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This lesson will run through critical considerations to think about before stepping into the law school classroom, or the "theater of learning" for the first time! Through a series of interactive diagnostic questions and teaching pages, the lesson explores many themes of first semester, including choosing your seat, class participation and how to handle the Socratic method, pre- and post-class prep, time management, using professors' office hours, and how the basics of the court system and functions of each level of court generate the "case method" of law school teaching and learning.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the lesson, the student will be able to:
1. Prepare for the dynamics of the law school classroom, including where to sit and how to respond to the Socratic method of professor-student colloquy.
2. Recognize the importance of briefing cases and become familiar with methods for briefing.
3. Identify the purpose and logic behind the case method of teaching, including basic court system concepts.
4. Understand and access resources to manage imposter syndrome.
5. Recognize the importance of time management in maximizing performance.

Lesson Completion Time
45-55 minutes


  • Laura Mott

    Laura is the Director of Academic Support for the 1L Evening Program at CUNY School of Law. Laura teaches Skills, 1L Lawyering, and has served as a bar mentor in CUNY’s Bar Support program since 2012. She has also taught legal writing and academic skills courses in the New York State Court System’s Legal Education Opportunity (LEO) Program, a summer program designed to prepare incoming law students from underserved communities for their first semester of law school. She has presented on best practices in designing academic support programs for part-time and evening students, and on issues related to associated general evening curriculum design and execution.

    Laura’s scholarship on teaching methods and education science examines how varying chronobiological levels on both individual and group levels affect short- and long-term doctrinal absorption and analytic dexterity in law school learning contexts. Her environmental research uses various social justice lenses to propose better public participation and consultation processes for national and international environmental decision-making.

    Laura holds a B.A. from Rutgers University, Douglass College, a J.D. from CUNY School of Law, and an LL.M cum laude in Environmental Law from the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University. Prior to law school, she worked in archaeology and cultural resource management.

    Director of Academic Support
    City University of New York Law School
Lesson ID

The Open Legal Education Project is a CALI initiative to bring resource to public legal education.