You finally received your bachelor degree, applied to different law schools, got accepted to one of the law schools, and are now trying to figure out how you are going to afford law school tuition. Believe it or not, but this should not be your main concern. You look at your classes online or through an early syllabus handout and realize there are reading assignments due on the first day!
What did you get yourself into?
The truth is that law school is different than anything you will ever do. You usually only have one test for your semester grade and there is no extra credit or homework to pad your grade.
I want you to take a deep breath and exhale. You can get through this, but you must first realize what to expect. Law school is not like undergraduate universities. Your undergrad classes probably had a professor that lectured the class. In law school YOU are the lecturer. The professor will call on you and you must discuss one of the assigned cases. Your professor will throw all types of questions at you. This is called the Socratic teaching method, which will test your case briefing skills. So, what exactly is a case brief? The best way to explain the case brief is to tell you that you must be ready to answer the following questions about the case:
“What are the facts of the case?”
“What is/are the issue(s) presented in the case?”
“What is/are the holding(s) of the court?”
“Are there any applicable precedents or statutes that pertain to this case?”
“What is the court’s rationale? What are the concurring opinions? What are the dissenting opinions?”
“What is your opinion of the court’s treatment of the issue?”
Now imagine you have to prepare for these questions for many cases for one single law school day. The idea of this prospect can seem daunting. The truth is that your law school professor assigns a handful of cases and you have no idea if you will be called on or what case you will have to discuss. The best solution is to prepare for all of the cases as though you will be called on for every single one.
If you are afraid of the professor then I ask you to get tough. Law professors have an uncanny ability to smell fear in their students. Also, please realize that everybody needs help, and you should not be ashamed to ask for help.
Do you need a sample case brief prepared for you?
Do you need to talk to somebody that has gone through what you are currently going through?