Student News

Academic Success Tip - Avoid being too Conclusory

Have your professors told you that your analysis is too conclusory? To avoid making that mistake again, try not to begin your analysis with a conclusion. Instead, the first sentence of your discussion of each issue should identify the problem in need of resolution. For example, you might begin your analysis of a torts problem by noting that “John may have battered Fred when he threw a stick over the fence that struck the plaintiff.” In contrast, avoid writing “John battered Fred when he threw the stick over the fence.” While beginning with a conclusion may be acceptable when writing a memorandum, keep in mind that these conclusions are usually based on a great deal of thoughtful reflection. When writing an examination answer, time is of the essence and you may be incorrect regarding your initial belief as to how the problem will come out. Beginning each problem with an issue statement, as opposed to a conclusion, addresses two related problems. First, it provides you with the flexibility to look at all sides of a problem before coming up with an answer. Second, it helps you to remain objective. When you start with a conclusion, the tendency is to support that conclusion even in the face of strong opposing arguments. (Adapted from Succeeding in Law School by Herbert N. Ramy.)

Salvation Army Angel Tree

The Sports and Entertainment Law Society is sponsoring a Salvation Army Angel Tree.

Please deposit your donated items under the tree in the law school's library by December 8.

Contact Brad Corbin or Cathy Barnes if you have questions.

Academic Success Tip - Importance of Knowing Skeletal Outline

As soon as an exam begins, consider writing out your skeletal outline.  A skeletal outline is merely an organized list of principles and issues, created by you, which relates to a given area of the law.  Think about your master outline you have been creating all semester, but now force yourself to reduce it down to a one- or two-page checklist of topics and subtopics – this is your skeletal outline.  Writing out this list will give a few moments to compose your thoughts before digging into the exam.  Memorize the list for a closed-book exam and write it down on scrap paper after you are told you can start the exam.  In an open-book exam, place this list at the top of your outline.  Use it as a handy guide to see if you have forgotten anything in your outline of an answer to an exam question.  (Adapted from Succeeding in Law School by Herbert N. Ramy.)


To relieve some of the stress created by exams the Student Bar Association is providing massages FREE OF CHARGE to Brandeis' students.  The massages will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, December 8.  There will be two massage therapists and one will be in the lounge from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and the other therapist will be in the lounge from 12 p.m. until 3 p.m.  The massages will be given "first come first serve" and a sign-up sheet will be placed in the lounge by 1 p.m. today.  Please sign up for a time!  


Good luck in your last week of finals! 

Academic Success Tip - One Week to Go!

Congratulations!  You have completed your first week of law school final exams.  The good news is that there is only one more week to go, and after finals you will have a much-deserved long break.  While it is important to take some time for yourself this weekend, do not abandon your studies.  You want to end strong, so be sure to devote enough hours to studying this weekend.  Do not procrastinate.  Good luck!


Kudos to the Intra-State Mock Trial Team!

Congratulations to Sandra Moon, Paul Chumbley, Justin Gooch, Jenn Murzyn, James Fisher, Marlow Riedling, Teresa Kenyon and Julie Purcell of UofL's Intra-State Mock Trial Team for a very successful competition this past weekend. One of the teams competed in the semi-finals and numerous team members were nominated for the Best Advocate Award. Congratulations and great job!

Academic Success Tip - Legal Analysis

Your analysis is the most important thing that goes into a law school exam, so make sure it is in there!  Much of what students write when answering a law school exam is not legal analysis, and has originated in places other than the student’s mind.  The issues you will be dissecting were created by your professors and are contained within the examination fact patterns.  The same is true of the facts you will be discussing in your answer; they were created by your professor.  The law you will be relying on to resolve these issues originated in the cases and statutes you read during the course of the semester.  The only part of an essay answer unique to you is your commentary on WHY certain facts lead you to believe that a legal issue should be resolved in a particular way.  This commentary is legal analysis, and is the difference between the grades of “C” and “A” on a law school exam.  (Adapted from Succeeding in Law School by Herbert N. Ramy.)

Students Needed for Clark County Self-Help Center

The Clark County (IN) Circuit Court is looking for students to assist with the Clark County Self-Help Center located at the courthouse in Jeffersonville, Indiana.  The center is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Students can sign up to work at the Center both days or just one.  There will be a training on Saturday, January 8, 2011 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.  If you have not had training for any other public service project, you will be allowed to count the three-hour training toward your public service requirement.  Any work performed at the Center would count toward your public service requirement.

Interested students should contact Jina Scinta at to sign up.  A Reservation Form will be required to sign up.

Academic Success Tip - Use the Facts

You cannot perform legal analysis without discussing the facts.  There are few absolutes in law school, but including the facts in your answer to essay questions is one of them.  Remember, most law school essay questions are written in the form of a lengthy fact pattern or story.  The facts within these stories create the issues that you must discuss.  Almost every fact in these stories must be reproduced and discussed in your examination answer.  While it is true that your professors will know the facts in the problem, professors do not know whether you understand which facts are relevant to resolving each issue.  Including the facts in your answer does not guarantee success on your law school exams, but excluding the facts guarantees that you will perform below your capabilities.

To ensure that the facts are making their way into your essay answers, place a line through each fact as you use it.  Do not cross the fact out so that it becomes illegible, however, because a single fact may be relevant to more than one issue.  After you finish your essay answer, look back at the fact pattern.  If there are facts left over, one of three things has occurred: (1) the facts are truly irrelevant and do not need to be discussed (unlikely!); (2) the facts are relevant to an issue or issues that you have already discussed; or (3) the facts are relevant to an issue that you have not addressed at all.

As for supposedly irrelevant facts, professors rarely place information into their fact patterns that does not need to be discussed.  Most “irrelevant” facts are there so that you can explain why they are irrelevant.  (Adapted from Succeeding in Law School by Herbert N. Ramy.)


Students don't forget that today, December 1, in the Washer Lounge you can get a FREE MASSAGE!  Massage therapists will be here from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.