The Single Greatest Law School Time Management Tip: Outline From Day One

The Single Greatest Law School Time Management Tip: Outline From Day One

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– Today we’re going to be talking about the single greatest time management tip I ever received about law school. Outlined from day one. So stick around and get
an edge in law school. (melodious instrumental music) It’s hard to overstate just how important your outline is in law school. It’s going to be your
primary studying device. It’s how you distill all of
your notes and your cases and your commercial outlines
into a usable format, specifically tailored just for you. But the kicker is that
the process of distilling everything takes time, and it takes way longer than you think. And time is the single, greatest
equalizer in law school. Everyone has the same amount. And the students who get A’s are the ones that focus
on what’s important and they cut out the time wasters. In other words, they focus on the stuff that actually helps on the final exam. Now a good outline is necessary but it’s not sufficient
to crush your final. The point of an outline
is to study from it, to organize things in a logical way so that you can study the crap out of the things that
are in your outline. It’s a means to an end, not an end itself. Now this might seem like an
obvious point but I mention it because more than half
of my law school friends believe that it was better to wait until the end of a semester
to start their outline, because they felt that they’ve studied by making the outline itself. They thought that the simple
act of making their outline was enough to study for their exam. But this is so wrong. Now sure the building
of your outline helps, but it’s only the first step. Imagine if you were
preparing for a chess match by reading books about
the history of chess and you waited until the
week before the match to actually memorize how
the chess pieces move. It would be much better to
have memorized that stuff way ahead of time and
practice before your match, and the same in law school. Better to have your outline done months before your final exam instead of wasting your
precious study time compiling your outline. Then as finals approached, you can practice by
applying the information that you already put in your outline. What most students don’t
understand about their outline is that more is not better. There’s an old phrase
that, “If I had more time, “I would have written a shorter letter.” The same is true for outlines. It takes time to distill
all of that information for a particular class and to get it into a short usable form. Ideally, believe it or not, I would say the best outline
is less than 20 pages. Some people try to fit
everything their professor has ever said in a class
into their outline. But this is the exact opposite
of what you should do. The longer your outline is,
the harder it is to use. And law school exams are
all about the application. Your outline is your tool bag. You want it organized, you want it clean, and you only want the tools
that are going to help you for the job at hand in your tool bag. For example, a good craftsman
could probably build a table with just three tools. Sure he might be able to make it faster or better with more tools, but it’s better to have three tools that you know like the back of your hand than to have a hundred
tools that you don’t. And it’s the same way
with law school outlines. Much better to know a
smaller outline intimately than a longer outline only superficially. But distilling all of that
information takes time. And I’m not going to lie, it’s hard work. Make no mistake, distilling
all of the information from your class, in commercial
outlines and from your peers, into a short concise summary is one of the hardest
things about law school, but it’s also invaluable. So do yourself a favor
and start from week one. The most common objection I hear is, “But I can’t start my outline
because I need context. “I need to wait until I see “how the whole class fits together “before I start distilling things down.” Well I have bad news for you. You will never have the
whole context for a class. And you’ll always have
an excuse to put it off. But you have to act and
just start doing it. Nassim Taleb, author of
The Black Swan wrote. “Understanding how to act “under conditions of
incomplete information “is the highest and most
urgent human pursuit.” Amen to that. Make your outline starting
week one and then revised it. You can always go back, and you’ll probably find that
very little of what you write during the first week of class
will be used on the final. You can always go back and revise it. You’ll understand more as
the semester progresses. But it is far easier to revise as you go than it is to start from scratch
just a week before finals. Do what the startups do. Build a beta version and
then iterate from there. Here’s what I suggest. Monday through Friday
during a regular semester, consider it your job to
listen to the professor, take good notes, read your
commercial supplements, and try and understand as much
as you can about the class. And then over the weekend, distill all of that
information into an outline. No more than one page per class per week. If you can do that, by the
time the finals come around, you’ll be done with your outline and you’ll already be
crushing your practice exams. It just takes a little work every week. It’s a marathon not a sprint. So start early, be consistent,
and you’ll crush finals with a kick ass outline
that you started writing back in the first week of the semester. Oh, and by the way, if you
want to get better grades on your next law school
final, check this out. We’ve put together a free e-book called the Ultimate Guide To
Crushing Law School Finals. Just click the link below to download. It will show you exactly how
to prepare for your next final, including how to plan, how to outline, and how to study for your
next final, just click below. Also if you like this video, please subscribe to our channel. We come out with new videos on how to crush law school all the time. So thanks from everyone
here at Legal Eagle. (upbeat instrumental music)

35 thoughts on “The Single Greatest Law School Time Management Tip: Outline From Day One

  • Holly Britton Post author

    All the videos you do are so helpful. I find a few of them a bit confusing because i am only 14 and haven't exactly learned any of the definitions of things like 'outline'. if you could do a video on explaining these things for people like me who want to be a lawyer of some kind when they grow up that would be so helpful.
    I tend to note down everything that is helpful, could you also leave the notes like bullet pointed on the side of the screen.
    I understand i am asking a lot but it would be very helpful for people like me when it comes to this kind of information, Thanks.

  • Sitezmusicpro Post author

    Holy shit, this is gold…

  • T111 Post author

    I just finished 1L year and I told my friends all throughout the year to start their outlines early. I see too many of my peers go into exams with textbooks, 100+ pages of notes and folders full of supplementary material from the internet… I went into that same exam with a 14 page outline… (I'm from USyd in Australia πŸ™‚ )

  • Jason Cho Post author

    amazing advice

  • single mom Post author

    This piece of advice is priceless!!

  • Queen J Post author

    What? This is a great live my life tool, for me.

  • Ula Masirewa Post author

    Just too good. U are a real blessing to us law students.

  • N Muse Post author

    Really helpful video…….Thank you for uploading…

  • Coco Petite Post author

    I’m a law student in studying in England but I find your videos so helpful

  • Stephen Miller Post author

    Which video was the one where you listed out commercial outlines that you thought were best?

  • Katia Florit Post author

    Going through my 2 gap years after graduation and studying for the lsat. Cant wait to go to law school 2019. Love your videos. They give me a good look at what to expect. Saw your tech essentials video. Savig up for a new laptop that can be folded into a tablet and also saving up for a printer. Also trying to read blackletter snippets on the train to work. May not understand them now much, but it will help for later.

    This tip will save me so much time in law school. Love your videos.

  • Catherine Cooper Post author

    I am on my first year law in Auckland, NZ. Your videos are so relevant and indispensable even though your legal system is civil law system and mine is common law. The gist of everything you said about law school is so useful. I really appreciate you taking time to help β€œclueless” law students like myself. πŸ™‚

  • Ingrid Yau Post author

    This is useful for any kind of learning! Just a high-school grad and is grateful to have seen this in time!

  • Collyn Kuth Post author

    At what time in the semester, or rather what week should someone start taking practice exams?

  • kannibalZZ Post author

    This is very good info. I’m now going into my 2nd yr of law school and I can say – start your outline from day one!!!

  • Quinn Marker Post author

    Is there an outline program you recommend? is google docs sufficient?

  • LuK Post author

    Hey, I'm currently a law student in Germany. In German Law exams are always the same: you get a case and you need to solve it extensively and in detail by arguing who is in the right and why someone is in the right in that specific case. Most of the time you only get one case or situation, however you want to call it, and solve it properly with an Assessment (sometimes 2 cases). So in Germany, we solve cases all the time for preparation for the exams.
    My question is, how are Exams structured in the US?
    Thanks for the video.

  • Nomcebo Nyembezi Post author

    You are life changing πŸ‘

  • Jason Best Post author

    wish i saw this earlier. only two months left till exams. great job.

  • Daniean McCulloch Post author

    Bad chess analogy

  • Leo Dequito Post author

    apologies but, what is an outline?

  • Fathin Farina Post author

    I am about to enter degree in Law this September. I get really confuse that is outline is similar to notes? Like making notes before lecture and revise it also add up more information from the lecturer on our notes after the class. Is that an outline? Or I got it wrong??

  • Fathin Farina Post author

    May I know, what is a commercial outline?

  • Madiha Xxxx Post author

    How long should your outlines be?

  • Miniatur Sonne Post author

    I study psychology and will try what you said

  • Destiny Destiny Post author

    Absolutely outstanding information!! Also, What would you say is the main difference between outlining and taking notes?

  • Vera Hannaford Post author

    I have a degree in Accounting; I have no desire to be a lawyer, but I find your videos interesting, insightful, and informative. I need to get my lawyer friends to look at your videos to see what they think.

  • MsVicky Post author

    I’m not in law school yet, but your videos are super amazing. You have me so inspired.

  • Francisco Garcia Post author

    Woe to the man who reads Nassim Nicholas Taleb πŸ‘ŒπŸ½

  • Alex Esquivel Post author

    I’m starting law school next school year and I cannot stress how true this is! I haven’t started law school yet but I apply your tips in my subjects here at uni and they all work and I am now studying smart! Thanks so much!

  • Ayah Farhan Post author

    love the analogies you provide & the great tips! made so much sense.. thanks for a very useful video! now I feel so ready to start studying πŸ‘πŸ½

  • Devon Renfro Post author

    Could I do this through my legal studies courses to help gain experience doing it?

  • Pieter Willem Botha Post author

    Pro Tip: This works with things OUTSIDE of Law School too!

  • Nur. Post author

    This is very helpful. Thank you Sir

  • Butters Post author

    Can you please do a video on what exactly an outline is and what it ought to look like. I start law school in 3 weeks!

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