March 20, 2013
Law school is on break, but I’m on the road this week. I have work, interviews, and a Westlaw student webinar this coming Thursday evening. We’ll be talking about using Westlaw secondary sources in your preparation for law school advocacy competitions. Here are three tips with a few spoilers for Thursday’s event.
First, use the American Jurisprudence Trials series. As soon as possible, look for an article about your cause of action. During competition seasons, there’s been a wild variety of fact patterns like concussions, drug allergies, and heart attacks. Issue-spotting is key, especially if you don’t have a medical background. The Am. Jur. Trials series clues you into the key facts and examples on how to argue them.
Second, know what you look and sound like. For me, at least, handling criticism is tough. What people correct me about couldn’t be true. The flaws of others couldn’t be mine, either. This attitude kept a bunch of bad habits from being changed. Don’t fall into the same trap! Record yourself. Listen without video, watch without audio, and watch it again. Then use Westlaw’s resources, like An Introduction to Persuasion in the Courtroom: What Makes a Trial Lawyer Convincing? from the Am. Jur. Trials series, to fix the hiccups.
Last, make memorization key. So many teams, mine included, scramble to put everything together at the last second. This affects content, style, and delivery. We’ll talk about using the same principles behind college football audibles to create notes that are simple, memorable, and effective.
Sign up on the Law School Webinar page and see you Thursday at 6:00 p.m. Central!