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The Law Library

Part I: Your Key to Success in Law School

Published July 10, 2017

Whether you were a “regular” at your undergraduate library or you never set foot inside the building for four years, you will need to use the law library as a law student, so how can you make the most of your time there? 

Studying in the Law Library: “Welcome to your new home away from home!”

Let’s face it, you will be assigned a lot of reading in law school, much of it written in a dense or even archaic style. Consequently, you may want to read your assignments with a small group of classmates to compare notes. If you can agree on the important points of each case, and work through the questions that accompany the reading together, you will all be much better prepared for the next class.

However you choose to prepare for classes, the Charles B. Sears Law Library has you covered! We offer both group and quiet study areas throughout the library, and reserve the seventh floor for law students only. Law students also have access to study carrels for individual study and conference rooms for group work, so whether you are studying alone or with your classmates, please take advantage of our study spaces!

Putting it all together with Study Aids

Your day-to-day job for each doctrinal class is to distill the complex legal principles from the cases you read and from in-class discussions, and then fit those principles into your overall understanding of that topic. Honing these analytical skills is critical to develop your ability to “think like a lawyer,” but because you can get so focused on the minutiae of each case in preparation for class, you may lose sight of how these discrete concepts fit into the “big picture” of a subject. For that reason, study aids are an invaluable resource that explain the law in concise, easy-to-understand terms. Not only will this information reinforce what you learn in class, the clear explanations of the law and organizational structure found in study aids can help form the basis of your outline for each doctrinal class. 

The Law Library has an extensive collection of study aids from various legal publishers to help prepare you for your exams and deepen your understanding of the law. They are located immediately to your right as you enter the library, and are available for law students to borrow for seven days at a time or use anytime in-house. We also have audio study aids in the Koren A/V Center on the fifth floor of the library that you can take out for seven days at a time. These are great for making the most of your commute and for road trips during the semester. Whether you prefer print or audio study aids, I highly recommend them!

Stay tuned for Part II on the Law Library later this summer!

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Brian Detweiler graduated from Notre Dame Law School and practiced law with the Legal Aid Society of Rochester, New York before pursuing his M.L.S. at the University at Buffalo where he now works in the Law Library as the Student Services Librarian.

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