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Academic Resources & Services
Yale Law School has a vast array of lectures, seminars, and experiential education opportunities available to you as a law student. Associate Dean of Student Affairs Ellen Cosgrove is available to meet with you to discuss what opportunities might work for you as you shape your law school experience. In addition to holding open office hours at the start of each semester, Dean Cosgrove is also available for one-on-one meetings throughout the year.
Yale Law School also offers a number of academic resources for students looking to develop and improve upon their academic skills. If you have any questions about the resources below, please contact the Office of Student Affairs and we will be happy to help you find the right resources for your needs.
If you have questions and would like to speak with faculty members directly, you can find a listing of their office hours here (netID required).
Legal Writing and Research Resources
Yale Law School faculty members Robert Harrison and Noah Messing offer a number of courses that focus on legal writing, advocacy, and advanced legal research. Students may contact Rob and Noah directly for personalized assistance with their legal writing.
YLS also offers a variety of courses focused on legal writing every semester. You can find these by going to the YLS Courses (Net ID required) homepage and searching under "Instructor" for Rob Harrison or Noah Messing.
Yale Law students are required to complete two pieces of scholarship during their time at YLS - a Substantial Paper and a Supervised Analytic Writing. For general information, see the YLS Bulletin under "Writing Requirements" (page 98). Policies for individual faculty members regarding supervision of these required writings are available on the Student Scholarship website. Learn more about strategies for approaching these papers with How to Write Your SAW/Substantial Paper with Rob Harrison, Noah Messing, and Julie Krishnaswami. (Net ID required)
The Lillian Goldman Law Library
The Lillian Goldman Law Library has a variety of resources to assist with legal research. You can contact a reference librarian in a number of ways, including by email, phone, text message, or in person during reference hours. The library also offers a number of research guides, covering general and U.S. law, foreign and international law, empirical research, and historical research, that can help you get started. Throughout the year the library also hosts workshops on developing research skills - check your email and look for posters advertising these events in the fall and the spring.
If you are interested in learning more about legal research, there are also a variety of research courses that are offered each semester. You can find a listing of these courses on the library's website here, or look at the full course listings on the main YLS Courses (Net ID required) homepage.
If you are preparing to write your SAW or Substantial Paper, the library has prepared a guide specifically for conducting research for those projects. View the Guide for Substantial and SAW Research here.
Reference librarians are also available to meet one-on-one with students to discuss research projects, answer research questions, teach you various research skills, or teach you how to use research databases. To set up a meeting, use the online contact form or contact a reference librarian directly.
Case Reading and Briefing Resources
Many law school assignments involve reading original legal opinions, rather than secondary sources discussing those cases. To learn strategies for analyzing and summarizing cases (known as "briefing"), watch Rob Harrison's program "How to Brief a Case." (Net ID required)
For a more detailed look into reading cases and effective note-taking, click here to watch "Reading Cases Like an Expert." (Net ID required) You can view the associated PowerPoint here. (NetID required)
Outlining and Exam Resources
Many students prepare for law school exams by creating outlines. View the PowerPoint presentation from the lecture of the technique here. (Net ID required)
To learn more exam strategies, watch "How to Ace a Law School Exam, a Yale Law School Exam, and a Yale Law School Exam in the First Semester" with Rob Harrison. (Net ID required) You can find the handout from that program, outlining exam-taking strategies, here. (Net ID required) Professor John Langbein also offers his thoughts on writing law examinations here.
Many YLS professors upload previous exams for students to use as a study aid. You can access these exams through the Morris catalog here, searching by professor name.
The Lillian Goldman Law Library features a number of study aids that cover outlining, exam preparation strategies, and essay exam techniques. These can be found in the reference collection on L3 and on L5 (call number range KF 283).
The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI) offers a three-part podcast (Parts 1, 2, and 3) with law professors offering their advice regarding outlines, studying for class, preparing for exams, time management, and how professors grade exams. If you haven't registered for CALI, email a librarian or stop by the reference desk, and they will be able to help you.
Bar Exam Application Questions Pertaining to Mental Health, School/Criminal History, and Financial Issues
This chart is a compilation of the questions asked on bar exam applications pertaining to mental health, school/criminal history, and finances. Please note that this is NOT a comprehensive list. Given the wide variety of questions that fall into those categories, this chart only includes those subject areas that may be of the greatest interest to our students. You are encouraged to review the bar exam application you are interested in to confirm the full scope of what is asked on that application. Where possible, links to the bar exam applications have been listed in the Notes category. For more information about those bar exam applications without a link, or any other questions you may have, please contact Dean Ellen Cosgrove.