Law School: How Many Hours a Week Should I Be Studying?


How much time will it take to prepare for classes and how much studying should you do for exams in law school? While this question has as many answers as there are law students, there is a formula that many professors advocate using. You will most likely want to plan to study for at least two hours for every hour of class. For example, in your first year, you will study Torts, Contracts and Criminal Law. Each class is 3 ½ hours a week. This means you should plan on studying and preparing for each class about 7 hours per...

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Think You Live Too Far Away from CDTA to Go to Law School? Think Again!

soft skills

At the California Desert Trial Academy, College of Law, our goal is to see you succeed in law school. If you live too far away from our campus in Indio to comfortably drive in three nights a week, you may be eligible to participate in our unique Distance Learning Program. This State Bar approved, hybrid program allows you to attend classes from the comfort of your home by attending remotely through the Zoom platform. You will attend class at the same time as your classmates attending in person by logging into our program on your computer. You will be able to...

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Studying Hard Skills—The Difference Between Civil & Criminal Procedure

hard skills

Your law school experience will teach you both hard skills such as evidence, contracts, torts, civil and criminal procedure, and soft skills. Soft skills include relationship building, negotiation, and teamwork. As a student at the California Desert Trial Academy, College of Law, you will learn all of the required hard skills during your course work during the week and practice sessions on Saturdays. Soft skills are emphasized during your Saturday Enrichment program where you will network with the local legal community and learn valuable negotiating and practice skills. It is imperative that you develop a strong understanding of both civil and criminal...

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Communicating Powerfully in the Legal Arena: Always Write to Your Reader


Even the most seasoned lawyers and judges enjoy reading clearly written material. While legalese may seem to be the accepted norm, if you want to get your point across to others fully, it’s quite simple: you must be a bold and inspiring communicator with organized and intelligent thoughts. And just as in negotiating or arguing in court, you must know who your reader is. In writing to your reader you can connect in a powerful manner that may be surprisingly effective time and time again. Although legal issues can be rather dry at times, and you may not have a lot...

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Should You Seek Out an Attorney Mentor?

There is a steep learning curve in the legal profession. It can take years as an attorney to really feel you have mastered the art of lawyering. There is a way to dramatically shorten that time so you are ready to practice law fresh out of law school. That is with the assistance of a mentor. At CDTA, Dean John Patrick Dolan founded the law school to develop strong trial attorneys. He envisioned a training program similar to that of a residency program in the medical field. He understood from his own experience the power of working with an attorney mentor...

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Don’t Let Stress & Study Burnout Lead to Depression or Other Health Issues

Although your first year of law school can feel overwhelming and you may struggle with study burnout at times, the key is to find a balance between excelling in school and maintaining your health.  If you suspect you may be suffering from burnout—or perhaps you are on your way there—it is time to take a breather, no matter what is going on. Typical symptoms of burnout are escalating anxiety and depression, abnormal exhaustion that cannot be quelled, inability to focus, and feelings of being generally numb or even somewhat regretful about decisions such as attending law school. The truth is that...

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Study Fever? Why You Should Avoid Overuse of Caffeine


If there was a true secret shortcut to getting ahead in law school, surely it would have been uncovered by now. And while there are many study tips and tricks available to all, the use of mood-altering substances is never a good idea. You may enjoy the taste of a nice hot cup of java in the morning or like a pick-me-up in the afternoon, but overuse of caffeine will work against you--just as alcohol or any drugs will do too. Most of us are familiar with the stereotype of the exhausted law student or attorney, slumped over a desk littered...

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The Five Most Common Worries About Your 1L Year

common worries

Finding out that you were accepted into law school was probably one of the most exciting days of your life and now that you are a law student, there are plenty more milestones ahead, and many common worries blended in with the excitement. Law school exams, internships, the state-mandated exams, passing the bar, being sworn in to practice and your first trial are just a few events that you have to look forward to. Law school has a reputation for being extremely rigorous, especially for first-year law students, and with good reason. There is a lot of knowledge to absorb, and...

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Forgot Something in Your Notes? CDTA Offers Ongoing Access to Lectures


Law school is centered around lectures, reading assignments, and case briefing. The workload can be great, especially in your 1L year as you adjust to a new way of thinking and writing. Your professors will expect you to be able to read voluminous amounts of material for each class, learn and memorize new legal rules and concepts and most importantly, learn how to apply the law to the facts. The volume of classwork can be daunting for even the best and the brightest of  law students entering their first year. You may find yourself in a panic at times, trying to...

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First Year Students: CDTA is Laser Focused on Your Success

Law school begins with a great deal of trepidation for many first year students, and although anxiety levels may run high, this type of intensity often leads to an intense motivation to succeed.  Prior to law school orientation, you will likely be bombarded by well-meaning friends and family members regaling their horror stories of their own cutthroat law school experience. They will direct you to watch films such as The Paper Chase  or One L , depicting first-year law students going to any length to push their fellow classmates “down the curve”.  You will hear about professors hell-bent on seeing...

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