The Top Five Worst Pieces of Law School Advice

law school advice, bar exam attack outlinesThe Top Five Worst Pieces of Law School Advice

We have written a lot about what we think the best law school advice is, including several posts about how to succeed in law school. However, we hear a lot of bad law school advice too! In this post, we discuss what not to do if you want to succeed in law school.

The Top Five Worst Pieces of Law School Advice

1. Read every word of every law school case.

While there is a time and place for reading law school cases, we think that time should be limited. Of course you need to be familiar with the cases to follow along in class. You don’t want to ignore cases. However, there are ways to speed-read a law school case which you can learn before you even start law school.

Why do we think that reading cases is not the end-all, be-all? It is because cases are not tested on law school final exams. So you could read every word of every case and still get all C’s in law school. And in fact, a lot of students do just that.

Your time is much better spent outlining and taking practice exams rather than obsessing over cases.

2. Brief every case you read.

Do not make it a habit to brief every case you read. Please. You are just wasting a lot of precious time and working way too hard at something that will not translate into high grades. Briefing cases is fine to do at the beginning of the semester or on occasion.  But it is not something you want to do for every case you read. Again, you could read every single case, brief every single case, and discuss every single case in depth with a study group and still get all C’s in law school.  

 Read this post if you want to learn more about why you should not spend your time briefing cases.

3. Start outlining around week 8 or 9.

If you want to be really stressed out, confused, and scrambling around study period then this is great advice to follow. However, if you want to have a bigger picture of the law in your head, maximize your chances of getting high grades, and stay on top of your game, this is terrible advice! Why some people think there is something “magical” about outlining at week 8 or 9 (or 5 or 6 or 10 or 12 or whenever) is beyond us. It is much better to start outlining early. Like right away.

We have an in-depth guide on how to outline here, as well as a very good post on how to learn your law school outlines.

4. Make sure you join a study group.

There is nothing inherently wrong with joining a law school study group assuming you find a great one that focuses on the details of the law and applying the law to exam fact patterns. However, the problem is that most study groups are not efficient. They turn into gossiping, and obsessing over the details and nuances in cases.

A good study group can be a great asset. But it must be a truly efficient and focused group.

I graduated as the #1 student without ever joining a study group. Again, I am not saying all study groups are “bad” – just that most of them honestly are not that good. So if you are going to join one, don’t do it just for the sake of joining one. (Better yet, create your own law school study group if you want to ensure you are in a good one!)

5. You should not do anything but study your 1L year.

While you should expect to work very hard your 1L year, you can – and should -still take breaks. This not only helps your productivity and efficiently, but it will also help you maintain your sanity and avoid burnout. You can read his post on how I took one day off per week in law school – and still graduated as the number one law student in my class.

It is important to maintain balance in your life even — and especially — when you are in law school.

We hope you enjoyed our post! From now on, when you hear law school advice, keep in mind who is giving it and whether or not they succeeded in law school. A lot of people have a lot of “advice” about how to succeed in law school but a lot of the advice we hear is not necessarily good advice.

Interested in law school tutoring or assistance?

If you are interested in an in-depth course that goes over how to succeed in law school, please consider signing up for our law school preparatory course or utilizing our law school tutoring services if you need help while you are in law school.

If you are interested in tutoring for law school exams or learning more about how to answer law school exam questions, please  visit our law school tutoring page here or click here to contact us. We offer sessions both online and in-person in our office in Birmingham, Michigan. We provide outline assistance, feedback on exam questions, and also one-on-one assistance in tackling an exam question. In addition, we are very flexible about scheduling sessions — some students just meet with us once to go over an exam; some students meet with us multiple times to reviewing substantive law, outlining, and exam-taking strategies!


Ashley Heidemann graduated as the number 1 law student out of over 200 students in her class of 2011 at Wayne State University. Her company, JD Advising, offers tutoring services for law students and tutoring, courses, and seminars for the bar exam. She also offers a
Law School Preparatory Course for students interested in learning the skills necessary to achieve a high GPA in law school.