Fall Semester Workshops

Fall 2014


Study Strategies for Understanding Civil Procedure, Contracts, and Criminal Law

So many readings to do, so little time to do them!  This is the main challenge for all students new to the study of law. Mastery of legal subjects assumes familiarity and expertise with foundational knowledge of the law in each subject. This takes time. Students new to the study of law often lack the requisite familiarity or expertise needed upfront, and they definitely do not have enough time to figure things out on their own.  Learning appropriate study strategies for gaining understanding of legal concepts sooner rather than later is helpful.

This workshop will give the fall semester a jump-start for 1Ls who want to hit the ground running.  Participants will get an overview, scope, and study tips on each of the three 1L courses for the fall semester.

Learn to Read Legal Texts like an Expert (Think like a Lawyer)

It is all about legal reasoning! Legal reading is specialized reading which requires application of critical and analytical skills to “get it”. This workshop focuses on how to hone the skills you already have to master what your professors expect of you: read and think like a lawyer so you can learn to speak and write like one.

Study Groups: What are They and How to Get the Best Out of Them

One of the many strategies for mastering law school curriculum is engaging in out-of-classroom opportunities to clarify and refine legal concepts covered in class. Participating in a study group is one such opportunity. A study group allows for a handful of classmates to discuss course contents and work collaboratively to prepare for exams. This presentation will provide dos, don’ts, and tips for forming effective study groups.

Effective Learning Habits for Law Students

Academic success in law school is about adopting proven learning and study strategies early in the semester. The goal of this workshop is to equip participants with the skills and strategies needed to cope with voluminous reading assignments. We will discuss the best ways to prepare for class, take effective notes, manage time, and get organized.

Learning the Law through Self Knowledge: Learning Styles and Personality Types

Knowledge is power: knowing about your preferred learning style is the first step towards getting equipped for effective learning. It is also good to have an understanding of other learning styles because you may have to adopt a different learning style to effectively learn a particular subject. What works for understanding Civil Procedure may not work for grasping the legal concepts in Contracts. In addition, instructors tend to teach the way they learn; therefore recognition of a professor’s teaching style, if different from a student’s learning style, may help eliminate frustration with information processing and mastery of the subject. 

This workshop focuses on how law students may apply personality-based strategies to study routines, outlining, writing essay exams or sitting for multiple-choice exams.. It also provides a basic understanding of the benefits and challenges of different learning styles in general and how to use knowledge of different learning styles to one’s advantage.

Organizing Your Course Materials (“Outlining”)

The first step to ensuring success on law school exams is to get organized early, properly, and continually. This workshop is designed to give you tips for putting together bits, pieces, and piles of course materials (class notes, case law, legal principles, rules, statutes, etc.) into a manageable and organized outline to be used as study aid for final exams. We will discuss the pros and cons of self-created outlines, peer-shared outlines, as well as commercial outlines.

The Art of Spotting Legal Issues for Essay Questions

It’s all about the facts: facts suggest legal issues. Therefore to effectively spot issues, you must be able to identify which facts raise what issues. Paying meticulous attention to details in a fact pattern is key. To accurately identify the legal issue in question, one must have a thorough knowledge of the area of law. Missing a detail, or misinterpreting a fact has the potential to lead the analysis down a completely different path. This presentation seeks to provide practical guidelines for spotting legal issues embedded in law essay question fact patterns.

Legal Analysis for Answering Law Essay Questions

Mid-terms are around the corner. The goals of mid-term exams are twofold: you get the opportunity to gauge how well you understand the course content, and you get the chance to practice how to write a good answer. This workshop is designed to give you the framework for answering law school exam questions.

Law Library Research Tools

Legal research requires knowledge of a variety of specialized legal resources and is a key tool for success in writing for LRW class or term papers. These practice tools can assist you in locating hot topics in your area of interest, finding scholarly research literature on your selected topic, and much more.

Please join us for a workshop designed to teach you how to use these legal tools for your writing assignments or term papers. Learn skills and get tips for selecting and navigating legal databases that will make your legal research effective, comprehensive, and efficient.

Blue-booking for Scholarly Paper

**Please bring your blue-book with you**)

One of the most challenging aspects of writing a scholarly essay is the required comprehensive and standardized citations. This presentation will address how to cite legal materials taken from different sources. Special focus will be placed on aspects of legal citation that are most frequently tested during the write-on process.

Strategies for Writing Essay on Law Exams 

Law School final exam questions come in different formats: essay, short-answer, or multiple-choice. Each format requires that students employ different strategies to work efficiently through the exam questions. For optimal academic performance, students are encouraged to have a plan of action in place as they prepare for finals.

Dean Margaret Raymond is our guest presenter and she will discuss exam-taking strategies for essay questions on Law School exams. Learn the essential tips for writing very good essay answers. 

*Note that this workshop will be presented only once. Plan to attend.

Preparing and Studying for Law Exams

It is about two-thirds through the semester. And yes, it is time to start thinking substantively about the end of the semester. This workshop will simply focus on the important considerations for intentionally preparing to do your best on finals. The workshop will address the how, what, and when of exam prep. We will cover basic exam-writing skills and highlight pitfalls to avoid when taking law exams.

Tips for Taking Open-book Exams

Online: PowerPoint on AEP website only.

Most law school exams tend to be open-book style exams. An open book exam could be scheduled for 3, 4, 8 or 24 hours. This does not mean it is easy to perform well on an open-book exam. There are challenges and benefits. There are also professor-expectations for the contents of your answer. Strategies for taking an open book exam in the most efficient manner is the focus of this slide presentation. 

The slide presentation is available at: http://law.wisc.edu/academicenhancement/restricted/track_usage/doing_well_on_open_book_law_exam.pdf

All questions about the slide presentation should be directed to “aep@law.wisc.edu”.

Law Journal / Moot Court Outreach / Mock Trial Outreach

The ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing, is the most essential skill for litigators, transactional experts, judicial clerks, and professors alike. Whether you are interested in public interest, firms of any size, government work, or something else, being able to communicate effectively will set you apart from other people (in a good way).

UW Law offers many opportunities to hone your communication skills; the two that offer you the most hands-on experiences are participation in a law journal and/or moot court competitions. Get more details on how to participate.

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