Saturday, September 08, 2007

quick review of Law Study Systems

I suppose it was almost inevitable- you can study for LSATs and bar exams online, and you can invest piles of money into various law school study aids, so it was only a matter of time before someone created an online study system for the typical 1L legal curriculum.

And here it is, or at least, the first one that I've heard of. The company calls itself Law Study Systems, and right now appears to have coverage of Contracts, Torts, and Criminal Law- not much, but a good start for lots of 1Ls.

I've only skimmed the materials, since they don't cover classes I'm currently taking, but the material appears to be fairly solid and comprehensive. It isn't the kind of thing that you'd want to learn Contracts from (that is after all what class is for), but it is probably pretty nice for a pre-exam refresher at the end of the semester, or perhaps as an intro to use over the summer before classes start (as I know some classmates did.) And it has fairly broad coverage- 22 'tutorials' on remedies in contracts alone.

Of course, it has the same problems as most review materials- for example, while it has great coverage of remedies, my contracts course did relatively little on remedies, so that material probably wouldn't have helped me very much. Of course, no review materials (unless your professor happens to write review materials as well as teach) will be perfect in this sense, but the difficulty of skimming this material to find what is relevant may be a slight disadvantage during last minute cramming. A search function (currently missing, as far as I can see) might help alleviate that, and make it more useful for targetted last-minute review.

Schools appear to have the option to work with LSS to customize the materials- which is an interesting idea. To the best of my knowledge, no law school is emulating MIT's Open Courseware and putting their course materials online in an organized fashion, and perhaps this might be the start of that for some schools. (Someone will have to eventually- the publicity of making your materials the standard reference for everyone on the web will be too big a lure to ignore.)

Software-wise, this is not terribly sophisticated yet- for example, the online LSAT prep I did was much more interactive, with music and animations, both of which this lacks. Despite the lack of sophistication, the important parts look like they are here and would get the job done- for example, while it is slide-based, it also quizzes you during the slides, so you have to pay some attention (and recall previous lectures). And it works in Linux, so it is likely to work on the Mac as well- something my LSAT prep could not do, in part because of the audio requirements.

Given how little I've used this, and given how much different people's study needs vary, I can't say that I can recommend this without reservation- but it certainly merits looking at if you're a 1L who wants to look at online options for studying for your core classes.

[Disclaimer: LSS contacted me and listed me as a 'blog they like', and gave me free access to their premium materials for this review, but otherwise I've received no compensation nor do I have any relationship with them. I reviewed them instead of ignoring them, like I do most linking/review requests, because of my long-standing interest in online education.]


Blogger david_simunovich said...

What makes this system that much more effective than Sum & Substance CDs or hard copy Examples & Explanations?

9/19/2007 10:19 PM  

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