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Law Students

: Law School Survivor

The Socratic Method- Pressure Cooker

By Tyler Larsen


After review a comment left by a visitor, I thought I would address his concern. The visitor stated that I had understated the importance of not becoming too involved in groups. I truly understand this concern and wish to elaborate why I understand.

Law School is hard. It forces you to read deeper into a text than most people ever read. A law student reads and re-reads a case because the next day he is going to encounter the "Socratic Method". What is the Socractic method? It is a method of teaching in which a professor asks questions of a student or multiple students to illustrate a principle. Professors will ask detail questions or worse they will ask questions about the footnotes on pages. I don't want to make a generalization, but I don't think the lay person reads those all too often. So a 1L has to "parse" the language of the case several times over in fear of getting the detail question in class.

I've heard from some professors that we should be spending 10-14 hours a day studying. I read a book called 1000 Days to the Bar. It advocated taking a 60 hour work week just like many 1st year associates put in at law firms. Now do I put in that amount of time, probably 40-48 hours a week and I'm sure I'll be ramping up my efforts and hours spent as the semester goes on.

Another reason for such an exhausting study schedule is because in law school there is only one test per class per semester. You study for 3 months to take 1 test to determine your grade for the semester. Law school is a pressure cooker for sure. This testing method will have 1L's across the nation sweating come November.

Don't be over-involved because of the time required to be prepared for class. The reason for the tremendous amount of time needed is THE SOCRATIC METHOD. The Socratic method sounds horrible, and the testing method sounds crazy too. But the Socratic method becomes fun as time goes on. You try to match your understanding with a brilliant professor. You try your answers, and sometimes you are wrong. Better to get it wrong in class and right on the exam at the end of the semester than to screw up the final.

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Full post as published by Law School Survivor on October 21, 2007 (boomark / email).

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