How I Use the 1L Mastery to Survive the Day-to-Day

Mara Masters, 1L at Emory Law

Hi! My name is Mara and now that Stephanie has graduated to the 2L life, I am taking over here at the 1L Life.

If you’re reading this, that probably means you are either my mom (Hi mom!) or that you have made it through the first few weeks of Law School! Congratulations! Ignore the nagging feeling that you understand less about the law than when you started and remind yourself of everything you’ve accomplished. Now remind yourself again. Law school is hard, but you can crush it.

If you still feel weighed down by how little you understand about the law, don’t worry. I get it. That’s one of the reasons I love the BARBRI 1L Mastery Package. Another reason is that just like every other student at Emory Law, immediately after I was sworn into the profession, I also swore undying loyalty to Professor Freer. I have no problems with this, because I am the weirdo who actually loves Civ Pro.

1L Mastery Package is for the start of the semester just as much as for the end.

Jokes aside though, here are some ways I use it in my day-to-day work:

  • To illuminate the overarching concepts that I can’t piece together from the case readings.

I am a global thinker to a fault.

You know the adage, “don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees?” My problem is more like I am standing in a forest and can’t tell that what is in front of me is a tree because I don’t realize that I am in a forest.

For better or worse, we learn the law through inductive processes. That’s extra difficult when you are learning dense material that often seems to defy logic. I often find myself standing right in front of Promissory Estoppel and can’t tell that I am in Contracts. When this happens, I open up my 1L Outlines Book, and instantaneously have the immediate context for every concept. This helps me understand complex topics immensely more than re-reading cases does.

1L Notes
(Photo of study notes: My actual, hand-written notes on Consideration. Not pictured: the vat of coffee just outside the frame)

It also helps me refresh previous concepts. Can’t remember how personal jurisdiction works? No worries. I can go watch that lecture from Professor Freer on the BARBRI website and then take a follow-up quiz to make sure I understand it. (Side note: at Emory, we refer to Professor Freer’s lectures as “The Freer Tapes” as though they are top-secret FBI documents).

  • To define terms succinctly.

Do you remember when you were in elementary school and had to practice using context clues to define unfamiliar words? I often feel like that when reading casebooks. Legal jargon is dense, ya’ll. Sometimes using context clues doesn’t work and looking up terms online is more confusing than just going about my life in ignorance.

Dog reading
(Photo of Charley- I swear I did not bribe him with treats to wear those glasses in front of a BARBRI outline book. I found him like this. Swear.)

And sometimes I go online to look something up and come back to my textbook 40 minutes later with a new pair of boots from L.L.Bean and zero terms defined. That is neither here nor there. The point is that the 1L Outlines Book does a pretty excellent job at defining complex words simply enough that my elementary-school brain can handle it.

  • I’m thinking toward the endgame.

Good 1L Outlines are beefy.

I have held some in my hands that weigh literal pounds. They are intimidating – “A problem for future-Mara,” as I sometimes say. But by exposing myself regularly to very well constructed outlines, I am “photographing two birds with one exposure” (thank you Professor George Shepherd) – I am learning the material I need to learn and teaching myself the language of the outline at the same time!

  • Charley Likes It.

If you’re still not sure about whether 1L Mastery might be helpful to you, give it a try. It’s free for a limited time. Have any questions about how I use it or why I love Civ Pro? Reach out! You can find me on Instagram and Twitter at @the1Llife!