Resources for Final Exams & Papers

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Flickr photo by Jesse Michael Nix

By Tiffany Williams, Reference GRA

Preparing for final exams and final papers remotely add an added level of stress to an already daunting task.  Fortunately, the Law Library offers an array of online resources and tools to ensure that your new study environment does not hamper your ability to have a successful and triumphant final exam period.

Students may utilize the library’s research guides to begin strategizing the best way to tackle their final papers.   There are guides in more than 25 subject areas, ranging from Alternative Dispute Resolution to Wills, Trusts, and Estates.  In addition to a comprehensive list of both Federal and Georgia-specific primary sources, the guides also provide links to several secondary resources like treatises, statistical reports and data sites, and blogs.

Students can also take advantage of the library’s online research databases.  HeinOnline, for example, offers thousands of law review articles which not only help students to develop a greater understanding of the law surrounding their topic area but also serve as a great way to find references to primary law authority. Pro Tip: Footnote scouting is a great way to find relevant and useful sources to help guide you in your research.

The reference desk is also a great way to obtain further direction in completing research as you begin mapping out the direction of your final written assignments.  The reference desk staff is offering reference desk services during finals via online chat and email from 8:30AM – 7:00PM Monday through Thursday and 8:30AM – 5:00PM on Friday.  Whether your question involves locating an online version of a print resource or simply obtaining guidance in figuring out where to start in your research, the reference desk chat is a priceless resource to be included in everyone’s final exam/final paper toolkits.

For final exam preparation, one of the most invaluable resources is the library’s online study aids.  Check out an in-depth review of the Law Library’s online study aids in this Featured Resource blog post. The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instructions (CALI) also provides students access to over 1,000 interactive legal tutorials and lessons across 55 topic areas.  CALI lessons serve as a great way to supplement your course study by filling-in the areas in which you may not have obtained a strong understanding of the substantive material.

We wish you the best of luck on your finals!

Featured Resource: The Library’s Online Study Aids

By Gilbert Morales, Spring 2020 Reference GRA

It goes without saying that understanding the law is hard work, but you’re not alone in this endeavor. The library has many resources to chart your path to crushing those pesky law school exams. One of the most invaluable resources is the library’s online study aids. Students anxious to begin exam prep can access online the West Academic Study Aids and the Wolters Kluwer Study Aids by visiting the GSU Law Library website and clicking “Online Study Aids” in the Services tab.

Blog Study Aid

In West Academic Study Aids, students can take advantage of the newly added Exam Pro quizzes. To find this tool, simply search the Exam Pro Series then filter by “Quizzes” under “Type” in the left navigation bar. Exam Pro quizzes allow students to immediately see correct answers and problem explanations. It also breaks down law school subjects into subtopics so students can focus on specific areas.

West Academic also provides access to the entire Acing Series. Like Exam Pro, the Acing Series also dives into subtopics and provides easy to understand explanations. However, it focuses mainly on short answer essays. Students can also benefit from double-checking their outlines by using Acing’s easy to follow topic checklists. Line by line students can understand the logic and sequence of contract formation, civil procedure, and rules of evidence.

Moreover, for the podcast generation, West Academic has the Sum and Substance Audio series where every major law subject is broken down into bit size audio clips ranging from 3-20 minutes. Listening to audio clips offers flexibility that can be used most effectively during exam crunch time.

Students can also access the Wolters Kluwer Study Aids that has a range of accessibility features. One notable feature is the ability to download study aid content. Downloadable materials make it easier for students to quickly access study aids on their desktop. Wolters Kluwer also offers audio and video content. For the visual learners among us, the “In Other Words” video series provides understandable material explained by law professors and legal practitioners from nearly all major areas of law.

Additionally, Wolters Kluwer offers invaluable content like Examples and Explanations (E & E) and Emanuel Crunchtime. Much like the Acing Series, E & E provides easy to understand explanations of topics and subtopics but also includes more short answer hypotheticals. So if your exam includes short answer questions, E & E is your go-to.

Emanuel Crunchtime is another terrific study aid because it’s among the most comprehensive. To give you an idea, this study aid typically includes short answer questions, multiple-choice questions, and essay exam questions, all with answers included. Emanuel Crunchtime even has flowcharts!

It’s important to remember when reviewing study aids that explanations will differ from your professors but as one 3L advised me, “use study aids to fill in the gaps.” Meaning where a professor was ambiguous, use a study aid to clarify. With that being said, it’s best to sample study aids to see what suits your study style. Remember you’re not alone on this journey, use study aids to reach your goal and crush your exams!

Time Management Suggestions for 2Ls+

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Image from Google

By Maggie Garrett, Fall 2019 Reference GRA

We’ve hit the Mid-Year Slump!

Things we forget from first-year but are still wildly important.

  • Make a schedule;
  • Complete class readings;
  • Organize class notes by topic (for future outlining);
  • Review each class; and
  • Quiz yourself throughout the semester.

After making it out of your first year of law school alive it may be tempting to ignore, or at least avoid, the academic commitments listed above. Especially if you were lucky enough to perform well. But – don’t sleep on schoolwork. It will pile up, stress you out, and 2L coursework is no joke.

But if your goal was to keep up from day one, and you happened to fall behind, don’t worry. Just move forward. Get a friend’s notes, meet with your professor, make a time-management plan or checklist – but the most important thing is not falling further behind. Don’t let a cycle begin where you try to “catch up” but don’t have time to keep up. Personally, I like to make a weekly check-list. If I don’t get to something, I note what I missed. When finals arrive I just remind myself that I need to review those things more closely.

Remember, balance is key my friend. Remember balance? That thing they preached during first-year orientation (in a galaxy far, far away)? Yeah, it’s still very, very relevant. If you sacrifice time spent cooking, exercising, hanging with friends, or even Netflix-ing you will implode. Make room for these things, or you will regret it.

Also, hate to break it to you, but it’s time to make a finals game-plan. Or at least decide when you’d like to start and finish outlines. But keep in mind – these are just personal deadlines. No need to beat yourself up for not meeting a self-imposed deadline. Instead, just get an idea of when these things should be done to keep you somewhat on-track. This tip is meant to prevent anxiety, not create tension.

Feeling stressed because you’re “not doing enough?” Relax. We (2Ls) have three semesters to figure our futures out (sorry 3Ls). We have time. Don’t overextend yourself now or you’ll be burnt out.

And uh, guys – prioritize. We can do some things, but we can’t do all the things. Unless you happen to have a time-turner – in which case please @ me. Extracurricular activities and part-time jobs are solid resume builders but don’t sacrifice too much academic time. You’ll thank yourself later.

Summer Puzzling

By Sara Landeryou

Whether you’re new to law school, or nearing the finish line, the first few weeks are a little exciting.  The newbies, of course, are excited to be in law school and everything is freshand different.  For the rest of us, it’s just getting to see friends again and meeting

Puzzle Picturenew professors.  But now, after the first few weeks, you suddenly find yourself sliding back in to the drudgery of being in school and the stress that comes with it.  If you need a few minutes (or even longer) to decompress, why not stop by the library and put your mind on something that’s not law school related?

As you can see, the summer farm scene puzzle is completed, but there’s a new one waiting!

Finding Your Fit In a Student Org

Most everyone entering law school has heard of Moot Court, Law Review, and Student Trial Lawyers Association (Mock Trial), but there are other organizations that get far less attention.  Don’t just focus on Law Review write on events or Moot Court tryouts — get involved other ways.

The plethora of student organizations chartered at GSU COL give students the opportunity to be actively involved in issues they plan to practice in later and/or that they care about on a personal level. Membership dues range from $0 – $65, with most being in the $10 range. The student organizations host a variety of events (usually with a free lunch included), where professionals ranging from doctors, social workers, attorneys, and judges speak to our students, giving them information that may impact their future legal careers. Generally, you never have to be a paid member to attend an event, but membership will usually come with voting rights, and possibly in a priority position to get information.  Organizations also accept names to be placed on the ballot for the following year’s executive board positions.

Use the summary of the organizations below to decide where you will enjoy being active, then seek out opportunities!

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Diversity in the Workplace

 

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© Nevit Dilmen [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Diversity:  the condition of having or being composed of differing elements: variety; especially the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization.  (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diversity)

When we hear about diversity in the workplace, we automatically think of that second half of the definition.  But what about making yourself and your own experiences more diverse?

During law school you have a perfect opportunity to make yourself diverse even if you’ve had a pretty normal life until now.  How?  Sign up to do probono work, especially in areas that you may not have thought about previously.  Look for and accept internships or part time jobs in different areas of law.  By different, I mean multiple – intern in a big law firm one semester and at your local solicitor’s office the next, offer assistance to a sole practitioner for a summer, or take a part time paralegal position with a midsized firm.  Take advantage of all those summer abroad trips.

Making yourself more diverse will make law school more interesting, because you are constantly changing, will help you to meet lots of new people and widen your personal network of attorney friends, and will show future employers that you are:

  • Adaptable – this is so important.  Many people are afraid of or resistant to change.  But not you!
  • Interesting – you may get an interview just because they want to ask about all those experiences.
  • Knowledgeable – about many areas of law.
  • Worldly – if these experiences placed with you with colleagues and clients from different socioeconomic, political, religious, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Creative – you tried a bunch of different things and have more experience to pull from
  • Self Aware- you’ve learned what you like to do and where you are a great fit.

Diversity in the sense that we normally think of it is left to the school or employer where you find yourself, but no matter your race, culture, background, school, or employer, you can make yourself more diverse now.

What new experience awaits you?

 

Volunteer

Summer is close at hand and you spent the entire year with your nose in the books – now is your opportunity to relax and start thinking about networking and getting legal experience to match your academic success.

Volunteering solves the problem.  Choose an area that interest you, meet like-minded attorneys, and get practical hands-on experience.

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Here’s a list to get your started:

Business law experience – ProBono Partnerships of Atlanta

“We match nonprofit clients with experienced corporate attorneys who help get them to the next level. From contracts to corporate governance, to intellectual property and employment, our attorneys assist our clients with their business law needs.”

https://www.pbpatl.org/for-attorneys/volunteer-opportunities/

Criminal law experience – Georgia Innocence Project

“GEORGIA INNOCENCE PROJECT (GIP) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping individuals who have been convicted of crimes they did not commit. The Project works to secure post-conviction DNA testing for Georgia and Alabama inmates where DNA analysis could prove guilt or innocence and adequate DNA testing was not available at trial.”

https://www.georgiainnocenceproject.org/about/

Not sure what type of law you like – Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation

“To create safe and stable homes and families by inspiring attorneys to fight for equal justice.”

https://avlf.org/volunteer-opportunities/

Additional links – The Atlanta Bar Association has an even more in-depth list at

http://www.atlantabar.org/?page=94

 

If you are not staying in Atlanta this summer – look at the local bar association in your area for volunteer opportunities and good luck!