Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The Law Of Law School: The Essential Guide For First-Year Law Students

Andrew Guthrie Ferguson (University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law) & Jonathan Yusef Newton (J.D. 2019, University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law), The Law of Law School: The Essential Guide for First-Year Law Students (NYU Press 2020):

The Law of Law School“Dear Law Student: Here’s the truth. You belong here.”

Law professor Andrew Ferguson and former student Jonathan Yusef Newton open with this statement of reassurance in The Law of Law School. As all former law students and current lawyers can attest, law school is disorienting, overwhelming, and difficult. Unlike other educational institutions, law school is not set up simply to teach a subject. Instead, the first year of law school is set up to teach a skill set and way of thinking, which you then apply to do the work of lawyering. What most first-year students don’t realize is that law school has a code, an unwritten rulebook of decisions and traditions that must be understood in order to succeed.

The Law of Law School endeavors to distill this common wisdom into one hundred easily digestible rules. From self-care tips such as “Remove the Drama,” to studying tricks like “Prepare for Class like an Appellate Argument,” topics on exams, classroom expectations, outlining, case briefing, professors, and mental health are all broken down into the rules that form the hidden law of law school. If you don’t have a network of lawyers in your family and are unsure of what to expect, Ferguson and Newton offer a forthright guide to navigating the expectations, challenges, and secrets to first-year success. Jonathan Newton was himself such a non-traditional student and now shares his story as a pathway to a meaningful and positive law school experience. This book is perfect for the soon-to-be law school student or the current 1L and speaks to the growing number of first-generation law students in America.

"A powerful, timely, and relatable guide! A must-read for the summer before entering law school!" ~Renée McDonald Hutchins, Dean and Joseph L. Rauh, Jr. Chair of Public Interest Law, University of the District of Columbia

"An invaluable resource that can help alleviate some of the feelings of alienation and unfamiliarity that accompany law school. Law schools should provide this important book to all entering first-year students. ~Cortney E. Lollar, James and Mary Lassiter Associate Professor of Law, University of Kentucky

"A thoughtful and long-overdue introduction to every aspect of life as a law student. Essential reading for every new 1L seeking frank and practical advice on how to succeed." ~Louis Virelli, Stetson University College of Law

Letter to a 1L on the First Day of Law School (Excerpt from 'The Law of Law School'):

Law school creates a challenging educational environment for all students. A “Letter to a 1L on the First Day of Law School” offers words of comfort and encouragement to combat the disorientation and self-doubt that arises during the first few weeks of law school. Written to introduce, “The Law of Law School: The Essential Guide for First-Year Law Students,” this short essay explains the difficult task of first learning about legal methods, legal language, legal pedagogy, and the legal profession through a traditional law school curriculum. The letter attempts to demystify the law school experience and offer a first-year orientation guide to shape the learning experience.

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I went from being a self-supporting college student working as a janitor of a NYC townhouse, to law school. A formidable leap. Wish the book was written back then.

Posted by: Virginia La Torre Jeker, J.D. | Jul 15, 2020 1:08:01 AM