Becoming a Lawyer

Success at Law School

Third Edition

Michael Brogan, David Spencer

Becoming a Lawyer

Success at Law School

Third Edition

Michael Brogan, David Spencer






5 Feb 2014


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$56.99 NZD

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Becoming a Lawyer: Success at Law School provides practical, experience-based advice for students beginning their law studies. It offers insight into the unique elements of law school culture, letting students know what to expect and what is expected of them, giving realistic advice and tips to get the most from their studies. Now in its third edition, Becoming a Lawyer is the essential guide to surviving and thriving at law school.


  • Fully updated to reflect changing technology, including assessment in Second Life, remote access, blended learning and flexible delivery
  • A greater focus on graduate attributes and, learning outcomes and their impact on students
  • Expanded information and tips on legal problem solving
  • Updated and expanded material on legal ethics and communication skills


1. Why am I Studying Law?
What is law all about? 
Careers in the law 
Why study law?
2. The University and Law Programs 
What is law all about? 
Careers in the law 
Why study law?
3. How is Law School Different from Other Studies? 
The distinctions between law school and high school or TAFE
The distinctions between law school and the workplace
The distinctions between law school and other university studies
Student learning responsibilities
Different law schools
4. Learning and Teaching in Law School
Learning and teaching approaches
Different lecturers and their teaching approaches
The three curricula of any course
Four interrelated components of any unit of study
How to approach your lecturers about your learning
5. Legal Problem-solving 
The proof-making model
Why do law schools use legal problems for assessment?
The legal problem-solving model
An example
6. Class Types
Small-group work
Informal learning
Student participation
Taking notes
The rise of educational technologies
Student and lecturer interaction
Missing classes
7. Managing Your Time Well
Orient yourself to your units 
Time management: Hints, warnings, and techniques 
Study groups 
Working while studying
8. Core Concepts: The Legal system and Legal Ethics 
The history of Australian law
Central principles and concepts
International law
Common terms
Legal ethics
9. Sources of Law 
Primary and secondary sources of law
Reading cases
Reading statutes
10. Researching the Law 
Planning your research
Resources available to law students
Subordinate legislation
Secondary sources
A warning: Beware of the internet!
11. Assignments: Types and Tips 
Class participation and presentation
Discussion board contributions
Field-trip reports
Reflective journals
Mooting and the viva voce examination
Research papers and theses
Late assignments and misadventure
12. Assignments: Referencing/Citing and Plagiarism 
The importance of correct referencing
What do I put in my references?
Referencing or citation methods
The dangers of plagiarism
A sobering conclusion
13. Examinations 
Preparing for exams
Exam technique
Types of exams
14. Gaining confidence and developing professional habits
Developing courage
Your law school experience begins as soon as you enrol
Approaching your lecturers
Frequently asked questions
What to do if you feel you have been treated unfairly
Counsellors and disabilities
Further resources


Michael Brogan: Senior Lecturer, School of Law, University of Western Sydney

David Spencer: Professor and Academic Director, Australian Catholic University

Sample Pages

Read a sample chapter from Becoming a Lawyer: Success at Law School.

Chapter 1: Why am I Studying Law?