How to Spot the “Issue” in a Legal Case: A Primer for 1L Students

Posted by Rob Barnett on 7/31/15 9:30 AM

if only issue spotting was like spotting Waldo...  [image source: Martin Handford] 

My first class at Harvard Law School was Contracts, with then-professor, now-Senator Elizabeth Warren.  Before she was famous as a leader of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, she was a famously excellent teacher -- the only professor at Harvard Law School to win the student nominated teaching award twice -- as well as a famously tough one.  We knew before the first day of class that she planned to cold-call every student, in class.  (She always did, and often called on many students more than once!)  

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Tags: law school

What Is Constitutional Law: A 1L's Guide

Posted by Rob Barnett on 7/20/15 11:00 AM


Just in case you're not, let's look at courses you can take to become one!

Marbury v. Madison.  

Brown v. Board of Education.  

Obergefell v. Hodges.  

Whether you’re already a law buff or just excited to start taking it all in, I imagine you’ve heard about these cases in a history class, or the newspapers, or both.  In fact, they might have been the very cases that first piqued your interest in law, or inspired you to go to law school.  (One that inspired me: Ricci v. DeStefano, which I could have debated for hours.  Look it up!)  In some ways, cases like these are the very foundation of the entire legal system you’ll be studying in law school.

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Tags: law school

Which Law School Movie Should You Trust? Paper Chase vs Legally Blonde

Posted by Rob Barnett on 6/29/15 11:30 AM


Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, 2001

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Tags: law school

How the LSAT Will Help You in Law School

Posted by Rob Barnett on 6/19/15 11:07 AM

LSAT aces, get ready! [Elle gets a 179 in Legally Blonde

If you’re going to law school, you’ve taken the LSAT.  (How’s that for a valid conclusion!  In fact, taking the LSAT is a necessary, but not a sufficient, condition for attending law school.)  The LSAT is meant to predict first-year grades in law school, and there’s some evidence -- if you trust the company which administers it -- that the predictions are decently valid.  (That’s a topic for another whole blog post…)  So, if you feel good about your LSAT score -- and the thought of the LSAT doesn’t give you nightmares -- the LSAC would tell you to feel prepared for that dreaded first year of law school.

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Tags: law school

6 Essential Law School Cases: A 1L’s Guide

Posted by Rob Barnett on 6/8/15 5:30 PM

 Hopefully you are not this unlucky on day one...

In the six major courses of your first year of law school, there’s bound to be a case you’ll never forget.  Each of these cases lays down a foundational principle upon which the rest of a required 1L class will build.  If you read this first, you’ll know these 6 essential cases even before you step foot in the door.

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Tags: legal studies, law school

Law School Tutor: Big Law vs. Public Interest?

Posted by Rob Barnett on 3/7/15 1:00 PM

You don’t have to join…but it can be hard not to.
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Tags: law school

Law School Tutor: 6 Tips for 1L Exam Success

Posted by Rob Barnett on 2/20/15 11:55 AM

Now Starring: You 

Anyone who’s ever considered law school has probably heard horror stories about that dreaded rite of passage: the first 1L exams.  At many schools – like my alma mater, Harvard Law School – a student’s entire grade for a first-year course rides on the final exam. Years of preparation, months of cases and cold calls, weeks or days of study – they all come down to three (or sometimes less) hours in December.  It can be pretty intimidating!

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Tags: law school