5 infallible techniques to succeed in a law degree

COACH’S ADVICE – Rémi Raher, head of tutorials at the University of Nantes and author of numerous textbooks, delivers five tips to validate this year’s license brilliantly.

The first year of Law can be dangerous. New methodology, many notions to assimilate, very different pace of work than the high school … Rémi Raher, doctoral student in law and tutor at the University of Nantes, quickly realized that novice lawyers had need benchmarks and advice failing: only 40% of students pass the first year of license.

In 2011, he launched a website where he published summaries of his TD and methodology sheets. He is also the author of the Chronique guide of a law student – my advice to get your L1 by taking pleasure(edition Enrick). “I developed the juriswin methodology that allows students to know all the fundamentals of the methodology of law and to master all the exercises, be it the dissertation, the stop comment or the practical case”, explains he.

We must focus on the methodology, even if the bottom is not excellent because it counts for seven to nine points in the scale. As an instructor of TD, I have already put the average to students mastering the methodology, even if the bottom left to be desired; and poor grades for students who had worked but did not apply this methodology. So with the methodology and a little background, we make sure the average. In any case, the bottom comes with the method.1. The methodology is your passport for the second year

2. You have to think outside the box

The first year at university can be confusing because we are less supervised. It also means that we can work as we want. For example, some students do mind maping , which can be effective. This freedom must be used, whether in note-taking or revisions.

3. Make good use of your time

Watching the full Ally Mcbeal series is not revising (laughs). At the university semesters are short but also more intense. My advice is to start reviewing during long vacations, including preparing for TD. When I was a student, I made revision sheets on my way home, after classes and they did not even serve me because the simple fact of having revised the concepts twice in the same day was enough. I also advise to engage in a student association, it can help develop its network and find an internship thereafter.

In first year, it is better to choose the option that interests you.

4. Exploit its managers

TD staffers are seeking exchanges with students and they themselves are important sources of information. For example, before an exam, the student can ask what will be the scale, what will be the test, and the instructor can give indications. This saves time. The charge can also advise you on books to read, references. You have to take advantage of this because contact is easier than with lecturers. This allows especially to comply with the expectations of the responsible who will correct your copy.

5. Dedramatize because it is not a matter of life or death

It is necessary to relativize. For example, the choice of options is not decisive for the master. Better to choose the option that interests you. In first year of law, nothing is at stake. It is less serious to repeat the first year than the master 1. This will have no impact on the future.

How to become a lawyer?

Unless you are a doctor of law or have practiced for more than eight years as a lawyer, if you want to wear a black dress one day, you have to go through a series of exams, which require serious preparation. Zoom on the course that leads to the courtyards.

Want to take the bar exam? Start by enrolling in a judicial studies institute (YEI), where you can prepare for the entrance examination at the Regional Center for Professional Legal Education (CRFPA). It is in this structure that you will prepare a second (and final) exam: the famous Capa (certificate of aptitude to the profession of lawyer).

IEJ: compulsory registration, but optional courses

To pass the bar exam, you must hold a M1 in law, or an IEP diploma (or any other diploma deemed equivalent by a commission). Future lawyers then enroll in an Institute of Judicial Studies (YEI). One can opt for one of his faculty of origin, or another of his choice (knowing that the examination is more or less difficult according to YEI). Attached to the university, this structure has for mission to organize the examination of the CRFPA but also to prepare, during a school year, the students by means of courses of legal news and sessions of white exams.

Courses are not mandatory and you can choose to prepare yourself by other means, but one tip: you have to start working a year in advance.

More and more candidates are turning to private preparations, such as ISP or Capavocat, which provide quality intensive courses over summer periods of six to eight weeks. However, if the success rate within these structures is high, registration fees (between 800 and 2500 €) may limit more than one.

The CRFPA Entrance Exam: The “Grand O” Course

Regionally organized, the relatively selective examination (around 35% admitted) consists of two types of tests:

● written eligibility tests

● oral tests, which determine admission. Among them, we find: the large oral commonly called “big O”, the bête noire of student-lawyers. And for good reason: this decisive test that focuses on fundamental rights and freedoms is more like a job interview than a simple control of knowledge where the candidate will be judged on his ability to bounce and express his ideas.

Attention: to enter the CRFPA, you must obtain the average on the exam, so you are not competing with the other candidates, but you can not attend more than three times. Beyond that, you will have to turn to other careers.

CRFPA training

The training at the bar’s school is divided into three periods of eighteen months, knowing that the order varies according to the school:

● A relatively light theoretical training on the fundamentals, particularly on the ethics, status and practical aspects of the legal profession. This training is common to all student lawyers.

● The realization of an individual educational project (PPI) which consists of an internship in a company or a jurisdiction, or even with other legal professionals such as notaries or bailiffs. Objective: to broaden its field of observation in social and professional circles directly related to the practice of law. Note that it is also possible to do a professional Master 2 with the agreement of his CRFPA.

● An internship in a law firm during which the student will discover his future job for the first time since the beginning of his studies. The internship makes it possible to acquire the professional skills necessary for an activity of full exercise but above all, it often leads to a collaboration. For this reason it is recommended to choose your course carefully, knowing that it is sometimes better to opt for a less prestigious firm that will offer you real prospects for the future.

The Capa (Certificate of Aptitude of the Profession of Lawyer): the last straight line

The test is much less selective than the CRFPA, as evidenced by the figures (98.8% of success in 2013!), Capa issued at the end of the training at the school allows graduates to take immediate oath before the Court of Appeal and to register at the bar of their choice. If they wish, they can create their own firm or, more frequently, become a collaborator within a firm with the significant possibility of developing their own clientele in parallel.