Bar Examinations and High-Stakes Assessments

Hard-Nosed Advice from a Cranky Law Professor: How to Succeed in Law School

Cristina C. Knolton, Southwestern Law School
Austen L. Parrish, Southwestern Law School


This is an excerpt from a new book that provides advice to students on how to do well in law school. Included in the excerpt is the book's Summary of Contents, the Introduction, and Chapter Three – Professor Expectations. Each chapter of the book begins with the musing of the cranky professor, followed by the professor's advice stated in the form of a class lecture. The book has chapters that provide advice on: (1 ) how to prepare for law school; (2) how to brief cases; (3) understanding professor expectations; (4) how to outline; (5) studying techniques; (6) how to prepare and do well on law school exams; (7) extra-curricular and co-curricular activities; (8) developing a career; and (9) preparing for the bar exam. Carolina Academic Press is publishing the book in summer 2010. Below is the book's description from the publisher's website:

If students wish to survive and excel in law school, they must approach it correctly. Students also need to understand what professors expect of them, or they will be left behind. Hard-Nosed Advice from a Cranky Law Professor: How to Succeed in Law School is a book that explains some of the correct ways to approach law school and provides insight into professor expectations.

The book is designed for new law students who would like to improve their chances of doing well in law school. Written from the perspective of a crusty, cantankerous professor, the book side-steps pleasantries to provide no-nonsense, sometimes hard-nosed advice that is intended to instruct students on what they must do to succeed. While blunt, the practical advice is provided in a light-hearted, humorous way. The book’s aim is to give concise answers to questions that most students have when they begin law school.

The book’s user-friendly style is one of its greatest assets. In tight, to-the-point chapters, the book addresses those tasks that students commonly face in law school: from reading and briefing cases, to outlining, to preparing and taking exams, to being called on in class. The book also provides advice on success outside the classroom, including advice on how to prepare for the bar exam. In many ways, through the professor’s grumblings, the book promotes professionalism and common sense.