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Posted February 21, 2012
Many law school guide books are written with a "This Is The RIGHT Way" attitude - the authors fail to acknowledge that there are many paths to success, and what worked well for them doesn't necessarily work well for others whose aptitude, interests, goals and circumstances differ. And that's what I like about the law school guides published by the Fine Print Press - it's a diverse set of books that offer multiple paths to multiple goals, rather than a rigid set of rules to landing a job in a mega law firm that are rammed down the reader's throat as if some kind of magic formula for success. The Slacker's Guide fills a true gap in the market, and offers advice to those students (and there are many of them) who just want to be normal people during law school and after law school. Normal people with normal jobs with normal stress. People who are happy to define their own goals, even if that goal isn't striving to become the a Supreme Court justice. To quote the author, "I like to get home at a reasonable hour and play with my daughter. Therefore, a job working 70-hour-weeks at a big law firm never seemed like a successful fate to me." If anything, this isn't a book about law school; it's a book about learning how to set your own definition of what constitutes success.
The book goes through the typical topics, such as determining whether law is a good career choice, where and how to apply, and what to expect during class and exams. These sections, however, rather than merely rehashing the same old material one can find in the same old traditional law school guides, approach the topics from a "you've been told that this is important by other people, but you need to think about why (and even if) this is important to you" angle. The reader is encouraged to think about a legal education and a legal career not in terms of other people's definitions of success, but in terms of achieving success on a personal level.
The book is an easy read, and contains many amusing and helpful anecdotes, stories and hints. In fact, many of the topics are covered in a narrative style, using the author's own experiences to convey the point. It also covers some subjects that other guides simply don't touch upon, notably the use of (or rather, why you probably shouldn't use) performance enhancing drugs, and life outside law school (dating, partying, and what happens when you mix law students, grapefruit and a swimming pool - you'll have to buy the book to find out about that one).
The Slacker's Guide should be read by all incoming law students, not necessarily for the sake of reading yet another law school guide, but because this is the one guide that carries a deeper message: don't lose yourself in your quest for that legal education. It's easy to let law school change who you are, and who you've worked so hard to become in your years leading up to that point in your life. It's easy to let others tell you what you should be doing in order to become a success, and it's easy to let the overwhelming stress change you into something you're not comfortable being. The Slacker's Guide will help you realize that there's no simple formula for law school success other than the one that's already locked away in the back of your mind.
Posted June 29, 2008
So, you¿re thinking about going to law school. Good for you. But, before you go any further, pick up a copy of this book and read it cover to cover. This book is a ¿must read¿ for prospective law students. It earns such a status primarily because it forces the reader to grapple with the following question, ¿WHY DO I WANT TO GO TO LAW SCHOOL?¿ The sad reality is that too many people choose to pursue a law degree for all the wrong reasons. The author of this book, Juan Doria, admits that he himself was one of these people. So that readers can learn from his mistakes, Doria dedicates the first chapter of his book to distinguishing invalid motivations for going to law school 'e.g. ¿I don¿t know what else to do.¿' from valid motivations for going to law school 'e.g. ¿I genuinely enjoy conducting legal research.¿'. Doria takes the time to dispel many of the unfounded myths and rumors that surround legal education and the process of becoming a lawyer. Once you¿re exposed to such information and you take some time to study why exactly it is that you feel compelled to invest the great amounts of time and money that a legal education requires, you¿ll be in a position to either: 'a' decide that law school is not for you and proceed to avoid Doria¿s past mistakes, and the mistakes made by thousands of eager and uninformed prospective law students year after year or 'b' decide that law school is for you, and confidently approach the fall semester, and the rest of your professional life, knowing that you¿re in store for an invigorating intellectual challenge. Doria¿s book is also a ¿must-read¿ because it is unique. Every year, bookstores are stocked with dozens of newly-published law school prep books promising their readers a systematic approach to outwitting their competition, getting straight A¿s, making law review, and earning a six-figure salary immediately upon graduating. Some 'although not very many' of those books offer honest and useful information and are good investments for the 1L to-be. Most of them, however, are garbage. The mistake most of these books make is that they propose that: 'a' There exists a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all, method for achieving success in a law school environment and 'b' The students that work the hardest get the best grades. Neither of these contentions are tenable. Fortunately, Doria¿s book is quick to point out the grave deficiencies in approaching law school with such a mentality, and refreshingly, Doria advises his readers to steer clear of any such strategy when approaching their legal education. Additionally, Doria¿s book differs from its competition in that it is actually funny and fun to read. Doria, perhaps to his detriment, approached his time in law school as a sociological experiment of sorts. Doria was the pariah amongst his peers. His role amongst the law school crowd was almost that of an ¿outsider looking-in.¿ His vision of the law school process was captured through a layman¿s lens, in spite of the fact that he was enrolled in the classes, took the exams, and earned the J.D. As a result, Doria¿s insight on the behaviors and personalities of the law school community 'e.g. stressed-out students, dictatorial professors' are hilarious. Doria¿s on-page personality is likeable and evokes a ¿larger-than-life¿ quality. Through carefully-crafted metaphors, the art of self-deprecation, and an barrage of pop-culture references he gives you a rundown on law school life¿from the application process to the bar exam, and everything in between. Particularly rewarding is Doria¿s take on law school nightlife, social functions, and the law student party scene 'or lack thereof'. This section had me laughing out loud. You may be wondering who I am and why I wrote this review. I just finished my first year of law school at a top 100 school. Recently, I was browsing through the legal section of my local bookstore when I stumbled upon this title. BeforeWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.