Dad of Divas' Reviews: Book Review - A Short and Happy Guide to Being a Law Student

Friday, April 4, 2014

Book Review - A Short and Happy Guide to Being a Law Student

A Short and Happy Guide to Being a Law Student
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About the Book
In this important volume, Prof. Paula Franzese, a nationally acclaimed educator, shares essential wisdom on how to be one’s best self in law school, in the practice of law and in life. A SHORT & HAPPY GUIDE TO BEING A LAW STUDENT is an inspirational companion for law students and practitioners. It presents five guideposts for success as well as indispensable advice on how to prepare for class, how to succeed in class and on exams, how to do well on job interviews and how to find meaning in the practice of law. For the past three decades, Paula A. Franzese, the Peter W. Rodino professor of Property, Commercial Law, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and First Amendment Values at Seton Hall Law School, has shared the messages in this book with her students. The result is this compendium to help students of all ages to find success and significance on the law’s path.

Dispelling the cynic’s view of the legal profession, the book presents cause for hope and celebration in the promise and practice of law. It offers heartwarming motivation and useful insights as it guides students and practitioners on how to navigate the challenges of law school, career and daily life. A SHORT & HAPPY GUIDE TO BEING A LAW STUDENT presents the antidote for fear, worry and doubt and an answer to the naysayers.

The book sets forth ways to cope with stress, how to create value in and out of class and at work, how to find teachers and mentors who inspire, what to do in classes and jobs that are uninspiring, how to use social media responsibly, how to find the right career path, how to handle conflict or adversity, what to do before the semester ends, how to prepare for exams and how to avoid common exam-taking pitfalls.


  • A primer on how to read a case book
  • How to be prepared for class
  • How to use the language of the law to shine in class
  • How to present a case, an oral argument or a speech
  • What do to when you get called on but do not have an answer
  • What do to in classes that leave you uninspired
  • How to build an outline to review and study the course material
  • The interview: How to make a good first impression
  • Exam preparation’s seven points of light
  • Exam-taking: Writing a good essay and preparing for objective questions

More than a just a practical, down-to-earth guidebook, A SHORT & HAPPY GUIDE TO BEING A LAW STUDENT inspires and motivates the student and practitioner to pursue excellence and integrity in the pursuit of equal access to justice for all.


Paula A. Franzese, the Peter W. Rodino Professor of Law at Seton Hall Law School, is the creator and editor of the Short and Happy Guide series, and is the author of A Short and Happy Guide to Property and A Short and Happy Guide to Being a Law Student. She is an accomplished scholar in the arenas of government ethics, social justice and the allocation of property rights. Nationally renowned for her excellence in teaching, she is the unprecedented ten-time recipient of the Student Bar Association’s Professor of the Year Award, has been named “Exemplary Teacher” by the American Association of Higher Education and most recently was named one of only 26 “best law teachers in the United States.’’

My Take on the Book
As a college administrator at a law school, I am always looking for new resources that embody the experience of the law student so that I can delve deeper into better understanding of the law student experience. This book was an interesting read and I have to say that the author truly knows her subject matter and shares it in such a way that you know she has experienced and through her examples you are drawn even further into the law student mind and shared experience.

I loved how practical the book was. The author covers almost everything that I would consider having in a book of this topic (and even more than I would have thought). In the end the author transcends her role as a dispassionate voice but instead places herself out there for all to respond too.

I learned quite a bit from this book and I foresee that you will too!

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