Ode to Study Aids

How do I study, let me count the ways?

I review my notes, summarize, restate

My future self I picture, earning As

How long to study, I can’t estimate!

Why are civil procedure, contracts, torts

So hard to wrap my tired brain around?

I ‘m desperate, overwhelm’d, out of sorts

I’m dragging, I’m flagging, in highlights drowned.

Stumped by lecture, black letter, check my text,

Questions, no answers! Help I cannot find?

Colleagues struggle too—we are all vexed

How to embed these concepts in my mind?

Law Library’s got my back, study aids

Connect, clarify, lifting up my grades

Seriously folks, we in the Law Library realizes that study aids are a useful tool in the effort to understand material that is presented through your textbook, lectures, and other assignments in your doctrinal courses.

To that end, we have an excellent collection of study aids that you can turn to if you need assistance or clarity as you seek to understand—or check your understanding—of concepts from class. Students often ask how to choose a good study aid.

Of course, in law school, the answer is usually “It depends.” It depends on what you’re looking for—do you need just a statement of the law? Do you want something that you can quiz yourself with? Are you looking to confirm that you’re outline structure of the relationship between concepts makes sense? Different study aids have different strengths. Many are based on books, but they also may be videos or even lessons like those CALI lessons you’ve heard so much about in class!

If you want help figuring out what options exist for a class you’re in, you can check out our Study Aid Finder. It’s organized so that study aids for required courses in your 1L or 2Lyears are pulled out separately, and study aids for other bar classes are included under recommended electives.

Remember that there are a variety of formats available to assist you. Have long drives in Atlanta and prefer to listen to an audio version? You can! Want to check a study aid at 3 in the morning without leaving the comfort of your home? You can!

If you’re looking for study aids for classes that fall out of the scope of regularly recommended bar classes, you will also find some study aid recommendations on the research guides for those subjects. Check out our federal tax research guide for an example! If you have questions about how to access study aids, our Introductory Guide for First Year Students is an excellent resource.

Dear My 1L Self- Find your Formula for Success

The GSU College of Law Library is excited to post this 5th installment of “Dear My 1L Self.” In this series, Librarians, Law Library GRAs, Law Students, and other interesting folks write actual letters to their 1L selves giving them advice and telling them what to expect from law school and the practice of law. We hope that some of this advice will be transferable to our readers, and show that even the most experienced of us have made a lot of mistakes. Today, we’ve got a dispatch from (and to) 3LP (and Law Library GRA) T.C. Deveau…

Dear My 1L Self,

Work smarter, not harder.

Your 3LP self recently read a twitter feed proffering advice to 1L’s and rising 1L’s that went something along the lines of “you should be working every minute you’re not in class, sleeping, or eating.”  This is terrible advice.

Do not put in work simply for the sake of putting in work.  This is especially true if you are a non-traditional student with other obligations outside of the classroom.  Just like sleeping with a book next to your head won’t help you learn, grinding for the sake of grinding won’t help you in the long run. Law School is a marathon, and you don’t want to burn out by sprinting from the starting line.

Every student is different and there is no “catch all” approach to being successful.  Everyone has their own formula for success.  Don’t forget to take a step back and figure out what is working for you and what isn’t.  Figure out your formula. 

Take those casebooks outdoors!

If you grasp a topic easily, think about why that might be – was it simple, or was there some way you learned or approached the material that aided your understanding?  Was there a teaching style the professor or course material used that helped you out?  When you run up against a weakness, how will you address it?  Should you read an additional 20 cases on the same topic with different fact patterns, or can you apply the approaches you took to subject matter you mastered to your weak spots and get there quicker?  Is there a resource at GSU that may aid your understanding without hitting your head against the wall too many times?

Don’t reinvent the wheel.  Take advantage of the resources GSU has to offer.  Professors and GRAs always make themselves available.  Campus organizations maintain wonderful outline banks for the benefit of younger students to supplement their own notes and outlines.  The Law Library maintains an extensive study aid collection that is freely available to existing GSU students (can be found here: https://libguides.law.gsu.edu/studyaidfinder).  Alumni are plentiful in the Atlanta law community and almost always willing and available to help mentor.  Finally, your peers are always there to help out, and the GSU COL student body is widely supportive of one another.  Study groups are your friend. 

You made it to law school.  You are driven.  You are bright.  You are insightful.  Use that insight and be introspective.  Take note of your strengths.  Take note of your weaknesses and come up with a plan to tackle them.  You will finish law school and pass the bar.  You got this.

-Todd (a.k.a. “T.C.”) Deveau, Ph.D.

GSU COL 3LP 

Finals Resources and Assistance

Another tough semester almost complete! We wanted to remind you of some of the resources available to help you prepare for exams, get research assistance from the librarians, or take a break from studying! As a reminder, we will be open to the GSU Law community for normal Spring 2021 hours through the end of the exam period, May 12th. Keep an eye out on our Facebook and Twitter pages for exam and graduation-related messages and videos. 

Study Aid Finder LibGuide:

  • The Study Aid Finder guide provides easy access to a compilation of digital, physical, and multimedia study aids grouped according to the traditional GSU College of Law curriculum (with recommended electives being subjects tested on the bar exam but are not required subjects of the J.D. curriculum). The current Spring ’21 classes are displayed towards the top of each respective page.

Stress Buster LibGuide:

  • The Stress Busters guide is available via the private link sent to you in the most recent personal librarian email. We hope that it serves as an outlet during final exams. When you take the time to de-stress, you’ll recharge and be able to focus when you return to your studies. The GSU Law Library has gathered a variety of stress relief activities for you to enjoy. 

Pet Pics Display:

  • Pictures of students, faculty, staff, and their pets are displayed via the private link sent to you in the most recent personal librarian email. Please reach out to us if you need access to it. These images are also being displayed on the law library digital signage. You can still get your pet added to the display by emailing Gerard Fowke at gfowke@gsu.edu

Blog posts with helpful information from the library to help you with finals, including:

Good luck with finals! Reach out to us if you need assistance, research-based or otherwise.

Helpful Study Aids for Spring Courses

As finals approach, study aids are again in high demand. It’s easy to see why. Although study aids make a poor replacement for casebooks and other required materials, they can be a tremendously helpful tool for exam-prep purposes. They provide concise and highly organized reviews of topics covered in the typical law school course on the subject. The best ones also give students some valuable practice for their analytical skills. But with so many study aids out there, featuring differing formats and uses and often featuring very stark differences in quality, how can you know you’re choosing the best one?

Let’s try to answer this question while looking at a few of the best study aids for this semester’s 1L offerings. We’ll talk about what makes them worthy and how you might use them. This will also give us a nice opportunity to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the various study aid formats and series you’ll encounter.

Examples & Explanations for Property (online/physical)

The E&E series provides an accessible course overview while also foregrounding the important skill of legal analysis. It does this by structuring the entire discussion around the titular examples, a format that proves to be especially well-suited for explaining future estates and other similarly knotty concepts from Property Law. Indeed, this title’s analysis of these hypotheticals evokes the common law methods of legal analysis at the heart of this core doctrinal course. This helps to make the supplement truly feel like an extension of the classroom discussion.

The Glannon Guide to Civil Procedure (online/physical)

The author’s CivPro E&E (online/physical) is an absolute classic, but don’t sleep on this one either. Glannon Guides have a similar focus on analysis and application, but here it’s in the form of multiple-choice questions. After each one, Professor Glannon patiently explains the right (and wrong) answers in conversational prose that helps demystify this oft-convoluted area of law. The overall format works especially well for the more FRCP-driven aspects of Civil Procedure.

Principles of Contract Law (Concise Hornbook Series) (online/physical)

If you’re chiefly after a bird’s eye view of the course, there are many study aids designed with just that in mind. However, in my experience, NutshellsShort & Happy Guides, and the like don’t provide enough detail or nuance to be truly useful. They can help you learn basic concepts and doctrines quickly, but that’s about it.

The Concise Hornbook Series provides a nice (if less concise) alternative. Like other titles in the series, Principles of Contract Law provides an overview of the major course topics. However, it keeps many of the doctrinal subtleties intact. Believe me, those subtleties will come in quite handy when asked to apply those doctrines to a novel fact pattern on an exam.  

Sum & Substance: Criminal Law (online)

Audio study aids like the Sum & Substance series are a convenient resource for busy law students. It’s easy to multitask with these, to simply put them on in the background during a commute or while housekeeping, and efficiently absorb a tidy little overview of one of your law school courses.

Here, Professor Dressler endeavors to be your “tour guide” for Criminal Law, splitting the lectures into a series of audio tracks that are mostly quite short and easy to digest. His overall presentation is a bit dry but always very clear. This study aid is also a solid choice because it makes a great companion for Dressler’s well-regarded hornbook, Understanding Criminal Law (physical).

Summing It Up

My overall advice is to choose study aids that emphasize analysis and application, such as the E&E series and the Glannon Guides. This ensures that you’re practicing the skills that you will be tested on in your exams. Even if you end up opting for a hornbook-style overview, consider supplementing it with some CALI lessons since the included quizzes provide a nice opportunity to test your grasp on the material. There are high-quality lessons covering many of the topics taught in CivProContractsCriminal Law, and Property.

Thanks to your tech fee funds, Study Aids are more accessible than ever, with most of the major series available for use online through the Wolters Kluwer and West Academic platforms. These resources try to recreate the format and the feel of their print counterparts, making them a breeze to use.

What are your favorite study aids? What do you look for when you’re trying to choose one to prep for an exam? Let us know in the comments!

Updated library hours and access to databases

View from the 5th floor Terrace

Because of continuing construction in the library as well as the move of the College of Law servers this weekend, the Law Library will have temporarily shortened hours.

The library will be open:
Thursday, June 25, 2015 7am-6pm
Friday, June 26, 2015 8am-4pm
Saturday-Sunday, June 27-28, 2015 10am-6pm
Monday-Thursday, June 28-July 2, 2015 8am-6pm
Friday-Saturday, July 3-4, 2015 Closed
Sunday, July 5, 2015 10am-6pm

Because of the server move, all Law Library databases will be unavailable from 4pm on Friday, June 26, 2015 through Sunday, June 28, 2015.

As a reminder, only current College of Law students are allowed in the building to use study aids, reserves, or get research assistance. Students will need to show their ID and sign in at the Security Desk and proceed immediately to the Circulation Desk on the Fifth Floor. Library personnel will retrieve materials, as available, and direct students to an area of the library where they can study. Students needing research assistance can also use the red Chat Reference button in the upper left corner of the Law Library’s home page.

At this time, the computer lab, printers, copiers and scanners are not available. We will continue to update you as construction progresses and more resources become available.  In the meantime, enjoy a sneak peek (above) at the view from the 5th floor terrace. If you have any questions please contact Associate Dean Niedringhaus at krisn@gsu.edu or 404-413-9140.

 

Law in a Flash!

Flash Gordon (before and after using Law in the Flash) by flickr user JD Hancock

Flash Gordon (before and after using Law in the Flash) by flickr user JD Hancock

Flash cards– they’re not just for multiplication tables and state capitols. They’re also for law school!
Your library has quite a number of Law in a Flash sets available for check out at the circulation desk. Flash your PantherCard and pick up a set for 3 hours. Take them with you to lunch, to the gym, or on a smoke break. Study on your own or play trivia with a group. Every little bit helps as you approach exam time.

Here’s a list of the topics we have for you:

  • Administrative Law
  • Contracts
  • Civil Procedure, part 2
  • Constitutional Law, parts 1 & 2
  • Corporations
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Environmental Law
  • Evidence
  • Federal Income Tax
  • Future Interests
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Real Property
  • Sales and Leases
  • Secured Transactions
  • Torts
  • Wills and Trusts

And for after graduation, we have the Multi-state Bar Exam, but first things first. 😉