Reading Suggestions for Law Students — Oct 2016

Reading Suggestions for Law Students — Oct 2016

From around the web

Legal Technology: Able2Extract converter

ftr-various2pdfLegal Yankee has a great interest in legal technology, and how it can help students and practitioners.  We have just received a review copy of Able2Extract from the good people at Investintech. For Windows, Mac, and Linux, this app claims to be the most versatile PDF converter on the market, with its ability to create PDF documents, robust OCR, and export to Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Publisher, various image formats, and even CAD drawings and some open source formats! That’s an impressive list.

Our staff is looking forward to putting Able2Extract through its paces. Look for our review in one of our legal technology posts a few weeks!

In the meantime, visit Investintech for more information.

15% Discount in April for All Study Aids and Guides

I have heard from a number of law students over the last month, and I still remember the cycle of anxiety, confidence, panic, hard work that accompanied the time leading up to exams. It is part of what led me to revise, compile, improve, and publish many of my own study methods and guides.

So, in sympathy of the impending exam period, all Legal Yankee study guides and study aids are 15% off in the month of April. Click any of the links below

If you are purchasing a PDF download, use the coupon code “ZXMW4SV” when you check out.

If you are purchasing the Paperback version, use “X3Z9HCKV” at checkout.

CLRI Course Outlines
PDF only

CLRI Course Diagrams
PDF only

CLRI Crib Sheets
PDF only

Criminal Law
PDF   |   Paperback

Law of Contract
PDF   |   Paperback

Public Law
PDF   |   Paperback

Law of Tort
PDF   |   Paperback

Property Law (Land Law)
PDF   |   Paperback

Equity and Trusts
PDF   |   Paperback

Four-Pack Course Outlines (CLRI, Criminal, Contract, Public)
PDF only

Four-Pack Diagrams (CLRI, Criminal, Contract, Public)
PDF only


Lectures available for #CLRI #Criminal #property #trusts #land #eulaw

A new website entitled London Law Lectures is a website devoted to supplying law lectures on various topics, arranged by courses. At the moment, there are lectures available for CLRI, Criminal Law, EU Law, Land Law, and Law of Trusts. More subjects are promised, as well as more lectures within each category.

For example, the Criminal Law section contains the following lectures:

  • Homicide
  • Burglary
  • Non Fatal Offenses
  • Automatism and Insanity
  • Rape

Lectures range from 30 minutes to about an hour, and range in price from £3 to £16.
There is also a mailing list for updates.

Visit the website here, and the FaceBook page here.

Sitting the Exam: revision experience tips

A recent email exchange with one of Legal Yankee’s readers resulted in some discussion about the actual sitting of the exams. It reminded me of the first time I sat for exams: going in, I knew little about what the experience would be like. Of course, I had taken many exams before, including PhD comprehensive written and oral exams—but every field is different. I gave a few pointers to the first year student, and, thinking they might be useful to others, I post them here. This is the process that worked for me, honed over four years of exams. Not everyone works and learns the same way, of course.

  1. We were given 15 minutes to review the questions and make notes. I read through all 8 or 9 questions and wrote down the numbers of the ones I thought I could answer best. Sometimes this was only 4 or5, once it was all 8). I looked those over again and decided on the requisite number (usually 4).  Using the first page at the front of the blank booklet, I write out the basic facts of the problem question or issue of the essay question. During revision, I had used my major outlines to make smaller outlines, then even smaller, and then finally diagrams and flowcharts. I memorized those charts as a way to trigger all material I had studied for that basic topics and issues within a particular area of the subject. I redrew the chart in my mind next to the question. Caution: This technique as not so I could write everything I knew—this is a mistake on exams. Instead, they were writing prompts to remind me of the material, to make sure I didn’t miss any possible element, topic, or case. Comparing the facts (or issues) of the question, I would then scan the diagram for relevant sections. (These outlines, small outlines, and diagrams have been edited and worked over with other former students and published as Legal Yankee VisuaLaw Study Guides.)
  2. I then wrote, at the top of my scratch sheet, the time that I should finish each question. A common problem for students (especially first-timers) is running out of time on the last. You may do fairly well on three questions, but if your fourth answer is sparse or nonexistence, that can lower your score more than if you write below-average scores on all four. It could mean the difference between passing and failing. So, for example, if the exam started at 1300 and finished at 1615, then I had until 1315 to finish my prep. Question one should be finished by 1400, question two by 1445, and so on.
  3. If I still had a little time left in my 15 minutes, I read each chosen question more closely (If it was time to begin writing, I would follow these steps . What, specifically, was the question asking. If it was a problem question, I wrote down all the characters, chronology, and key elements (just as if I was interviewing a client who came to me with a complaint). I would then note which sections of the law impacted the facts of the case. If the question was an essay, I would write what specific issues the question was asking to be discussed, or answered. Then I would use my diagram to design an outline.
  4. Once #3 was done for each question, I was ready to write. Using the diagram, outline, and other notes, I would begin writing. Using the diagram and outline gave me a clear path and a structure to my question—avoiding any rambling or confusion in my answer. Examiners like well-structured answers.
A couple of other points are important. It is crucial to really understand the subject. The goal of these exams are to see if you can reason, use the law, and answer the question that are asked. It is not for you to tell the examiner everything you know about the subject. Memorizing pre-written answers or model answers will rarely earn you a good score. My goal was to know that material so well that I  could “teach it to my grandmother”—and then use my diagrams to remind me of all important points. After all, it is a lot of material to learn.
Along these lines, one of the most helpful things I did every year was to write sample exams. I did not enjoy this part of revision at al, but I suspect it was the most helpful thing I did. About 1-2 weeks before each exam, I chose eight questions from previous exams, textbooks, or study guides. I wrote them down, and then, as much as possible, recreated exam conditions. I set a clock, did 15m of prep, then 45m on each question. (The first day, I would often just answer two questions and take a break in between—writing, by hand, for three straight hours, required some training and working up to.) This process helped me in two ways. First, my answers showed me how ready I was and pointed out areas of weakness. Second, when I actually begin to take the exam, it was as if I had already done it many times—like an educational equivalent of muscle memory.

Law Student Newsletter for March 2015

The March edition of our monthly newsletter is now available online.
Click here to view the newsletter online.

If you would like to receive the newsletter via email each month, click here.

This month’s issue includes part II of a revising method; links to popular posts for law students, a Monthly Study note on the Rule of Law, a list of useful websites for law students, and more.

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