How to Succeed in Law School

Law students are expected to possess the skills necessary for success in the study of law. However, too often in the rush to get through school, students pay little attention to developing a methodology for studying, reading and writing the law — or, for simply coping with the stresses of academic life.

The following selective bibliography lists sources which may help steer students toward success in law school. Those looking for additional titles may browse call number areas KF250 and KF280-289, either through the online catalog or in the stacks on the second floor. Call numbers or location codes provided are those for titles owned by the Wolf Law Library. The William & Mary bookstore also has titles on these subjects available for sale.

Law School Generally
Law School Confidential: The Complete Law School Survival Guide: By Students, for Students

Robert H. Miller
KF283 .M55 2011
Written for law students by recent graduates. Provides "a comprehensive, blow-by-blow chronological account of what to expect" from law school. Covers everything from surviving the first semester to obtaining a great summer job. Through the experiences of former law students, you can benefit from both successes and failures.

How to Succeed in Law School

Gary A. Munneke
KF283 .M86 2008
Designed to give you a “head start” on law school, including tips on daily life as a law student, the subjects you’ll need to study and master, note-taking, study methods, research, exam-taking and dealing with stress.

Expert Learning for Law Students

Michael Hunter Schwartz
KF283 .S39 2018
Using the results of educational studies, this book examines how individuals with different personality types and learning styles can best plan, monitor and implement their work in the law. Includes suggestions for case reading and briefing, taking notes, managing time, stress and workload, and developing the legal analysis skills needed to succeed on law school exams.

Reading Like a Lawyer: Time-saving Strategies for Reading Law Like an Expert

Ruth Ann McKinney
KF283 .M398 2012
Includes tips on all aspects of legal reading, including briefing cases, reading for the main idea, and evaluating the material as you read. Great strategies for saving time while reading “like a professional.”

A Woman’s Guide to Law School

Linda Hirshman
KF283 .H57 1999
Presents information on selecting and succeeding in law schools from a woman’s perspective. Covers topics such as how to become a better student, successfully completing the first year, making “law review” and job interviews. Includes a chart of schools in which women are successful, based on criteria such as the percentage of female faculty, the percentage of female students and how many women are on law reviews.

Introduction to the Study and Practice of Law in a Nutshell

Kenney F. Hegland
KF273 .H4 2017
This book's scope extends beyond law school. The student's concentration should be on those chapters related to law schools, which contain advice on studying, briefing, legal writing and “fear and loathing in the first year class.“

An Introduction to Law, Law Study, and the Lawyer's Role

James E. Moliterno, and Fredric I. Lederer
KF272 .M65 2010
This book introduces students to the varied roles lawyers play in our society and the interrelationships between these roles. Skills law students must develop during their law school career are explained, with the expectation that skills learned in law school will aid in their practice. The goal, as expressed by the authors, is "to provide you with some early insight into what law is,” not only through the reading of appellate opinions, but by understanding the legal process.

One L: An Inside Account of Life in the First Year at Harvard Law School

Scott Turow
KF373 .T88 A33 1988
This is a biographical account of the author's first year at Harvard Law. It provides an interesting picture of the first year and its stresses. This is not the usual self-help title and may be considered more in the nature of leisure reading than the other titles listed.

Bridging the Gap Between College and Law School: Strategies for Success

Ruta K. Stropus, and Charlotte D. Taylor
KF283 .S77 2014
Takes a different approach to introducing law school, by “explaining the ‘why,’ ‘how,’ and ‘what’ of the law.” Written by two law professors, this book provides context information as well as practice problems — a helpful combination for learning how to succeed in your legal studies.

Legal Writing
Plain English for Lawyers

Richard C. Wydick
KF250 .W93 2019
This concise book is intended to help lawyers and law students learn to express themselves in a clear, simple style. It contains straightforward suggestions for improving writing style with practice exercises.

Legal Method and Writing

Charles R. Calleros
KF250 .C345 2011
Explains many aspects of legal writing, from law school exam questions and briefs to legal memos and pleadings. It also gives examples of each type of writing.

Legal Writing and Analysis

Linda H. Edwards
KF250 .E378 2011
Provides help with case briefing, legal memos, writing your own legal briefs and many other areas. Each section includes samples and tips to improve your writing style.

Exam Writing
Getting to Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams

Richard Michael Fischl, and Jeremy R. Paul
KF283 .F47 1999
Legal analysis “made easy.” Excellent practical guide, explaining techniques to enhance your classroom understanding and ability to “think like a lawyer.” Also includes tips on taking law exams — preparation, writing answers, mistakes to avoid and FAQs. The last chapter provides sample questions and answers on the four substantive courses most often taught in the first year.

Strategies and Tactics for the First Year Law Student: Maximize Your Grades

Kimm Alayne Walton, Lazar Emanuel, and Eric S. Lambert
KF283 .W35 2010
Step-by-step guide to help 1Ls survive their first year of law school. Covers memory systems, professor “personality profiles,” study traps, handling pressure, taking notes and the “nine steps to writing exceptional exam answers.”

Law School Success in a Nutshell

Ann M. Burkhart, and Robert A. Stein
KF283 .B871 2017
Contains information on class preparation, study aids, law school activities, what law school professors generally look for in class and on exams and how to answer exam questions. Includes numerous sample examination questions from different subjects with “model”answers.

Reading and Studying
Starting off Right in Law School

Carolyn J. Nygren
KF273 .N97 2011
Through a hypothetical case, this book uses one area of law to illustrate legal principles and the skills necessary to understand them. Covers the casebook method of study, creating outlines and exam preparation.

Online Resources

A click on the "Study Aids" link will lead law students to course outlines, practice questions, the Understanding Series and more.

Follow the "At Law School" tab to “Law School Life,” and you’ll find a “first year survival guide,”advice on class preparation, studying and taking exams, and resources to help in your legal research.

The Process to Law School Success - © 2003 Rogelio Lasso
A law professor from the University of Missouri-Kansas City offers online tips on study skills, class participation, outlining, writing good exams and dealing with law school stress. Includes helpful links to sites Lasso uses in his own law classes.