Academics News

Research Assistant Position Available Immediately (Prof. Arnold)

Professor Tony Arnold is seeking a research assistant for Fall 2010 to assist with research in the fields of environmental sustainability, property, takings, land use and development, and ecosystems.  Applicants should be able to devote a substantial amount of time to the project in September, particularly on a project involving coastal land use and property rights.  Please submit a resume to Professor Arnold at tony.arnold@louisville.edu, or at the Associate Dean's office (213), or my mailbox, no later than 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 2.  A selection will be made on September 2 or 3, and work will begin no later than September 7.

Academic Success Tip - Using a Long Weekend to Your Advantage

Congratulations!  You are beginning your third week of classes.  For those of you who are new to law school, things should be getting into a routine now.  For those of you who are returning to law school, you probably feel like you never left because it is all so familiar.

You now have a long weekend that you can look forward to.  Use this time wisely to improve your future workload as a law student.  Three days can be a blessing for law students who have gotten behind in their reading or who are feeling sleep-deprived.  This week's tips will provide suggestions for getting the most out of this weekend. 

Tip 1:  If you are still getting settled in to your apartment, try to finish all of those tasks by the end of the weekend.  Finish unpacking boxes.  Finish organizing your study area.  Finish the final decorating touches.  Starting Tuesday morning, you want to make law school your priority. Even if you are settled in your home, take advantage of the long weekend to get your errands run and to get your space in order. 

Academic Success Tip - Using a Long Weekend to Your Advantage

Congratulations!  You are beginning your third week of classes.  For those of you who are new to law school, things should be getting into a routine now.  For those of you who are returning to law school, you probably feel like you never left because it is all so familiar.

You now have a long weekend that you can look forward to.  Use this time wisely to improve your future workload as a law student.  Three days can be a blessing for law students who have gotten behind in their reading or who are feeling sleep-deprived.  This week's tips will provide suggestions for getting the most out of this weekend. 

Tip 1:  If you are still getting settled in to your apartment, try to finish all of those tasks by the end of the weekend.  Finish unpacking boxes.  Finish organizing your study area.  Finish the final decorating touches.  Starting Tuesday morning, you want to make law school your priority. Even if you are settled in your home, take advantage of the long weekend to get your errands run and to get your space in order. 

Academic Success Tip - Study Groups are Not for Studying

Study groups are one of the most misunderstood aspects of law school life.  In fact, the term "study group" is something of a misnomer - "review group" may be more appropriate.  Review groups are most effective when all the group members have studied on their own and then come together to test each other's knowledge.  Before you decide whether or not to join a review group, you need to consider the advantages and disadvantages.  Review groups can be valuable in the learning process if they are well structured.  Be sure to set the purposes and goals for your group at the beginning so your group is not counterproductive. 

Academic Success Tip - It Takes Time to Acquire New Skills in Law School

Even if you learn perfectly every bit of information presented to you in your texts and classes, you still may fail to do well in law school.  Although knowledge is crucial to success, the goal of legal education is to teach you skills.  In other words, what you need to learn is how to apply the knowledge you acquire and how to effectively do so in writing.  This point is often overlooked by new law students.  Your law school exams will require you to demonstrate your skills in applying your knowledge of the law to new situations.  Acquiring new skills requires you to practice those skills over and over and requires a large expenditure of time by you (and does not necessarily come easily or quickly).  Keep your focus this semester and allow the time necessary to develop these important skills.  Adapted from Expert Learning for Law Students by Michael Hunter Schwartz.

Feedback on Spring 2011 Schedule: September 1 Deadline

September 1 is the deadline for submitting concerns, requests, or input about the Spring 2011 schedule.  A few changes will need to be made to meet student needs and interests and to resolve a couple of unavoidable problems in the current schedule.  All of these changes need to be made soon after September 1 and the schedule prepared for registration later in the fall semester.  Please submit any input by September 1 to Associate Dean Arnold at tony.arnold@louisville.edu.  Thanks!

Academic Success Tip - Don't do Your Reading Too Far in Advance

The more you remember from your reading assignment, the more you will get out of class.  If you do your reading too long before a class meets, you will remember so little of the material that you will lose the benefits of working ahead.  As a general rule, try to complete your reading one to two days before class.  This, together with a five-minute pre-class review, will maximize your classroom learning.

Academic Success Tip - Use Your Time Efficiently and Effectively

Time is a precious commodity in law school.  Law students are always looking for shortcuts; however, shortcuts are not the answer.  Instead, you want to use your time more efficiently and effectively.  Here are some suggestions:

  1. Learn the material as you read it rather than highlight it to learn later.  Ask questions while you read.  Make margin notes as you read.  Brief the case or make additional notes to emphasize the main points and big picture of the topic after you finish reading.  If you only do cursory "survival" reading, you will have to re-read for learning later which means double work.
  2. Review what you have read before class.   By reviewing, you reinforce your learning.  You will be able to follow in class better.  You will recognize what is important for note taking rather than taking down everything the professor says.  You will be able to respond to questions more easily.  Your confidence level about the material will increase.
  3. Be more efficient and effective in taking class notes.  Listen carefully in class.  Take down the main points rather than frantically writing or typing verbatim notes.  Use consistent symbols and abbreviations in your notes.  
  4. Review your class notes within 24 hours.  Fill in gaps.  Organize the notes if needed.  Note any questions that you have.  If you wait to review your notes until you are outlining, you will have less recall of the material.
  5. Regularly review material.   We forget 80% of what we learn in 2 weeks if we do not review.  Regular review of your outlines will mean less cramming at the end of the semester.  You save time ultimately by not re-learning.   You gain deeper understanding.  You have less stress at exam time.
  6. Look for the big picture at the end of each sub-topic and topic.  Do not wait until pre-exam studying to pull the course together.  Synthesize the cases that you have read on a sub-topic: how are they different and similar.  Determine the main points that you need to cull from cases for the sub-topic or topic.  Analyze how the sub-topics or topics are inter-related.  
  7. Ask the professors questions as soon as you can.  Do not store up questions like a squirrel storing nuts for winter.  The sooner you get your questions answered, the greater your comprehension of current material.  New topics often build on understanding of prior topics.  Unanswered questions merely lead to more confusion and less learning.

Academic Success Tip - Get to Know Your Professors

The faculty members at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law are top notch legal scholars and teachers, and they also provide valuable insight into how you can be successful.  Be sure to meet with each of your professors at least once during the semester.  Utilize their office hours to clarify points of the law or to follow up on a class discussion.

LAST DAY TO ADD A CLASS OR CHANGE TO AN AUDIT

Today, Friday, August 20, is the last day to add a class or change to an audit.  If you need any approvals, please contact Barbara Thompson is Student Records before 4:00 p.m. today.