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#DearFindLaw: Legal Writing Checklists; the 3-2-1 Study Method

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By William Peacock, Esq. on September 19, 2014 12:33 PM

#DearFindLaw - Advice for New Lawyers and Law Students from @FindLawLP

#DearFindLaw: It's like Dear Abby, but for masochists masquerading as legal scholars.

What are this week's topics? The first is all about revising your legal writing (especially in law school) using checklists. Also, a wise man in a warm, humid place wants to know what a "3-2-1" study schedule is.

Legal Writing/Editing Checklist

Dear Matthew,

Checklists? Editing? When we walked uphill both ways to Civil Procedure II, we didn't have time to revise -- we were too busy "networking" at a law student social event.

That being said, I did some legwork and found a shout-out to Prof. Jennifer Romig's checklists on a few blogs, including the venerable and trustworthy Law Prof Blogs. Romig's checklist, which is technically intended for practitioners, is available on SSRN. She also wrote a four-part series (1, 2, 3, 4) on legal checklists and why we should all be using them. (Note to self: whoops.) Parts of that lengthy treatise on checklists don't apply to law students, so skim at will.

For a revision checklist meant for law students specifically, this one by Prof. Tracy McGaugh looks particularly compelling, as it covers a lot of the typical typos that we all make ("trail" instead of "trial") any my own pet peeve (and weakness): the "Wall of Words" (never-ending paragraphs).

3-2-1 Study Method

Our other question comes from my big brother, a 1L at LSU. He wants to know what the 3-2-1 Study Method is.

Dear Johnny Boy,

Truth be told, I had no idea what in the purple-and-gold hell the 3-2-1 study method was. But, by doing some Google-fu, I found it mentioned in passing on a few LSU websites, including the Tiger Droppings message board. Perhaps this is an LSU-only thing? Either way, it's simply another of many ideas for setting up a study schedule.

The way it works, if I understand it correctly, is this: Go to the date of your finals, presumably your first final. Count back one day per class, then two per class, then three per to reach your first day of panicked cramming. (You'll be studying all along while going to classes -- this is for final review.)

You'd probably want to go in order of your finals too, so if your finals week schedule was: Criminal, Legal Traditions, Contracts, Civil Procedure, your last few weeks of cramming should go Criminal (3 days), Legal Traditions (3), Contracts (3), Civil Procedure (3), Crim (2), LT (2), Contracts (2), CivPro (2), Crim (1), LT (1), Contracts (1), CivPro (1), then death by exams.

Keep your questions coming! Write to us via Twitter (@FindLawLP) or Facebook (FindLaw for Legal Professionals) using the hashtag #DearFindLaw.

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