Join Now

In Brief – Learning by teaching others


Want to succeed in law school? Then stop worrying so much about maintaining a competitive edge over your fellow students.

That’s according to Professor Paul Horwitz at the University of Alabama School of Law. Horwitz has a no-laptop policy in one of his classes but offered to bend that rule if those using laptops agreed to share their notes with the rest of the class. No one took him up on it. Horwitz has also noticed an unwillingness to share information on class websites and even during class discussion.

In a post at PrawfsBlawg ominously called “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here; Or, My Advice to First-Years,” Horwitz argues that attempts to hoard information are actually counterproductive. Teaching others is a great way to learn, he writes, and carefully and clearly explaining a legal problem, in class or elsewhere, gets you “at least two-thirds of the way” toward being able to write an exam answer that will make you stand out as a top performer.

“The ‘edge’ you lose by helping others is minimal compared to the ‘edge’ you gain in mastering that same material by teaching it,” Horwitz believes.

Networking tips for a reinvented world

Has the digital age changed everything about how law students and new lawyers should seek jobs, clients, and other opportunities?

Yes and no, writes Ruth Carter, a 2011 graduate of Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Even with all the online tools that are now available, she writes, networking still comes down to basic human relationships.

At The Undeniable Ruth, Carter summarizes a book she read recently, in a post called “Reinventing Professional Services—Top 5 Tips for Lawyers.” Among the tips are:

Social media is a tool, not the goal. Some professionals and professionals-to-be set up a Facebook page, a Twitter profile, or a blog but then never use them. “Doing this is like buying a hammer and never building anything,” Carter writes. Whatever online networking tools you set up, she advises, make sure you actually use them regularly to connect with others.

Be a “visible enthusiastic expert.” Carter calls this one of the best lessons in the book she read. Is there a particular legal field or topic that interests you? Look for ways to connect online with experts on that topic. Even something as simple as sharing a link to someone’s work can show that you’re aware and informed.
Want to learn more? The book is Reinventing Professional Services: Building Your Business in the Digital Marketplace by Ari Kaplan.

What’s good about being a 3L?

There’s been some discussion recently about whether the third year of law school is really necessary. For one thing, wouldn’t it be better to stop accumulating debt and start paying down those loans sooner (assuming you can find a job, that is)?

Not so fast, writes Anupam Chander at Law School Innovation. Chander, a professor of law at of , , identifies “Some Good Things About a Third Year in ,” including:

With mandatory courses out of the way, you can now focus on the subjects that really interest you.

This is the time to strengthen your research and writing skills, such as through your school’s law review, law journal, or other publication.

You can also make time to serve as a research assistant, which can help you build a relationship with a professor who might be a good mentor.

Vol. 40 No. 3

Student Lawyer Student Lawyer magazine provides guidance on educational, career, and related issues for ABA Law Student Division members and other subscribers. It is published four times a year by the Law Student Division of the American Bar Association. Student Lawyer is available online to members of the ABA Law Student Division and to print subscribers.

Popular Stories