arrive on the scene, we will turn our attention to Westlaw, Lexis, and beyond with resources to help you find what you need and avoid wasting precious time on what you don’t need.

We will then touch briefly on using midterm exams to your own advantage before returning to legal research and helping you wrap up your research projects. By then, you’ll be ready to attack your final exams with authority, armed with our exam prep materials and guide on crafting exam answers. And when you submit your last Scantron, we will help you get a jump on the job hunt.

Bookmark our blog and follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep receiving timely information and advice from our expert reference librarians. And if you are a new student, be sure to take a look at our New Student Resource Guide.

We are here to answer questions about study aids, legal research databases, citation, troubleshooting problems with legal research or study skills websites, and more. Contact us via Ask a Librarian. We can help you via email, chat, in our Zoom reference room for shorter questions or Meet with a Librarian for more involved questions.

Have a great semester!

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian

The Law Library’s New Student Resource Guide

The New Student Resource Guide is a fundamental resource to help new and returning law students. Even if you’re a 2L or 3L, the guide will lead you to library tools that will help you succeed.

We have made establishing your research and study database accounts easy:  Westlaw, Lexis, Bloomberg Law, and CALI Access. Here, you will find a link to a streamlined page enabling you to set up these essential accounts in just a few steps, including registration codes and contact information should you need help troubleshooting a problem.

Our Tour and Orientation Videos were created to provide you with a personal and practical introduction to the resources and services the Law Library provides.

Please subscribe to the Ross-Blakley YouTube channel so you don’t miss any of our helpful and practical instructional videos.

Our New Student Guide also features the many different ways you can reach out to us for Research Help.  You can make an appointment to Meet with a Librarian. We meet with you one-on-one at time which is convenient for you. We can connect with you via Zoom, email, chat, or phone.  We prepare for the meeting ahead of time and are ready to assist you because we know how valuable your time is. We are here to help you make the most of your time. We can help you navigate research resources and identify relevant information quickly. You can also Chat with us, send a quick email if you just have a simple question, or call us 480-965-7161.

The Study Materials section of the New Student Guide features the Wolters Kluwer and West Academic study aids platforms which provide easy online access to hundreds of study aids, treatises, and audio lectures to help you succeed in law school. We also have a print collection of study skills books located on the 3rd floor of the Law Library right across from the Circulation Desk.

Our Class and Exam Prep section has the latest resources on how to efficiently read and summarize cases for class, help you learn how to outline and prepare for exams, and includes exam practice questions you can use to prepare for the real thing. For your clinical classes, our First Year Legal Writing section guides you to resources to make your memos, briefs, and oral arguments stand out from the crowd.

Finally, Stay in the Know throughout the semester by following us on Facebook and Twitter, and bookmark our Blog. We will have posts throughout the semester to help you find what you need to meet each challenge along the way.

Please reach out to us when you need help. The Law Library is here to help you succeed.

Your Professional Obligation Not to Overlook the MPRE

While the MPRE, or Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, is the smaller and less grueling of the two exams required for admission to the bar in Arizona and most other states, failure to respect its significance can cost you valuable time.

The MPRE is administered only three times per year, in spring, summer, and fall, so students who miss the minimum 85 score required to pass in Arizona could face a long wait to retake it. And the spring and fall exams can become a burden in the middle of a law school semester. To help you avoid this potential speedbump, the Ross-Blakley Law Library has updated its Bar Exam and MPRE Resources Library Guide to highlight MPRE study resources and exam preparation courses.  

In addition to valuable resources in the print Study Skills collection on the third floor in front of the circulation desk, the library subscribes to online study resources to help you master legal ethics. Wolters Kluwer offers Strategies and Tactics for the MPRE, which provides tips and dozens of practice questions to help you prepare for the two-hour MPRE, which includes sixty multiple choice questions. West Academic, for its part, offers an efficient resource for last minute MPRE preppers, The Weekend MPRE, which includes two full length practice exams.

For students seeking more depth in their knowledge pool of professional responsibility, CALI offers a series of lessons highlighting specific issues arising under the law governing lawyers. Wolters Kluwer, in addition, provides detailed guidance in solving legal ethical problems in Examples & Explanations: Professional Responsibility.

For perhaps a preview of the bar exam preparation course to follow, a number of exam preparation companies offer free MPRE preparation courses (see box at top right). Finally, we have compiled Web resources including the full texts of the rules and commentary governing attorney and judicial conduct, as well as resources offering valuable advice on study and exam taking skills.

For additional help choosing materials to prepare for the MPRE, the bar exam, or law school exams or research projects in general, please Meet with a Librarian.

Andrea Gass, Reference Librarian