Issue 6, Semester 2
Law students use many strategies to help them in their studies. However, students are often unwilling to tell people outside of their close friendship groups about these strategies, presumably because of the dreaded Bell Curve™ and general MLS unfriendliness. People learn about, or develop, these strategies through their social groups, which are frequently (but not always) linked to class, race, and other socioeconomic factors. Naturally, this often excludes certain people, particularly those with less privilege. I think this is unfair! So, in an effort to level the playing field, I want to talk about a few strategies I’ve learnt about. If you have better techniques than me, share them with us in the comments.
I am not a huge fan of these strategies, but I think information is power and everyone should know about them, rather than just the children of dads who rowed together (or whatever it is rich people do: I’m not upperclass, I don’t know how they mingle. Do their MacBooks fuck each other while the humans watch???). You are all adults and can decide what is the best strategy for you: I am just the vessel.
I don’t think these strategies get you the best grades, but maybe not everyone wants an 85+++! Maybe you have other responsibilities and are just trying to not to fail law school; maybe you have a job you rely on for financial support, or beings that you care for. Or maybe you want to have an occasionally normal life and do things like going for walks, or listening to music, or cumming on the face of the person you love (sure, I’m single right now, but a grrl can dream).
Strategy 1: Principle >agent???
A handy shortcut is to not read cases and read the principles books instead, and then take detailed notes on the cases during class. Another option is to do the principles readings ahead of class, so that you can follow what’s going on, and then read the cases after class or during the mid-semester break. I have done this a few times and it saved my life.
Obviously, you could also read cases and principles textbooks. You could even read multiple principles textbooks to get ~varied interpretations~ of the law. Go wild, dweebs.
Strategy 2: Anesti, shlamesti
Ok so most of us know about Anesti’s notes that are available online (and hopefully we know not to trust them too much, right, guys??? They are frighteningly outdated and incomplete). But did you know that Anesti also provides tutoring to MLS students, ALL THE TIME?! There are students pouring out of his house every hour of the day during exam season.
This is especially popular with people who spend all semester beefing up their CV with work, volunteering, and extracurriculars instead of studying: they get together with friends and hire Anesti to mini-teach them the entire course in week 11. Sure, it sucks if you don’t have the money to get that kind of tutoring, but—well, actually, there is no ‘but’, it just sucks.
Strategy 3: Other people’s notes
Use the notes of upper year students! If you don’t know anyone, join extracurriculars: you will get people begging you to take their notes. We all spend so much time making our own that we believe (delusionally) they will help other people. (This last round of exams contained more outdated material – i.e. from past students’ notes – than ever before and did significantly worse as a result, so approach with extreme caution.)
A variant of this that I’ve seen is people having a Google Doc with friends that shared notes, and each person updated it during class. I don’t understand how this works - do you divide the readings between you?? - but some people did it once, so maybe it’s a good idea.
Moment o’ truth
Honestly, though? I wouldn’t really recommend these strategies. I have tried most of them, which my grades reflect (my lowest mark is a 62 and my highest mark is an 83 — in Property, no less). I’ve found the only reliable way of getting high grades is doing readings, going to class, and reviewing your notes. All of my friends who get mostly or all H1s do the same. (Although I have heard of someone who did no readings for a class, used their classmates’ notes for the exam, and was chosen as the STS tutor for that subject — so what do I know, really.) But, like I said above, people come into law school with different needs and different backgrounds, so maybe some of these techniques will work for some of those people: in which case, yay! Good luck out there! Sleep enough, eat a vegetable, masturbate until your fingers get pruney. I believe in you.