PO329 Law School and LSAT Preparation

for SP 2013

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Mission Statement: Park University provides access to a quality higher education experience that prepares a diverse community of learners to think critically, communicate effectively, demonstrate a global perspective and engage in lifelong learning and service to others.

Vision Statement: Park University, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.


PO 329 Law School and LSAT Preparation


SP 2013 HO


Brecke, Ronald

Office Location

MC 20A

Office Hours

Office Hours; M, 10-12: T, 11:30-1:00; W, 10-12; R, 11:30-1:00;

Daytime Phone




Semester Dates


Class Days


Class Time


Credit Hours




Margolis, The Official LSAT Preptest 66 ISBN 9780984636051

One L : The Turbulent True Story of a First Year at Harvard Law School by Scott Turow, ISBN-13: 9780446673785


Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:


McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email helpdesk@park.edu or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information http://www.park.edu/Current/.

Course Description:
PO329 Law School and LSAT Preparation: This course is a requirement for Legal Studies majors and minors. It will provide students with a means to prepare themselves for the rigors of law school. It will present students with strategies for getting into the law school of their choice. A significant amount of time will be spent on developing a personal statement that will improve their chances in the competition for scarce positions in law schools. It will also spend a good deal of time helping student to prepare for taking the Law School Admissions Test. Readings on the law school experience, presentations from those who have been to law school, significant work on a personal statement usually required for law school applications, and intense preparation for the LSAT will be the methodologies employed. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:

Class Assessment:

Additional Information:
The  course will be one in which emphasizes working with each individual student to develop an appropriate strategy for getting into a law school that will prepare them for the career choices they wish to pursue within law. This includes: providing information on how to research various law schools and their programs; and balancing law school choices between desire and reality (usually based upon cost and location).

Students will spend a great deal of time in planning strategies for filling out application documents that will present their academic achievements, work history, and personal background in the best light. One of the more important aspects of this is a personal statement that is required in most law school applications. In it, students are asked to provide a discussion of an issue that may be relevant for the decision on accepting them into law school. My research shows that this is often the "tie-breaker" among students with GPAs and LSAT scores that are similar. But it is also used as the first cutting point in law school admissions. It is suggested that students spend as much as 40 to 60 hours developing two double-spaced, typed pages. A significant portion of the course will be taken up with the important task of writing and rewriting this statement.

LSAT preparation is another important process that .this proposed course will cover. Intensive efforts will be made to get students to become comfortable with working on the types of questions found on the LSA T. Each student will be required to take a minimum of five "practice" tests with follow-up evaluations of each exam showing the student where mistakes were made and how to avoid such errors in the future.

My research also showed that undergraduates are unlikely to be familiar with the methodologies of learning that are used in law schools. Three things stand out here. The first is competition. The competitive nature of law school is used to weed students out, reward students with such valuable experiences as working on a law review, and provide students with internships that will get them the best jobs, and eventually further their careers.

The second aspect of the law school experience is the necessity of condensing extremely heavy reading loads for appropriate classroom and exam responses.

The third learning experience that students must become familiar with is the study group. Learning to work with others, while in competition with them, is an invaluable skill that can make or break the law student.



LSAT Preparation

At the start of the 4th week of class, you will turn in a practice LSAT exam that you have taken under test conditions with respect to timing. Grade them yourself before you turn them in. This will help me determine where time can be spent best in preparing you for taking the LSAT. 


In a five page essay, lay out the reasons why you want to go to law school and what you hope to accomplish once you have a law degree. What do you hope to be doing five years after law school? 20 years? This essay may become the basis for your personal statement.

Due, February 6, 2013

Briefing and Synthesis

The art of synthesis in legal studies is the learning of how to find commonality among disparate ideas, cases, and legal concepts. Part of your role as lawyer is to find this commonality—to synthesize so as to make sense of different cases, etc.

Below is a list of five cases. Find the cases on Lexus or FindLaw, read them, and brief them. Then go on to synthesize them, that is, find the thread that runs through all of them. Both your briefs and your synthesis will be graded written assignments. You will be given information on how to do this in class.

These will be due April 22, 2013

The cases are:

Wickard v. Filburn 317 U.S. 111

Maryland v. Wirtz, 392 U.S. 183

National League of Cities v. Usuery 426 U.S. 833

United States v. Lopez 514 U.S. 549 (1995)

United States v. Morrison et al, 529 U.S. 598

Law school Classwork and Group Learning


A typical law school classroom experience will be replicated for this course. Students will be assigned a number of cases representing the teaching load for one course for one week in law school. You will have two weeks to prepare for the class. Students will brief the cases and be prepared for the systematic Socratic approach in class. Students will be called upon randomly and be evaluated on the basis of their responses to questions. This will occur during the two-hour final exam period, May 8, 2013 at 1:00-3:00.


For the purposes of this assignment, students will be randomly assigned to a study group. It is expected that the study group will be used to divide the labor as well as sharpen the preparation for class. You will be given time in class to do your group work the week before the law school class. It is expected that all preparatory work will have been done by this time, and the class period will be taken up with the sharing of information as study groups.


Members of each study group will confidentially evaluate each of the other members. A form will be provided for this. 10% of your grade for the course will be determined by your peer evaluations.


Forms for peer evaluations will be handed out. They will be due May 8, 2013



Class Assessment:

Essay and Development of a personal statement            15%                                        

Case Briefs                                                                   25%                

Synthesis                                                                      25%

Law School class preparation                                       25%

Peer Evaluations                                                           10%

Grading for the course:






Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Course Requirements andPolicies

1. Attend classes regularly. EACH unexcused absence will lower your cumulative grade by two percent (two points on a 100 point scale). There are no excused absences.

2. Be prepared for class. This means that you have read the assignment and are prepared to discuss it.

3. Any student with special needs or a disability in the classroom environment should come and see me immediately after the first class.

4. If you have problems or questions come and see me or email me.

5. Portable telephones and pagers are not allowed in class except for security or emergency medical personnel.

6. No assignments will be accepted via email.

7. Late assignments will be assessed one letter grade per day that the assignment is late.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Class schedule (tentative and subject to change):



14        Intro

16        Turow, Ch. 1

23        Turow, Ch. 2

28        Turow, Chs. 3 & 4

30        Turow, Chs. 5 & 6


4          LSAT Prep self-administered test is due. Score it yourself.

            Analytical Reasoning

6          Continued.

            ESSAY DUE

11        Continued

            Logical Reasoning

13        Continued

20        Continued

            Reading Comprehension

25        Continued

27        Continued


4          Introduction to Law

6          Continued

18        Why Law School?

            Choosing a Law School

20        Continued

25        Personal Statements

            Law School Applications


27        LSDAS


1          Legal Reasoning

3          In the Law School Classroom

8          Outlining Courses

10        Briefing Cases

15        Analysis and Synthesis

17        Continued


24       Catch up day

29        Cases for final assigned. Group work


1          Group work.

8          1:00 FINAL EXAM: Law School Class,

            Peer evaluations due.

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty (www.park.edu/current or http://www.park.edu/faculty/).from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 98

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .


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Last Updated:12/11/2012 11:47:25 AM