1L of a Ride: A Well-Traveled Professor's Roadmap to Success in the First Year of Law School

Professor Paine's review:

As many Journal readers know, I teach a Civil Procedure class to 1L's at UT each spring semester. So I was curious to read University of Memphis professor Andrew McClurg's book.

Chapter 9 on "Law Professors" is especially interesting. I agree with his observations that most full-time professors have had limited experience in law practice, making it unsurprising that their classes emphasize theory over practical application. (We adjuncts are contrarians.) And I certainly agree with his anecdotal analysis: "Politically, more law professors probably lean left than right ..."

He emphasizes notetaking and outlining. I try to aid my students in this endeavor by putting my recorded lectures on TWEN (The West Education Network). The author stresses the need for healthy habits, including "getting normal sleep every night." Amen.

Student Paige's review:

After receiving my first semester grades, I recognized that I needed to adjust some of my study habits. I consulted Professor Paine for advice on study materials and he recommended a few study aids and Professor McClurg's 1L of a Ride.

Professor McClurg's book presents an honest description of the 1L year for a student and very good advice on effective studying skills. He imparts many study pointers for success including: updating class outlines on a timely basis; filing in gaps in notes immediately after class; and adhering to a "C.R.E.D.O." (qualities of successful law students: consistency, rigor, efficiency, diligence, and organization).

What sets this book apart from other books is that (despite the title of the book) it encourages prospective law students rather than frightens them about the first year at law school. Instead of discussing lofty positions held by lawyers, Professor McClurg begins the book with an uplifting story about a pro bono case he took as a young lawyer. Small details like this provide a supportive tone throughout the book.

The book is intended for prospective students. However, it was still helpful even after completing a semester of the 1L year. It has not only given me new study points, but it also inspired me to adjust my study habits and renewed my confidence for second semester final exams.

Paine's and Paige's conclusion:

Many readers of the Journal or their friends have a daughter or son entering law school this fall. We reviewers recommend that you purchase this book to assist our future colleagues.


Donald F. Paine DONALD F. PAINE is of counsel to the Knoxville firm of Paine, Tarwater, and Bickers LLP and a member of the Tennessee Bar Journal Editorial Board.

PAIGE BERNICK of Baytown, Texas, has successfully completed her first year at the UT College of Law. This summer she is a reasearch assistant to Dr. Otis Stephens. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Princeton in 2008.