Your Brain and Law School

A Context and Practice Book

by Marybeth Herald

Tags: Context and Practice Series, Law School Study Aids

Table of Contents (PDF)

184 pp  $29.00

ISBN 978-1-61163-226-2
eISBN 978-1-5310-0106-3

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Based on the latest research, this entertaining, practical guide offers law students a formula for success in school, on the bar exam, and as a practicing attorney. Mastering the law, either as a law student or in practice, becomes much easier if one has a working knowledge of the brain's basic habits. Before you can learn to think like a lawyer, you have to have some idea about how the brain thinks. The first part of this book translates the technical research, explaining learning strategies that work for the brain in law school specifically, and calling out other tactics that are useless (though often popular lures for the misinformed). This book is unique in explaining the science behind the advice and will save you from pursuing tempting shortcuts that will take you in the wrong direction.

The second part explores the brain's decision-making processes and cognitive biases. These biases affect the ability to persuade, a necessary skill of the successful lawyer. The book talks about the art and science of framing, the seductive lure of the confirmation and egocentric biases, and the egocentricity of the availability bias. This book uses easily recognizable examples from both law and life to illustrate the potential of these biases to draw humans to mistaken judgments. Understanding these biases is critical to becoming a successful attorney and gaining proficiency in fashioning arguments that appeal to the sometimes quirky processing of the human brain.

This book is part of the Context and Practice Series, edited by Michael Hunter Schwartz, Professor of Law and Dean of the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific.

Your Brain and Law School was a finalist in the Best Published Self-Help and Psychology category of the 2015 San Diego Book Awards

A few of us in legal education reform have proposed teaching methods for law schools that draw on cognitive psychology and educational scholarship from other fields. Now, Marybeth Herald has taken this one step further: she has written a book for law students explaining how the brain learns and makes decisions and how these insights affect how students should approach law school ... I hope that first year law professors will recommend Your Brain and Law School to their students. I believe that students who read this book will have a significant advantage over those students who don't. Law professors should read this book, too. It will teach them a few things about how they should be teaching their students."

— Legal Skills Prof Blog
In short, [this book] will help 1Ls understand what 'normal' feels like when you are a 1L and also helps them know when their reasoning process might need correcting. It's the only book I know of that addresses these topics."

— Julia Belian, Detroit Mercy Law Summer Reading Recommendation