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Getting To Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams Paperback – May 26, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0890897607 ISBN-10: 0890897603 Edition: 1st

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Getting To Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams + 1L of a Ride: A Well-Traveled Professor's Roadmap to Success in the First Year of Law School + Law School Confidential: A Complete Guide to the Law School Experience: By Students, for Students
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Carolina Academic Press; 1 edition (May 26, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0890897603
  • ISBN-13: 978-0890897607
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

This book should revolutionize the ordeal of studying for law school exams....It's clear, insightful, fun to read, and right on the money. --Duncan Kennedy, Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, Harvard Law School

Finally a study aid that takes legal theory seriously....Students who master these lessons will surely write better exams. More importantly, they will also learn to be better lawyers. --Steven L. Winter, Brooklyn Law School

If you can't spot a 'fork in the law' or a 'fork in the facts' in an exam hypothetical, get this book. If you don't know how to play 'Czar of the Universe' on law school exams (or why), get this book. And if you do want to learn how to think like a lawyer - a good one - get this book. It's, quite simply, stone cold brilliant. --Pierre Schlag, University of Colorado School of Law (Law Preview Book Review on The Princeton Review website)

Finally a study aid that takes legal theory seriously....Students who master these lessons will surely write better exams. More importantly, they will also learn to be better lawyers. --Steven L. Winter, Brooklyn Law School

If you can't spot a 'fork in the law' or a 'fork in the facts' in an exam hypothetical, get this book. If you don't know how to play 'Czar of the Universe' on law school exams (or why), get this book. And if you do want to learn how to think like a lawyer - a good one - get this book. It's, quite simply, stone cold brilliant. --Pierre Schlag, University of Colorado School of Law (Law Preview Book Review on The Princeton Review website)

Finally a study aid that takes legal theory seriously....Students who master these lessons will surely write better exams. More importantly, they will also learn to be better lawyers. --Steven L. Winter, Brooklyn Law School

If you can't spot a 'fork in the law' or a 'fork in the facts' in an exam hypothetical, get this book. If you don't know how to play 'Czar of the Universe' on law school exams (or why), get this book. And if you do want to learn how to think like a lawyer - a good one - get this book. It's, quite simply, stone cold brilliant. --Pierre Schlag, University of Colorado School of Law (Law Preview Book Review on The Princeton Review website)

Finally a study aid that takes legal theory seriously....Students who master these lessons will surely write better exams. More importantly, they will also learn to be better lawyers. --Steven L. Winter, Brooklyn Law School

If you can't spot a 'fork in the law' or a 'fork in the facts' in an exam hypothetical, get this book. If you don't know how to play 'Czar of the Universe' on law school exams (or why), get this book. And if you do want to learn how to think like a lawyer - a good one - get this book. It's, quite simply, stone cold brilliant. --Pierre Schlag, University of Colorado School of Law (Law Preview Book Review on The Princeton Review website)

About the Author

Richard Michael Fischl is a professor of law at the University of Connectical School of Law. Jeremy Paul is Dean and Professor of Law at Northeastern University School of Law.

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Customer Reviews

I read this book prior to starting law school.
D. Friedman
The book goes through the different types of questions one mught find on an exam and shows how to address them.
Amazon Customer
I wish I hadn't let things get that bad before I read this book!
Eliza Doolittle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

96 of 106 people found the following review helpful By atticus falcon on July 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
Getting to Maybe is a Godsend. Even for those of you who've already finished first-year, it's well worth getting.
I am the author of Planet Law School: What You Need to Know Before You Go--but Didn't Know to Ask. Unfortunately, Getting to Maybe was first published in 1999, a year after PLS, so I could not recommend it in PLS. Hence this posting, now. Even though the authors and I are competitors, and our books are published by different firms, I urge all law students to get Getting to Maybe. (For one thing, the authors' critique of the IRAC model is succinct and devastating.)
If you take doing well in law school (and becoming a good attorney) seriously, this book is a necessity.
It's so well-written that I had to force myself to put it down, and ended up reading it in just two sittings, of several hours each.
The earlier review, about the teaching of Tantric Yoga, in exactly right. With Getting to Maybe, the secrets are secret no more.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A. Hall on April 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
In my first year of law school, my legal writing tutor recommended this book. After reading it, my grades went up, which I believe was partially because of how this book helped me improve writing law school exams. It helps new law students understand what it means to "think like a lawyer." That is, it gives students a framework for analyzing complex issues.

Reading this book also significantly increased my performance in our legal writing class. At the end of my first year, my professor said my writing went from nearly the worst in the class to the best. This progress was a direct result from reading this book, improving my writing organization, and practice.

I highly recommend this book for new law students who want a head-start improving their legal analysis skills, and especially for students struggling with their legal writing. Law students have so much to read, it's hard to find more time for a book like this. But even reading a few chapters will provide students with a new paradigm for their legal analysis and writing.

This book would make a great gift for a student prior to starting law school because it is easy to read and introduces readers to subjects they will cover in their first-year courses.
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93 of 108 people found the following review helpful By D. Friedman on July 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
The aim of this book is to help current law students perform well on law school exams. Law school exams are famously ambiguous; hence the title of the book.
The title of the book is a play on the title of a classic book about the art of negotiation, called _Getting to Yes_. Implicit in _Getting to Maybe_ is that, unlike a negotiation, performance on law school exams does not require an exact answer or resolution.
The method by which these law professors explain this concept is especially interesting. In connection with their academic research, they propose to break down law school exams into small components, and thoroughly analyze those components. The result is a very substantial and comprehensive analysis of the structure of law school exams and the skills required to do well on these exams.
You may be asking how the professors purport to explain _all_ law school exams, for surely there are professors for whose exams these methods will not work. These professors make the interesting point that in the United States, law education is fairly uniform, and, therefore, the skills required to perform well on law school exams are fairly uniform, as well.
I read this book prior to starting law school. I found it useful primarily because I have read a number of other books about legal reasoning and the study of law and the law school experience that are more basic than the material in this book. If this is your first book regarding the study of law or peformance in law school, I would advise putting it aside in favor of a book offering a broader overview of law, its study, and law school.
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87 of 101 people found the following review helpful By Dissident Aggressor on November 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
I read this book early in the fall of my 1L year. At the time, I thought that the book was useful and that reading it would give me an edge over my classmates. In retrospect, the book did not give me any edge and reading the book was a waste of time.

The book does give you confidence. It leads you to think that you will be able to take apart a legal exam, reduce it to its essentials, and reason in a manner that your professors will appreciate. I guess it might be worth your reading if you need a shot of self-confidence.

But I do not think that the book will make much of a difference in how anyone does on law school exams. The authors' main point is to look for ambiguities (or "forks"). When you see something on your exam that looks ambiguous, try to explore all the ambiguities. In other words, argue in the alternative--i.e., point out that if X is said to occur, then Y results, whereas if A is said to occur, then B results. Let your professors know that you can see the little things that might produce completely different legal results.

This method is great as a theory. However, it is difficult to apply the method in an actual test setting. I remember that my first exam during my 1L year was in criminal law. I was given a long fact pattern, and I tried to apply the "Getting to Maybe" method. One problem I found was that I was pushed for time. It was not possible to discuss all the ambiguities in the amount of time allowed. The method the book suggested was just not possible in the context of my three-hour bluebook exam. There was no way I could explore all the ambiguities on the exam the way the authors suggest.

Another problem I have with the book is that it is not really giving you any special advice.
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