FROM SURVIVING TO THRIVING
that have a strong work ethic, meaning that they are motivated, focused,
and persevere when presented with challenges, outperform other students
with similar academic and intellectual capacities. Unfortunately, I have found
that work ethic is in short supply among entering law students.
D. Students Lack the Study Skills They Need to Learn the
In addition to deficiencies in knowledge, writing skills, and work ethic, law
students have also revealed a surprising lack of study skills. Study skills
include the ability to effectively manage time, comprehend written text, syn-
thesize concepts within texts or across several texts, critically evaluate the
texts, and perform well on structured assessments of the texts’ content.
Law students’ lack of proficiency with these skills is surprising because
prior to admission to law school, most students had to complete an un-
dergraduate program and perform well on the LSAT. Surprising or not, the
reality is that many students enter law school with study skill deficiencies.
1. Students struggle with time management
Time management presents significant challenges to many first-year stu-
dents, because prior to law school most students have never spent more
than 20 hours each week preparing for class, but in law school, students
are expected to spend 40-45 hours preparing for class. The 2011 National
Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) reports that the time seniors in
college spend on preparing for class varies across students’ majors: en-
gineering students reported the highest average at 19 hours per week.
Social science and business majors reported spending 14 hours a week