Originally published -
Ah, this book. Such an interesting one to review.
To any professors reading this, I had to cringe through the anti-academic vitriol that pervades this 800+ page tome of scattered thoughts of an interesting character. I do not take anything seriously in this book that bashes on professors.
And yet this book has a lot of information that I have found quite helpful. Specifically, the book by Jon Delaney ‘Learning Legal Reasoning’ is a can’t miss that was not on my radar prior to reading this book. Planet Law School delves into ‘all the things’ when it comes to law school prep, from reviews of books to read the summer before school, to suggested supplements and discussions of optional things such as hornbooks, canned briefs, etc. It also goes into the things to think about in the first semester, and beyond in terms of exam prep, extracurricular groups, and other considerations.
I do not want to ruin the surprise of the content in ‘case samples’ that are in the book, but there are a couple of gems that I will be going back over. “Slicing Through a Fruit Cake”, Chapter 7, is an excellent read about a complaint that the author receives from a student about a professor’s exam. The student writes about how others in the class were crying trying to dissect the bizarre case, which is then copied into the book. This chapter seems like a great opportunity to get the gears spinning for the exam fact patterns that may lie ahead.
The other fact pattern that I thoroughly enjoyed, in fact it was my favorite part of the book, was Part V: Coda to Parts I-IV. This chapter lays out a real world case related to a recent sporting event, that is just really fun to think about. Atticus uses this case as an opportunity to strut his stuff when it comes to legal analysis, and I was impressed by his ability to build grand sandcastles of thoughts around each of the elements in the case, and that to me seems to be an important part of the process.
This book also goes well beyond the 1L curriculum in its analysis of Law School life. In the later parts, Atticus talks about the common second year activities outside of classes, and the benefits and drawbacks of each thing. Like everything else in the book, his thoughts activities very opinionated. He believes that things like mock trial and moot court actually teach one how to be an incompetent lawyer, and that clinics, while minimized by schools, are the most valuable kind of class that one can take to prepare.
In a later chapter Atticus also talks about different philosophies that have been developed by groups in law school, such as the "Crits". While you may disagree with his views on this group, I have heard the name in other reading and it is good to know what it means.
This is a book that should be trimmed down, edited, and cleaned up of its eccentricities, but at the end of the day it is a quality book. It is more comprehensive than any other law school prep book out there, and really does have some things that you will not see in another guide, specifically when it comes to book recommendations.