Staying Ahead in Law School: 3 Tips for Your Constitutional Law Class 

Staying ahead in law school can be tough. After all, the curriculum is no walk in the park, demanding not just understanding but real mastery of intricate legal concepts. Constitutional law, in particular, is a big deal, influencing pretty much every aspect of law. And so for your constitutional law class, you want to be ready for a ride through deep case law, hefty philosophical questions, and the ever-shifting landscape of constitutional interpretation.

Here are 3 helpful tips. 

Read the Case Law

Understanding case law is key for grasping constitutional principles because it gives you insights into how legal concepts are applied in real life.

You want to:

  • Read cases thoroughly, including the majority opinion, concurring opinions, and dissents
  • Look into the historical context, societal factors, and legal precedents that influenced the court’s decision
  • Identify the main legal issues, arguments made by each party, and the court’s rationale behind its decision

Consider Brown v. Board of Education. By digging into the historical background of school segregation and the arguments presented, you’ll better grasp why the Supreme Court overturned the “separate but equal” doctrine established in Plessy v. Ferguson.

Utilize Supplemental Resources

Using extra resources provides additional perspectives and insights beyond textbooks and lectures, really enhancing your understanding.

You want to:

  • Explore scholarly articles, academic journals, and reputable legal blogs for in-depth discussions on constitutional law topics
  • Listen to podcasts or watch online lectures by legal experts for analysis and commentary on recent court decisions and constitutional issues
  • Engage in online forums or discussion groups to exchange ideas with peers and legal professionals

For example, say you’re grappling with freedom of speech under the First Amendment. Alongside your textbook, maybe tune in to a podcast featuring a relevant professor, essayist, journalist, author, etc who talks about free speech from different angles, giving you fresh insights into the hot debates and legal currents.

Practice Writing

Practicing writing helps you articulate complex legal arguments clearly and persuasively, so it’s a must-do.

Really, you want to:

  • Write case briefs summarizing key facts, issues, and holdings of assigned cases
  • Draft legal memos analyzing constitutional issues and offering recommendations based on relevant case law and statutes
  • Tackle essay questions that require applying constitutional principles to hypothetical scenarios, backing your analysis with reasoned arguments

For example, say you’re writing a legal memo addressing whether a government restriction on online speech violates the First Amendment. You’d need to conduct thorough research, analyze relevant case law, and provide recommendations based on your interpretation of precedent and legal doctrine.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to staying ahead in your constitutional law class. Remember, it’s not just about memorizing facts – it’s about understanding the why behind the law and being able to articulate your analysis effectively.

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