“I attended the Law Preview session at NYU in late-July. As I previously indicated at the culmination of the course, I was very pleased with the “preview” and thankful that I took it. I have already strongly suggested it to three friends that are considering law school next fall. I do however have a concern that I was hoping could be answered and I felt that this was the place to turn.”
“I am presently attending [name of school deleted] and I have a slight problem. I do all the work that is assigned, everything is on time, I brief daily and review constantly. The problem is however, that I feel too lost in class. My briefs are, at least to my knowledge, thorough. Virtually everything the professor says appears in my brief. As a result, I have very few notes and I am concerned I am missing something. Furthermore, in class I feel as if everyone around me is getting something I am not. I understand the rules and issues and am able to apply them yet I find it difficult to answer the questions posed. Similarly, it feels as though my classmates have information that I do not for when they speak, I wonder where they got their information from. I am not sure if I am being paranoid or if this is simply normal however, I was wondering if you have any words of wisdom to bestow upon me from your experience that may help for, as a result, I am finding school confusing, not necessarily overwhelming but confusing. I apologize for the length of this as I am sure that your workload is daunting and far more important than helping a mere student, but again, I would really appreciate it. Thank you for your time and in advance I would like to say I appreciate your consideration in this.”
It’s good to hear from you and I’m glad you decided to write with your concerns. You sound a little stressed but you shouldn’t be — the only thing you’re missing out on is that you’re ahead of the game! Just by reading what you wrote, I know you are exactly where we wanted you to be:
1) You are going to class regularly;
2) You are going to class prepared with briefed cases;
3) You are understanding and anticipating things that your professor is covering;
4) You are gaining new insights from some of your classmates.
You have to understand, many (if not most) of your classmates are not doing what you are doing. Many of your classmates are going to class to learn — not (like you) learning before class and coming to class to learn how to apply what you already learned. The fact that you have positioned yourself to come into lectures with an understanding of the what will be covered during the class puts you way ahead of those people that come to class merely expecting to learn the material for the day.
With regards to your inability to answer some of the questions posed, don’t worry about it now since learning to apply the law takes time and practice. Since you’re not taking too many notes, make sure that you do take the time to write down every hypothetical posed by the professor and any conclusions he/she may come to. This will help you to apply the rules you have learned. It may also give you a sneak peek at some of the fact patterns that may appear on your final exam since professors love to test on hypos covered in class.
As for your concerns about some of your classmates’ knowledge, keep in mind one rule that I always applied: Always pay the most attention to the one person in the room who is being paid to speak — your professor. If your classmates are making good points in class that you didn’t think about well good for them (and you)! You can learn from them. However, there is always a group of students in every section that I referred to as “hand poppers.” People who, during the first few months of law school, seemed to have some of the most remarkable insights into the law. However, these are the same people who, as the semester rolled on (and as I learned more), didn’t sound as smart. Give yourself a chance and, more importantly, have the confidence to know that you are exactly where you should be — and probably ahead of the game.
You’re doing great! If you feel confused now, it will pass as you begin seeing how everything comes together.
Please do not hesitate to contact us!