7 Tips for Law Students

Law school life is hard but these tips and suggestions from your upperclassmen will certainly make it easier for you.

[1] TEXTBOOKS. Don't rush in buying law books. Wait for your professor's suggestion or recommendation. If it's possible to get information from upperclassmen, do so.[2] HIGHLIGHTERS. Be careful in using text-liners (highlighters). Many law students destroy their law books by using pink or green highlighters on first reading. As all law students know, the study of a law textbook requires third reading if two readings prove insufficient. So, better use a yellow highlighter first. Then, use green and, after that, something darker like pink or orange.

[3] TABLE OF CONTENTS. Use your book's table of contents to monitor your study. Your can strike out items or lines which you have already read and mastered. This will also boost your confidence, especially when you reach the moment when you have already crossed out almost 100% of your table of contents.

[4] READING FULL-TEXT CASES. Start with the Supreme Court's ruling. Sometimes, it's hard to stop the issue and understand the controvery in a case without first reading the part where the Court discusses its ruling and rationale. At any rate, the Supreme Court usually says, "In this case," and proceeds with a review of the facts of the case. This sometimes lets you read only the Court's ruling and understand the facts of the case without reading the factual background in the first paragraphs of the text of the decision.

[5] CLASS CARDS. In many cases, you can predict the next provision of law or topic that will be the subject of the next question during class recitation. However, what's not easy to predict is "when" you will be called. For professors who do not shuffle their class cards, it's best to keep a list of the exact arrangement of students in recitation to, at least, predict what when and on what provision you will be called to recite.

[6] MEMORIZATION. Do not memorize everything. Use mnemonics and other memory tools. For example, instead of memorizing the whole definition of social justice in Calalang v. Willams, you may look for a patter in the first letter of every substantive word in the definition. Familiarize yourself with this pattern of letters and, viola!

[7] SYLLABUS. Yes, it is true that reading the full text of a piece of jurisprudence is still the best thing to do but what if you're in a rush? Read the syllabuses in the SCRA volumes.