Law School Study Groups

Law school study groups are very common and groups will begin to organize within the first couple weeks of school. Whether you want to join or organize a study group depends on a number of different factors relating to your learning style and the group's activities. The following article is meant to help you sort out whether a study group is right for you and how to organize an effective study group if you decide that is the better path.

Important Considerations

Group study isn't for everyone and those who might benefit from group study will find that some groups offer little to no assistance, while others are highly effective. Understanding your own learning style and needs is critical for determining the right study environment.

One recurring pitfall involves the most outspoken members of a law school class. Often perceived as the smarter students, these performers are sometimes ineffective when it comes to sharing time with others, may shirk preparation, and may mislead others with their confident delivery when they know as little as their peers. On the other hand, the total introvert may not contribute to the study group because they are too meek to contribute, even when they know the right answer.

Ideally your study group will consist of a few committed members who can meet regularly to review study materials, exchange ideas, and support each others' individual study efforts. A study group isn't a replacement for your individual study, it is a supplement, and forming a group of similarly motivated students that lacks showboaters, gossipers, or slackers can be a serious challenge.

How Can I Tell if a Law School Study Group is Right for Me?

Law school study groups are as varied as individual study styles. The chart below can help you consider the advantages and disadvantages of joining a group, as well as some important considerations when forming a group of your own.

Advantages of a Law School Study Group

An effective law school study group can be an enormous asset. At their best, study groups provide an environment in which students can exchange:

  • motivation and support;
  • additional insight into legal issues;
  • study tips and materials.
Disadvantages of a Law School Study Group

Mismanaged law school study groups can be a problem rather than an asset. Since your study time is limited you need to get the most from your group or spend the time taking practice exams instead. Look out for groups that get derailed by:

  • gossip or horseplay;
  • friction between members that leads to argument rather than discussion;
  • dead weight simply looking to take other students' study materials;
  • large, unwieldy groups;
  • unhelpful or disruptive members.
Forming a Law School Study Group

If you decide that a law school study group is right for you, the next step is to organize your group. The following considerations will help your succeed:

  • form a group that has complementary learning/study styles;
  • stay focused on study, not socializing;
  • keep a regular schedule;
  • limit the number of members so the group is manageable.

 

Taking Your Next Steps

Whether you form a successful law school study group or decide to go it alone you are sure to have more questions about succeeding at law school and beyond. Visit FindLaw for Law Students to find articles, links, and materials to help answer questions about financing law school, planning your career, and more.