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1000 Days to the Bar - But the Practice of Law Begins Now: How to achieve your personal best in Law School

4.3 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0837737263
ISBN-10: 0837737265
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Editorial Reviews


"1000 Days to the Bar is simply the best manual I have ever read for law school preparation." -- Maureen McKenna Goldberg, Justice, Rhode Island State Supreme Court

"Law students, or those thinking about becoming law students, would be wise to pick up a copy of this book." -- Kristen Holmquist, Dir. of Academic Support and Lecturer in Law, UCLA School of Law

"Tonsing brings a fresh breeze to the musty study of law. I am recommending this book to all my students." -- Richard Litvin, Assoc. Prof. Of Law and Dir. of Academic Support, Quinnipiac Univ. School of Law

From the Publisher

Dennis Tonsing’s 1000 Days to the Bar provides first-year law students with a fresh and novel approach to the study of law, explaining the relationship between the professional practice of law and the actual practices students must perform to achieve their weekly objectives.

This exceptional guide is designed to empower first-year law students by outlining the components to academic success in a step-by-step format that offers a practice-centered approach to legal studies.

In this book, students will discover how to:

- Develop a rich understanding of the legal principles necessary to successfully practice law.
- Earn grades that reflect their best efforts.
- Pass the bar exam on the first try.

Dean Tonsing identifies the core aspects of a law student’s responsibilities, emphasizing "active learning" and equating it to the "active listening" that is essential to running a successful legal practice. He also sets forth hundreds of practical tips to help law students realize how every day in law school is a small but vital step toward becoming a skilled legal practitioner.

When law students begin their studies, they intend to do their personal best on the path to their doctoral degree and throughout their professional career. Dean Tonsing recognizes this fact (making it an underlying premise in his book) and thrusts his readers toward achieving one primary goal — excellence.

1000 Days to the Bar is an extremely valuable resource for law students, both because of its foundational concept —that every day of law school is inherently part of the practice of law — and also because of its practical suggestions that will enable these novice lawyers to achieve their goals.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: William S Hein & Co (August 31, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0837737265
  • ISBN-13: 978-0837737263
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8.2 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,345,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dennis Tonsing's two decades as a California litigator provide the essential platform for his message to law students across the country - when you begin law school, you are beginning the "practice of law." School's over. Those who consider their days from law school orientation until the bar exam as "school" may be good students. Those who approach those 1000 days as "practice" for the real thing will be good lawyers.

That's the message he delivered to thousands of law students, starting with his developing and directing the first Academic Support Program at Vermont Law School. Following his years at Vermont, he initiated and directed the Academic Support Program at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, where he also served as Dean of Students. During the years 1999 to 2007, he was a sought after speaker at law schools, workshops and seminars around the country.

In 2007, he moved to South America, where he continues to help law students sharpen their skills, primarily for excelling on law school essay exams and passing the California State Bar Examination, through his continuing affiliation with Concord Law School online, and through his all-inclusive web page for law students at http://Dennistonsing.com.

Former students continue to succeed long after law school, because they "hit the ground running" after treating their law school experience as a preparation for the professional practice.

Florida lawyer Jerry L. Godding sums it up when he writes, "Tonsing's techniques, diligently applied, have been instrumental not only in helping me graduate from law school but also passing bar exams. In the four years following law school, I have passed five bar examinations using tips from Professor Tonsing's book. '1000 Days to the Bar' is the most useful tool available, I highly recommend it."

Dennis Tonsing currently resides in Ecuador, where he edits legal work translated from Spanish in addition to his online assistance to law students around the United States.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By JC on October 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
Mr. Tonsing's manual is a useful volume for anyone preparing for law school. Not only is it filled with helpful tips on how to brief a case, take notes, and write course summaries, but it also motivates the student to enter law school as a lawyer, not a student.

There is no doubt that Mr. Tonsing is committed to helping the reader do his best in law school.

However, while there are many gems in book, overall the prose is weak, and often times just corny. The author pedantically defines words like 'equestrian' and 'loophole' for his reader, and goes off the deep end near the end of the book suggesting that law students cover the walls of their apartments with burlap to make enormous wall charts. I suppose it may work for some . . . but it reminds me of Russell Crowe's schizophrenic character in "A Beautiful Mind," and while that character was brilliant he was also crazy.

This is certainly not the worst law school book out there, but I would shop around before deciding to purchase "1000 Days. . ."
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Format: Paperback
Dean Tonsing's book rings as true as anything I have seen concerning the pressures, challenges, and pitfalls of law school. His practical and insightful advice should be required reading for every law student -- first, in the summer before law school begins and, second, throughout the first year.

My own experiences as a law student and my years as a law professor have convinced me that the first year of law school is one of the most difficult -- and sometimes most traumatic -- challenges students will ever face in their professional lives. The learning curve for new students is vertical; the competition is unlike anything most have encountered before; the learning and teaching styles are unfamiliar; the material is dense and its logic difficult to master; and the assessments require preparation techniques foreign to most students' experiences.

To help students confront those difficulties, Dean Tonsing rightly begins by focusing the students on the goal: becoming competent, in three years, to be trusted with their clients' interests in their property, their liberty, and sometimes even their lives. The sooner a student grasps that the profession of the law begins on the first day of law school, the sooner that student will begin to develop into a competent lawyer.

Dean Tonsing presents invaluable advice on managing that shift from undergraduate to professional and on mastering the nuts and bolts of learning the law. Law students who put his advice into practice will find this book to be one of the most valuable resources they will encounter in their three years of study.
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Format: Paperback
Dennis Tonsing's book has the first truly clear-eyed tone in his approach to the difficulties of Law School study. Having practiced law for over 20 years before becoming an Academic Support Director, I often wondered why no one said it as plainly as Dennis does: Law School is not school--it is a job, and everything required of law students has its analog in the professional practice of law. It is making this connection that is the book's greatest strength. Rather than just telling students "how to" do something (which Dennis' book does very well), it explains to students why they are asked to read, study, and prepare the way we ask them to read, study, and prepare.

We now require this book as part of Orientation, and we devote several Academic Support lectures in the first year to a more thorough discussion of specific areas covered by the book.

Mario Mainero


Academic Success Program

Whittier Law School

Costa Mesa, California
Comment 6 of 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
This book, like several others in this genre, provides the reader with different nuances on how to brief cases, take lecture notes, study for exams and other components that every other book in this field suggests.

This book is a rather long and difficult read. It contains a few decent suggestions on study aids, but one can receive this information from practically any other pre-law book or website.

My suggestion is to stick to other pre-law books and not waste your money on this one.

Upcoming 2L.
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Format: Paperback
While the market is flooded with books about how to do well in law school written by good law students who went on to practice law, Dennis Tonsing's book is of a different caliber. He draws upon his experience of teaching law students to implement these concepts and become an effective law student. Apart from describing ways to tackle the tasks of reading and briefing cases and taking exams, he also helps to explain how these skills relate the the practice of law. Well worth the money!
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Format: Paperback
This book serves as an outstanding aid to students trying to master the law. The author keeps his focus on the true goals for the law student: success on exams, bar passage, and preparation for a satisfying career. He offers clever and clearly described means toward those ends by breaking down all the skills a successful lawyer (and law student) must master. The book appeals to students with different learning styles, is witty, and is written in a manner that both the novice and expert can appreciate. In short, it's a fantastic and essential companion for all law students.
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