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This lesson, intended for incoming and current 1L law students, guides participants through the process of note-taking in law school classes with a focus on case-based information. Using a series of cross-doctrinal audio lecture examples and integrating periodic checks for understanding, students have the opportunity to develop their note-taking skills and practice categorizing the pieces of case-based information. This lesson is equally suitable for full-time, part-time, evening, or remote law students.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the lesson, the student will be able to:
1. Identify and distinguish between core components of a case as both (a) explained by a professor in lecture format and (b) drawn out in professor-student colloquy.
2. Demonstrate the ability to make informed decisions/instinctual choices between being a stenographer in class versus taking notes, listening, and participating in class.
3. Demonstrate consistent and effective methods for capturing on paper the ambiguity in how courts and professors apply law to facts.
4. Recognize class as a part of the larger context of law school; gain comfort with lecture serving as both (a) a series of "episodic" additions to rule-building as well as (b) opportunities to practice speaking and writing in the language of the law.

Lesson Completion Time
45 minutes, including 10 minutes of audio exercises


  • 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.