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LawCrossing Feature

Secrets of Success at Law School Part-1 by Surajit Sen Sharma

The research available on the secrets of achieving success in law school isn’t voluminous, and most of what is there contains issues and statistics quite incomprehensible to the uninitiated: However, in searching across the sea of data, I chanced upon a little research paper by Anne M. Enquist, called “Unlocking the Secrets of Highly Successful Legal Writing Students,” 2008, that took a practical approach and found facts that match reality.

Activities that Measure Real Performance

Note-taking and reviewing notes

Possibilities of a Law Student:

Spending a significant percentage of one’s time actually writing

The mentioned research was done by pairing students

who consistently achieved different grades and studied how the students spent their time at law schools with

Spending a significant part of the writing time in revising, editing and proofreading

the following activity parameters:

Researching efficiently and having effective reading strategies

Managing time efficiently

Keeping one’s research and briefs organized,

Attending class

Researching/reading cases


Using the professor as a primary resource

Reading textbook/class handouts

Discussing the issues in the brief outside of class


Reading the packets

Note-taking/reviewing notes

Working on oral arguments

Working on class exercises

The research found that interestingly the successful law

Revising, editing, and proofreading

students shared almost identical approaches towards

Reviewing professor’s comments

their work: “‘hit the ground running,’ work steadily, and

Discussing with others outside of class

switch into an even higher gear as the deadline neared

often by outlining

with other law students The Template for Success:

so that they could ‘finish strong.’ Their approaches Activities that Lead to Real Success as a Law

were so similar, in fact, that at times they seemed like


templates for success.”

The research found that successful students spent

Surprisingly all successful students studied reported

proportionately more time and effort in the following

individually that they held in-class small group

activities among those followed:

exercises as a “waste of time … when they were not led by the professor.”


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LawCrossing Feature


Highly successful students were not only more organized and focused, but on an average they were

Surprisingly LSAT scores and undergraduate GPAs were

putting twice as much time on each project as those

not found as reliable indicators of later performance

who were marginally successful and at least twenty

in law school. Better predictors of academic success

five percent more time than moderately successful

were the students’ grades in the first-year legal writing


course and especially their overall first-year grades in law school.

This article would continue as a series and analyze all the traits of success and failure found by the research

The legal writing faculty at Seattle University School

applicable to students at law schools.

of Law was stunned to find the difference in time management between successful and unsuccessful


students. Successful students were found averaging between ten and a half to fifteen hours a week on a

Anne M. Enquist, “Unlocking the Secrets of Highly

fourteen week course that held only three credits out of

Successful Legal Writing Students,” St. John’s Law

a fourteen to sixteen credit semester.

Review 82, no. 2 (2008)


Secrets of Success at Law School Part-1  

How to succeed in law school? A high LSAT score does not guarantee success in law school. This is a list of what you should do to keep track...

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