Monday, May 7, 2018

Using Summer Jobs for Understanding

“Objection your honor . . .”  says any number of TV lawyers, and I immediately shout at the TV, “that isn’t the real rule.”  My wife rolls her eyes while I proceed to explain to the TV how the judge made an incorrect ruling.  Legal Analysis practice while watching TV.  Great fun for everyone in the room, and a good learning tool.

Reading Kirsha’s excellent series comparing litigation to teaching made me consider how students could utilize summer jobs to solidify and expand understanding of the foundational courses.  Context and examples help illustrate how rules operate and relate to each other.  Understanding rules in a vacuum is difficult, but students can see the rules in action through real life clients.  Real clients will contextualize and solidify knowledge.

Summer jobs are a great way to see the rules in action.  I listed a few tips to think about during the summer to help understand bar exam courses even more.

  1. When summarizing or analyzing discovery documents, consider whether the evidence is admissible. Try to predict which evidence rule the opposing party would use to exclude the evidence.
  1. When reading a case file, identify the cause of action. Then try to recall all the elements of the cause of action.
  1. Try to recall a rule from the year that is relevant during every task.
  1. If in a transactional setting, pick one clause of a contract and think of the rule that makes that clause necessary.
  1. Consider why a business operator chose a certain type of business or why plaintiff’s attorney chose a particular cause of action.
  1. Make a conscious effort to attach any work done during the summer to specific rules either learned last year or will be in a subject next year.

Summer jobs are a great way to improve understanding.  I heard too many classmates after my 1L summer say our professors didn’t teach them certain things during the previous year.  I knew they were wrong because I was in class with them and learned the concepts.  Many students missed the context to understand how the concepts worked in practice.  Being intentional during the summer can provide the context to solidify knowledge for the bar exam.

(Steven Foster)

Bar Exam Preparation, Study Tips - General | Permalink


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