Starting a study group with other law students provides a wealth of benefits. It brings you together with others who are learning the same material, giving each member helpful feedback. However, your goal is to create a study group beneficial to everyone, which makes it important to create a few ground rules.
Select Participants Cautiously
While you want a diverse selection of students, you still want to be selective in who you ask to join your group. In general, you will want to look for students who are highly driven. Law students who seem to be coasting by or who aren’t as dedicated to excelling will bring down the quality of your group. If you want your group to be beneficial, look for students who are motivated to achieve higher honors.
Keep it Small
Large study groups are ineffective because they don’t give everyone the chance to participate. Your group should have at least three members and no more than six. This gives you the chance to bring in diverse viewpoints without bringing in too many voices. A maximum of six students will help keep discussions moving without too much irrelevant discussion.
Keep a Rigid Schedule
You should also set up a schedule that your study group follows consistently throughout the semester. If you decide to meet in the library every Tuesday night at 7:00 pm, make sure you stick to that routine. If there’s a need to make a sudden change, such as the library closing to honor a holiday, be sure you can reach each member of the group. This requires maintaining a database of names and phone numbers and keeping that information confidential.
One moderator should lead your group. If you don’t feel comfortable filling that role, ask the group to nominate someone else. Additionally, be sure to assign material to each individual to ensure everyone will come to the group prepared for the discussion. Assigning material in advance will also ensure everyone in the group gets equal attention.
As you organize your study group, it will also be important to create a course of study. Since specific cases are rarely the topic of exam questions, it may be wasteful to spend your time on them. Instead, consult your law professors for insight into good topics for your study group.