For about 150 years, law schools have relied on the Case Method to teach the skills and art of legal analysis to first-year law students. Yet many students struggle academically, not due to lack of intellectual ability but because they are suddenly immersed in a unique and seemingly opaque educational process without receiving any explanation of what they should be trying to learn, much less how to learn it. Why do reading assignments consist of appellate court opinions? Why do professors rely on the Socratic Method? Why do law school classes so often leave students with more questions than answers? What do instructors look for when grading answers to essay exams? Why can law students know “all the rules,” yet get poor grades?
Cracking the Case Method, 2d ed., provides concise and down-to-earth information on how to succeed in law school by answering these questions and many others. Students need to know what to study and how the opinions they read and class meetings relate to law school exams. This book provides an in-depth examination of these critical topics:
The Case Method and its relationship to Socratic-style questioning and effective legal analysis.
Semester-long strategies for learning how to “think like a lawyer” by getting the most out of reading opinions, attending classes, outlining, and preparing effectively for exams.
How to read cases with a focus on legal issues, legal principles, and judges’ rationales for adopting and applying those principles.
How to prepare case briefs and use them to prepare for class.
The major types of legal argument, with many illustrations drawn from actual cases.
Using class discussions as opportunities to practice legal analysis, based on annotated excerpts from actual first-year class discussions.
Preparing for exams by outlining course materials and practicing exam-taking skills.
An approach for analyzing exam questions and writing effective exam answers that display legal analytical skills, with illustrations drawn from actual essay exam questions and annotated answers.
This book provides indispensable information to anybody who is considering applying to law school, preparing for his or her 1L year, or who currently is in law school.