»Law School Success Skills Resources

+-Resources To Ease Your Transition to Law School

Law school is like no other educational experience you have had in the past. During your first year, you will be exposed to a new way of acquiring information, a new way of writing, and a new way of being tested on the information you have learned. It’s no wonder many first-year law students feel lost during the first semester. There are a number of resources that may ease your transition to law school:

  • 1L of a Ride: A Well-Traveled Professor's Roadmap to Success in the First Year of Law School by Andrew J. McClurg
  • Acing Your First Year of Law School: The Ten Steps to Success You Won’t Learn in Class by Shana Connell Noyes and Henry S. Noyes
  • An Introduction to the Law and Legal Reasoning by Steven J. Burton
  • Bridging the Gap Between College and Law School: Strategies for Success by Ruta K. Stropus and Charlotte D. Taylor
  • Expert Learning for Law Students (with workbook) by Michael Hunter Schwartz
  • Law School Confidential: A Complete Guide to the Law School Experience By Students, For Students by Robert H. Miller
  • Law School Without Fear: Strategies for Success by Helene Shapo and Marshall Shapo
  • Looking at Law School: A Student Guide from the Society of American Law Teachers by Stephen Gillers (ed.)
  • 1000 Days to the Bar--But the Practice of Law Begins Now by Dennis J. Tonsing
  • Reading Like a Lawyer by Ruth Ann McKinney
  • Starting Off Right in Law School by Carolyn J. Nygren
  • Succeeding in Law School by Herbert N. Ramy
  • The Bramble Bush: On Our Law and Its Study by Karl N. Llewellyn 
  • The Law School Trip: The Insider’s Guide to Law School by Andrew J. McClurg 
  • Your Introduction to the Law (3d Ed.) by George C. Coughlin

+-As You Prepare for Exams

The Academic Achievement Center strongly advises that you take several practice exams when preparing for midterms and finals. Exams previously administered by your professor are preferable. This will help you ascertain how your professor drafts his or her exams. The Rinker Law Library maintains a number of prior exams given by Chapman University Fowler School of Law professors. Whenever possible, select prior exams for which there is a sample answer on file. This will allow you to check your answer against the sample and evaluate your performance. If there is no sample answer on file, ask your professor if he/she will review and comment on your answer. Do not, however, wait until the reading period to ask your professor to review your answer. There will most likely be a line of students waiting outside your professor’s door, so your professor probably will not be able to invest the time necessary to review your answer at that time. When taking practice exams, note the time limitations stated in the exams and adhere to these limitations when drafting your answers.

There are a number of books and websites that students have found helpful when preparing for exams. Many of these books are available in the law library and the Chapman bookstore. Moreover, most of the books can be purchased on the Internet. These books include:

  • Examples & Explanations series published by Aspen Publishers 
  • Getting to Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams by Richard Michael Fischl and Jeremy Paul 
  • Questions and Answers series published by LexisNexis (multiple choice questions and answers) 
  • Siegel’s series published by Aspen Publishers (essay and multiple choice questions and answers) 
  • The Eight Secrets of Top Exam Performance in Law School by Charles H. Whitebread 
  • The Finz Multistate Method by Steven R. Finz (multiple choice questions and answers) 
  • Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) This website has a number of practice questions related to first year courses. Note that you may need to get a password from the reference librarian in the law library before you can access the CALI materials.

+-Legal Writing Resources

  • Aspen Handbook for Legal Writers: A Practical Reference by Deborah E. Bouchoux 
  • Grammar for Grownups by Van Dummond 
  • Legal Reasoning, Writing, and Persuasive Argument by Robin S. Wellford-Slocum 
  • Legal Writing and Other Lawyering Skills by Nancy L. Schultz and Louis J. Sirico, Jr. 
  • Plain English for Lawyers by Richard C. Wydick 
  • The Elements of Legal Style by Bryan A. Garner 
  • The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White 
  • The Five Types of Legal Argument by Wilson Huhn 
  • The Lawyer’s Guide to Writing Well by Tom Goldstein and Jethro K. Lieberman 
  • The Legal Writing Handbook: Analysis, Research, and Writing (with practice book) by Laurel Currie Oates, Anne Enquist, and Kelly Kensch 
  • The Redbook: A Manual on Legal Style by Bryan A. Garner

+-Suggested Summer Reading List for Current and Future Law Students

Before you begin law school:

  • 1L of a Ride: A Well-Traveled Professor's Roadmap to Success in the First Year of Law School by Andrew J. McClurg 
  • Acing Your First Year of Law School: The Ten Steps to Success You Won’t Learn in Class by Shana Connell Noyes and Henry S. Noyes 
  • An Introduction to the Law and Legal Reasoning by Steven J. Burton 
  • Bridging the Gap Between College and Law School: Strategies for Success by Ruta K. Stropus and Charlotte D. Taylor 
  • Expert Learning for Law Students (with workbook) by Michael Hunter Schwartz 
  • Getting to Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams by Richard Michael Fischl and Jeremy Paul 
  • Law School Confidential: A Complete Guide to the Law School Experience By Students, For Students by Robert H. Miller 
  • Law School Without Fear: Strategies for Success by Helene Shapo and Marshall Shapo 
  • Looking at Law School: A Student Guide from the Society of American Law Teachers by Stephen Gillers (ed.) 
  • 1000 Days to the Bar--But the Practice of Law Begins Now by Dennis J. Tonsing 
  • Reading Like a Lawyer by Ruth Ann McKinney 
  • Starting Off Right in Law School by Carolyn J. Nygren 
  • Succeeding in Law School by Herbert N. Ramy 
  • The Bramble Bush: On Our Law and Its Study by Karl N. Llewellyn 
  • The Law School Trip: The Insider’s Guide to Law School by Andrew J. McClurg 
  • The Legal Profession: Responsibility and Regulation (3d ed.) by G. Hazard and D. Rhode The Nature of the Judicial Process by Benjamin Cardozo Your Introduction to the Law (3d Ed.) by George C. Coughlin

+-For Fun and Personal Growth

The following books are both entertaining and informative. Any one of these books makes for good reading before law school, during the winter break or over the summer.

  • A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr A History of American Law by Laurence M. Friedman 
  • An American Primer by Daniel J. Boorstin, ed. 
  • And We Are Not Saved by D. Bell 
  • Becoming Gentlemen: Women, Law School and Institutional Change by Lani Guinier, et al. 
  • Bleak House by Charles Dickens Crisis of the House Divided by Harry V. Jaffa 
  • Death of a Contract by G. Gilmore 
  • Dream Makers, Dream Breakers: The World of Justice Thurgood Marshall by Carl T. Rowan 
  • Gideon’s Trumpet by Anthony Lewis 
  • Heracles’ Bow: Essays on the Rhetoric and Poetics of Law by J.B. White 
  • Law’s Empire by Ronald Dworkin 
  • One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School by Scott Turow 
  • Simple Justice by Richard Kluger 
  • The Buffalo Creek Disaster: How the Survivors of One of the Worst Disasters in Coal-Mining History Brought Suit Against the Coal Company—and Won by Gerald M. Stern 
  • The Lion and the Throne: The Life and Times of Sir Edward Coke by Catherine Drinker Bowen 
  • The Paper Chase by John J. Osborn, Jr. 
  • The Politics of Law by David Kairys 
  • The Story of My Life by Clarence Darrow Vindicating the Founders by Thomas G. West 
  • Women in Law by Cynthia Epstein Women Lawyers: Rewriting the Rules by Mona Harrington
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