Law School Without Fear: Strategies for Success

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How to Approach Law Study; Law: Constitutions, Legislation and Courts; Briefing a Case; Precedent and How to Use It: Holding, Dictum and Rules; Expanding on Procedure; Roles of Judge and Jury: Facts and Law; Legal Reasoning; Interpreting Language; Balancing Competing Interests and Factors; Policy Foundations; Choices Among Policies; Remedies; Legal Writing; Studying and Reviewing; Exams; It's a Mind Game: Psychological Tips for the Study of Law.
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Overview

How to Approach Law Study; Law: Constitutions, Legislation and Courts; Briefing a Case; Precedent and How to Use It: Holding, Dictum and Rules; Expanding on Procedure; Roles of Judge and Jury: Facts and Law; Legal Reasoning; Interpreting Language; Balancing Competing Interests and Factors; Policy Foundations; Choices Among Policies; Remedies; Legal Writing; Studying and Reviewing; Exams; It's a Mind Game: Psychological Tips for the Study of Law.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566624282
  • Publisher: Foundation Press, Incorporated, The
  • Publication date: 8/28/1996
  • Series: University Textbook Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 6.26 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface v
Acknowledgments vi
Introduction: How to Approach Law Study xiii
1 Law: Constitutions, Legislation, and Courts 1
Overview 1
Constitutions 1
Legislatures 2
Administrative Agencies 3
The Court System and the Common Law 4
Trial and Appellate Courts 4
State and Federal Courts 6
Jurisdiction 7
Generally 7
Federal Diversity Jurisdiction 9
Different Kinds of Law 10
Civil and Criminal Law 10
"Private Law" and "Public Law" 11
Private Institutions as Lawmakers and Uniform Laws 13
Generally 13
The Restatements 13
Uniform Laws, Including the Uniform Commercial Code 15
2 Briefing a Case 17
The Facts 17
The Procedural Context 19
The Issue 20
The Holding and the Rule 22
Applying the Rule 24
The Reasoning for the Decision 25
The Procedural Result 26
3 Precedent and How to Use It: Holding, Dictum and Rules 27
The Concept of Precedent 27
Holding and Dictum 28
Holding: Broad and Narrow Interpretations 29
Dicta 30
The Tension Between Broad and Narrow Rules 32
Stability, Room for Argument, and the Psychology of Law Study 33
4 Expanding On Procedure 35
The Complaint 35
The Motion to Dismiss 37
Motion for Summary Judgment 38
The Motion for Directed Verdict (Motion For Judgment as a Matter of Law) 40
Motion for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict (Judgment N.O.V.) (Renewed Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law) 42
Motion for New Trial 43
5 Roles of Judge and Jury; Facts and Law 45
Judges Rule on the Law 45
Juries Decide Facts 46
Distinguishing Issues of Law and Fact 46
Areas of Uncertainty 46
6 Legal Reasoning 49
Inductive Reasoning 49
Synthesizing Cases 51
Exceptions to Rules (or New Rules) 53
Applying General Rules: Deduction 54
Reasoning By Analogy 56
Distinguishing Cases 57
Alternative Arguments 59
Being Relevant 59
The Use of Hypotheticals 60
7 Interpreting Language 63
The Same Word May Mean Different Things 63
Interpreting Language 65
Stretching Words 65
Using Policies to Define Words and Phrases 67
Interpreting Statutes 68
Read the Statute 68
Plain Meaning 69
Legislative History 70
Canons of Statutory Construction 72
Expressio Unius 73
Ejusdem Generis 73
Narrow Construction of Statutes in Derogation of the Common Law 74
Broad Construction of Remedial Statutes 75
8 Balancing Competing Interests and Factors 77
Law as Influencing Behavior 77
Balancing of Interests 79
The Concept of Factor Analysis 82
9 Policy Foundations 87
Some Basic Jurisprudential Concepts 88
The Descriptive and the Normative 88
Is the Law Neutral? 89
Schools of Thought and Ideology 89
Reason and Arbitrariness 90
Clarity 90
Notice 91
Predictability and Stability 91
Treating Like Cases Alike 92
Flexibility in the Law 92
Responsiveness to Social Change 93
The General vs. the Specific 93
Different Kinds of Rationality 95
Approaches to Justice: Different Lenses 96
Corrective Justice 96
Instrumentalism 97
Distributive Justice 97
Courts and Legislatures Compared 98
Concepts of Judicial Administration 100
Requirement that there be a Dispute 100
Discouraging Frivolous and Fraudulent Litigation 101
Administrative Efficiency 102
Promoting Settlement 103
Open Courts 104
Limiting the Judge's Role: Self-Restraint and Activism 105
10 Choices Among Policies 109
The Struggle Over the Goals of the Law 109
Justice-Oriented Concepts 110
Some Basic Economic Ideas 113
Scarcity, Prices and Demand; the "Free Lunch" 113
Free Markets 114
Efficiency 115
Property Rights 117
Incentives and Disincentives 119
The Concept of Externalities 120
The Moral Hazard 121
The Coase Theorem 122
Transaction Costs 124
Fairness, Overreaching and Coercion 125
Free Riders 127
The Prisoner's Dilemma 128
The Tragedy of the Commons 129
A Note on Selfishness 130
How Argument Sharpens the Mind: Two Examples 132
11 Remedies 137
Legal and Equitable Remedies 137
Damages 137
Equitable Remedies and Related Categories 138
Injunctions 138
Specific Performance 139
Constructive Trusts 140
The Distinction Between "Substance" and "Procedure" 141
12 Legal Writing 143
Having a Purpose and Audience In Mind 144
Organize Your Thoughts 144
Logical Flow of Ideas; Transitions; The Problem of Jerky Sentences 146
Active Voice 147
Short Words, Short Sentences 150
Citation Form 153
Practice, Practice, Practice 154
Appendix Common Problems in Writing That Can Be Fixed 155
Subject-Verb Agreement 155
Referents 155
The Dangling Modifier 156
Apostophes 157
13 Studying and Reviewing 159
How To Study, Generally 159
The Study Group Question 160
Reviewing 161
The Outline 162
Illustrations of Outlines 164
The Strategy of Reviewing 167
14 Exams 169
Some Preliminary Disclaimers 169
Key Word Outlines; Open Book Exams 170
Time Limits 171
Read The Question 172
Organize Your Answer 172
Answering Specific Questions Specifically, and Providing Discussion 174
Do Not Invent Facts 175
Be Relevant 175
Get To the Point 180
Analyze and Establish Priorities 180
Again, Be Concise 185
Some Pitfalls to Avoid 185
Summing Up 186
15 It's a Mind Game: Psychological Tips for the Study of Law 189
There Is Pressure in Law School 190
Preserving Your Humanity 192
Echos of the Paper Chase: The "Socratic Method" and Feeling Put Down by the Professor 193
The Awesome Other Student 195
Resentment and Alienation 196
What Does the Professor Want? 197
It's the Question 198
The Professor Can Be Wrong 198
A Conclusion 199
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2003

    Patronizing and obvious

    I got a free copy of this for taking a pilot exam for the LSAC. I'm starting law school this fall (2003), and have a background in Engineering. I've only been looking at law school for less than a year, but I was familiar with the concepts in this book. <p> They spend quite a bit of time reviewing the basics of the legal system (e.g. differences between district and appellate courts). I expect that you'll learn most of this in short order, but I became frustrated when they moved to study tips. <p> For exams the recommendations are things like get lots of sleep, read the question thoroughly and write clearly. This forms the heart of my issue with this book. While the advice is accurate, I'd hope these are things most prospective law students are familiar with; the point of paying money for the book is to get information that you don't have. <p> On using commercial summaries, they don't say a word as to specific brands, but effectively leave it at students like them, but as a professor, you really should just study. Again, the advice is not wrong, but not worth the purchase price or the time spent reading. <p> The book spends a fair amount of time assuaging fears of the workload and pressure of law school (as an engineer, these aren't much of a problem for me). They target this book for someone who is looking for the most basic information. In looking at analyzing cases, they discuss what goes into a case, not strategies for highlighting or what can be safely skipped when.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2009

    Not stellar

    This book did not hit the mark for me, and I would note what would be helpful for an introductory book:

    1. Abbreviations that are commonly used in casebooks and hornbooks.
    2. Case indexing details included in citations.
    3. How to brief a case, and I mean with included examples of the Issue, Rule, the analysis, and the conclusion. Running the holding and rule together seemed confusing to me.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2005

    Strategies for Success a Success

    Very helpful nuts and bolts overview of the first year of law school. Particularly good outline of how to write a basic brief for class preparation. Good for use as a general reference after a first read through. Highly recommended.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2002

    DAMN GOOD BOOK

    This is an awesome book for those about to enter law school or just thinking about it. It explains the simplest things without seeming condescending. It also clarifies some extremely hard to understand stuff that you must comprehend to excel. So far it is the best book I have found to help prepare for law school. I will start law school in the fall 2002 and i have a feeling it is a book i will keep to use as a quick reference throughout my experience.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2001

    Have no Fear: The Shapos are here

    Helene and Marshall Shapo, law professors and parents, wrote this remarkable book as advice for their child who was entering law school. Actually, the book was not written FOR their son, it is rather a superb collection of the tips and rules they bestowed upon him before he became a 1L. This 200 page handbook goes a long way in preparing one for their first year as a law student. The authorship is in plain English so that entering law students can have unfettered access to the wisdom of the writers. They provide excellent direction on how to brief a case, legal reasoning, studying and reviewing and exams. What I particularly enjoyed about the book was that the authors do not presme you know anything about law. They never talk 'over your head' and most of the book is in a conversational tone. It sometimes feels like the authors are your parents and are sitting you down to give you friendly advice. A wise woman once said: 'Be careful whose advice you buy.' In this case, however, the advice is well worth the asking price.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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