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About This Course

You’ve probably heard the horror stories about that grueling first year of law school. That’s likely the main reason you signed up for this course! Rest assured that you’ve done the right thing. The best way to avoid the pitfalls of the first set of courses is to prepare yourself for the unique way you will need to study in law school. And this course is designed to give you the tools you need to be ready for the first year of law school and beyond.

Over the last 25 years, The Center for Legal Studies has demystified the study of law through this unique educational program that helps students to excel in, and not merely survive, their first year of law school. We’ll lead you through what to expect from the Socratic teaching method and show you how to master the casebook method of instruction used at nearly all law schools. We share with you a particularly effective method of case briefing that you can use throughout law school and your legal career. You’ll learn how to take notes effectively and turn those notes into course outlines that you’ll use to master your final exams. We help you to integrate law school into your life from day one so that you get more done in less time and have a chance to continue your friendships, hobbies, and relationships even while you excel in your classes. Finally we show you how to start making the most of your legal career, a career that begins now.

Course Objectives:

After successfully completing the lessons and assignments for this seven-week online course, here’s what you’ll be able to do:

  • Prepare for your first year in law school well in advance of your first day of classes.
  • Take responsibility for your legal education and learn to actively approach each class period and study group.
  • Create substantive law outlines that you will use for class discussion, exams, and the bar examination.
  • Excel in studying for and taking law school exams with the “IRAC” briefing method.
  • Prioritize and organize your life during law school and set yourself up for success.

Recommended Materials

Everything you need to complete Law School Prep is included in your tuition and available in your online course materials. You may elect however to purchase one or both of the following recommended resources:

WESTLAW online legal research: This service is available to Center for Legal Studies’ students for the very low price of $89. This subscription gives you access to the WESTLAW legal library for the duration of the seven-week class session, and you must be enrolled in one of the courses offered by The Center for Legal Studies to take advantage of this opportunity.

Purchasing access to this valuable legal research resource allows you to view virtually any legal research material that you can find in your law school library and much more. It also gives you access to a WESTLAW representative to help you with any questions you may have about using WESTLAW. You can familiarize yourself with law books and learn to conduct legal research before you enter your first year of law school!

Oran’s Dictionary of the Law: Every law student needs to own a portable legal dictionary. You can purchase this valuable legal resource at almost any bookstore, and The Center for Legal Studies has the paperback edition available for purchase.

For more information, call The Center for Legal Studies at 888-407-5138, or visit our Online Store to order.

Course Outline:

Lesson One: Knowing What to Expect from Law School

  • This session describes for you the unique nature of law school and gives you techniques for adjusting to your new environment.

Lesson Two: Mastering the Casebook Method of Instruction

  • Law school courses consist primarily of thoroughly dissecting and discussing important cases. This session provides you with an overview of what to expect during class.

Lesson Three: Briefing a Case

  • To prepare for class discussions, you need to understand what a particular case is all about. This session explains how you go about grasping the important elements of a case by showing you how to effectively “brief” a case.

Lesson Four: Extracting the Essence

  • Course Outlines and Note-taking Shortcuts Your law school classes present you with a ton of information. To succeed you need to know how to synthesize everything you learn. This session supplies you with the standard shortcuts law students use to shorten their note-taking time, and it tells you how to boil down an entire course into one succinct outline.

Lesson Five: Succeeding on Law School Exams

  • Your entire course grade could be based on your performance on just one final exam! This session lets you know what you need to do to boost your score.

Lesson Six: Setting Yourself Up for Success

  • Excelling in law school requires more than knowing how to brief cases and create course outlines. You also need to know how to balance your personal life with the obligations of law school. This session delves into how to achieve that balance and gives you tips for succeeding in a law career after you graduate.

Course Wrap-Up


Writing Assignments:

In addition to the Bulletin Board assignments, you’ll have the opportunity to apply what you’ve learned with two practice assignments. First, you’ll brief a sample case; this assignment is due the Monday morning of the fourth week of class. Then, you’ll complete a “mini” law school exam, which is due by the Monday morning of the sixth week of class. Both of these assignments can be accessed from within the lesson material, or by selecting ‘Assignments’ under Activities on the Left Hand Block. Your instructor will provide you with feedback about your performance.

Bulletin Board Assignments:

For every lesson you’ll post in the Bulletin Board section of the course software your responses to a set of questions that are designed to foster class discussion, review the material covered during the lesson and give you the opportunity to evaluate what you’ve learned. Your responses to these questions are due by 9:00 a.m. Friday, and are available to everyone in class.

Grading

You won’t receive a letter grade for completing this course, but your instructor will provide you with a pass or fail on every lesson assignment and on each of the two practice assignments. This way you can chart your success as you make your way through the course.

Withdrawal Policy

Students may drop the course with a full tuition refund less a non-refundable $15 administrative fee if written notice is sent to The Center for Legal Studies by email at [email protected] by the Wednesday before class begins. Students may drop the course with a 50% tuition refund if written notice is sent to The Center for Legal Studies by email at [email protected] anytime from the Thursday before the course begins until the first Thursday of class. After the first Thursday of class, no refunds will be issued.