Hard-Nosed Advice from a Cranky Law Professor: How to Succeed in Law School
This book is designed for new law students who would like to improve their chances of doing well in law school. Written from the perspective of a cranky, cantankerous professor, the book side-steps pleasantries to provide no-nonsense, sometimes hard-nosed advice that is intended to instruct students on what they must do to succeed. While blunt, the practical advice is provided in a light-hearted, humorous way. The book’s aim is to give concise answers to questions that most students have when they begin law school.
The book's user-friendly style is one of its greatest assets. In tight, to-the-point chapters, the book addresses those tasks that students commonly face in law school: from reading and briefing cases, to outlining, to preparing and taking exams, to being called on in class. The book also provides advice on success outside the classroom, including preparing for the bar exam. In many ways, through the professor’s grumblings, the book promotes professionalism and common sense. At the back of the book are sample case briefs and exam answers.
“Professor Lawrence—the 'cranky, cantankerous' law professor who serves as this book's guide to law school and beyond—offers the kind of blunt advice and criticism that law students often fear but, alas, rarely receive. Whether you are new to law school or a law professor seeking the kinds of tips your students need to hear, you will find much in this book that deserves careful attention, all of it presented in a clear and entertaining fashion. Its advice will help you avoid the pitfalls of law school and get the most out of your legal education and the beginning of your professional life as a lawyer.” — Prof. Paul Horwitz, University of Alabama School of Law
“Hard-Nosed Advice from a Cranky Law Professor delivers the type of practical, helpful, no-nonsense guidance that law students navigating the first year would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. This is serious advice provided in an utterly refreshing and truly funny way.” — Prof. Lillian Aponte Miranda, Florida International University School of Law
“First-year law students often have no solid information about what they ought to be doing to succeed; instead, they rely on popular culture, hearsay and rumors from upper division students, and their own undergraduate experiences, none of which is very useful. Parrish and Knolton's book provides that guidance—bluntly, but sympathetically and humorously. Parrish and Knolton have done first-year law students a great favor by explaining what law professors expect from them, even though we usually never take the time to tell them.” — Prof. William D. Araiza, Brooklyn Law School
“Finally, a book that gets to the point of law school, grabs your attention, and is entertaining at the same time!” — Prof. Elizabeth Trujillo, Suffolk University Law School
“I'm glad I never had a professor like Professor Lawrence while I was in law school, and I really hope you never do either. But law school would have been easier if I had read his advice before going. The key to being successful in law school isn’t complicated and is certainly not top-secret. If you follow what Professor Lawrence has to say, you’ll be well on your way.” — Prof. David S. Cohen, Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law
“Professors Parrish and Knolton have written a succinct guide to law school that students will find tremendously helpful—and a lot of fun. Dispensing wisdom with a clever sense of humor, Hard-Nosed Advice from a Cranky Law Professor entertains as it teaches and demystifies the law school experience. This engaging book offers practical advice on topics ranging from briefing cases to preparing for the bar exam, making it an important resource for students at all stages of their legal education. The book's guidance on outlining, exam-taking, and law review and clinical opportunities is especially valuable. I will recommend Hard-Nosed Advice from a Cranky Law Professor to my first-year students, and law schools should consider assigning it as part of their orientation programs.” — Prof. Christopher A. Whytock, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law
“Professors Parrish and Knolton share their wisdom and experience, explaining how law school works and what is expected of students. There are profound insights in this invaluable guide; it belongs on the desk of every law school student.” — Prof. Kristen E. Boon, Seton Hall University School of Law
“When admitted students ask me how to prepare for law school, I offer three suggestions. First, to learn micro-economics because it is useful to understanding many first-year courses. Second, to adopt a sustainable exercise routine because law school is not just a test of intellect, it is an equally grueling test of stamina. And third, to watch Paper Chase, because it exposes much of the good and bad of the law school experience. But starting now, I will offer students a fourth suggestion: to read this book. With this book, Professors Parrish and Knolton have given students the key to unlock the secrets to law school success. This book may well become for JD students what the Federalist Papers are for constitutional law scholars: an indispensable roadmap to navigate labyrinthine terrain.” — Prof. Richard Albert, Boston College Law School
“As Parrish and Knolton make clear, there are no shortcuts to success in law school. Hard work is required every step of the way. But this book will help law students focus their efforts by working 'smart' along with working hard. The book's straightforward organization makes law school less overwhelming and more manageable. I would recommend to every student beginning law school.” — Prof. Noah D. Hall, Wayne State University Law School
“Professors Parrish and Knolton have managed to convey crucial advice to entering law students in a fun and straightforward way. Would-be law students should listen carefully to what their 'cranky law professor' has to say. They are unlikely to get all of this advice so succinctly explained in one convenient source once they enter law school.” — Prof. Michael Waterstone, Loyola Law School Los Angeles
“This is a great book, not only for law students, but for law professors seeking to re-learn some lessons of delivering a legal education. Most importantly, it sensibly (if crustily) speaks to expectations in the law classroom, an elusive baseline of behavior in an era of evolving classroom technologies, tightening job markets, and changing academic cultures. Whether the student or the professor agrees with the blunt advice in this book, this is as thought-provoking as a fun book like this can be.” — Prof. Shi-Ling Hsu, University of British Columbia Faculty of Law
“This comprehensive yet concise manual is an indispensable resource for both prospective and current law students. With its witty, practical, and no-nonsense advice, Professors Parrish and Knolton address everything that law students need to understand to excel in all aspects of the law school experience from the summer prior to law school to preparing for the bar exam. Those who read this book will be spared the avoidable blunders that all students suffer throughout their legal education from ineffective study habits to misconceptions about the culture of law school and the legal profession. How I wish that this book could have been available when I pursued my legal education.” — Prof. Randall S. Abate, Florida A & M University College of Law
“This book provides current and future law students virtually everything they need to know to enjoy their law school experience and to succeed while doing so. Short, shrewd, and witty, the book is highly recommended for every law student.” — Prof. Dan Markel, Florida State University College of Law
“Everything you always wanted to know about law school but were afraid to ask. Professors Parrish and Knolton have demystified the law school experience and crystallized their insights into practical, real-world advice on how to navigate law school successfully. It is a great resource for busy students, and for the professors who advise them.” — Prof. Jodi Short, Georgetown University Law Center
“Parrish and Knolton have put together a highly useful and readable guide to tackling the academic, social, and political challenges of law school. Their book delivers essential advice with a no-nonsense—and often humorous—attitude, and busy students will no doubt appreciate the handy checklist at the end of each chapter.” — Prof. Janine Y. Kim, Marquette University Law School
“Hard-Nosed Advice from a Cranky Law Professor is the new must-read for all prospective and current law students. In a concise, infinitely readable and surprisingly entertaining way, this book gives 1Ls the absolute essentials they will need to succeed in law school. Just as important, this remarkable book instructs all law students on how to maximize their tremendous law school investment and launch their future careers. As the highly amusing, always spot-on Cranky Professor himself might say, 'To understand law school you must first read this book (and again).' ” — Prof. Babette Boliek, Pepperdine University School of Law
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