How to Win a CALI Award: Some Personal Advice from Two Law Students Who Have Done It

Stephen E. Schilling and Rebecca M. Greendyke won a multiple CALI awards, which are awarded at a number of law schools to the student with the highest grade in a class.

But they did something else, they wrote an article (published in the University of Dayton Law Review, Winter 2011) on how to win the award.  In their article, “How to Win a CALI Award: Some Personal Advice from Two Law Students Who Have Done It,” they provide helpful tips for academic success in law school.

I suggest reading the article for yourself, but I want to mention a few of the best bits of advice.

For starters, a student should “know thyself, know thy professor  and know thy class.”

“Knowing yourself means knowing how you learn best and doing things to make yourself the best law student you can be.  Knowing your professor means learning how your professors teach, how they test, and what their expectations are.  Knowing your class means knowing your material.  This entails practicing  and working problems, using outside sources, and being prepared with tips and tricks to make your exam answers stand out.”

I really liked the suggestion to “be your own professor” — in other words, try to teach yourself the material.  The article also provides tips on how to ‘target’ the right courses for success, from reputation, exam mode to class size.

But, I was most pleased by the suggestion to “use outside sources.”  The authors were highlighting the importance of picking the right study aids, but there is much more to looking beyond your assigned readings.  We’ve seen in our ALR class that some of our strongest students are those who look beyond the traditional (or expected) resources.   And, browsing through our course reserves collection (which is often stocked with those ‘suggested’ other readings by professors) can be incredibly valuable and time-saving.

Good tips worth thinking about.