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Tips to Impress Your Law Professor

As a rule, law students know less than they think they do.

If you are a really smart student -- "Type A" for straight A's in college -- you are already in trouble. That's because no matter what you studied before, law is an entirely different subject.

And if nobody told you, it's not about about what you know. That's right, it's about who you know. So get to know your teachers and you might impress them.

The Professor

The professor is the standard, which can be very high if he or she graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and clerked for the U.S. Supreme Court. You can assume that the teacher knows the material, so do some homework on the instructor instead.

Here's a checklist of specific things to do:

  • Ask other students who have had the professor for tips.
  • Come to class on time and prepared to be engaged in the discussion.
  • Listen for cues about the teacher's expectations and take notes about them.
  • Read the course syllabus and relevant comments the teacher may have written.

You don't have to read everything they have published, but it helps to find out what they are thinking. Law Professor Blogs Network, for example, is a good go-to place for insights.

The Adjunct

Adjunct professors tend to be more practical than academic because they have day jobs. They may not have office hours for students like regular faculty, but there are practical reasons to get to know them also -- especially when it comes time to get a job.

In any case, do your best to get to know your instructors and respect their role. They will be human and make mistakes, but don't ever act like you know more than they do.

You'll want them to overlook your flaws, too, when it comes time for grades.

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