How to Cheat in Law School

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I’m considering posting a list of ways to cheat in law school, and would appreciate your feedback on whether this would be a good idea.

During law school, you often hear rumors about cheating. It’s only natural to think about how law students cheat. What methods did they use? I’ve talked with law school friends a number of times about how frustrating it is when a law school professor designs a law school exam in such a way that cheating can more easily occur.

Incentives to Cheat

It goes without saying that law school is very competitive. Good grades go a long way when job hunting. Good grades also affect eligibility for law school scholarships, law review, graduating with academic honors, and more. Thus, the incentive to cheat in law school can be high.

Why Do Cheating Loopholes Exist?

I doubt that law professors leave open loopholes in their law school exams. They are probably focused more on delivering a good exam and their other responsibilities. As a result, creative law students can find a number of ways to cheat.

Is Posting Ways to Cheat in Law School Ethical?

I struggle with whether posting a list of ways to cheat in law school ethical. Would such a list be used by law professors to close the loopholes that allow law students to cheat or would it provide law students additional ideas.

First, I realize few law professors will read this post, and website traffic tends to come from law students, since that is the focus of this blog.

However, I think most law students already know a number of ways to cheat in law school, and such an article may serve primarily to enlighten professors who had not considered these methods.

That is, a list of ways to cheat in law school would reveal little to law students, but could serve to assist professors. Of course, this assumes that law school professors would (1) read this list, and (2) alter their testing methods.

It may help if each cheating method had a suggestion for law professors regarding how to close that particular loophole. All of the loopholes I think of could be closed entirely or closely observed to substantially reduce cheating.

The benefits of reducing cheating in law school are (1) a level playing field for law students, (2) students are less tempted to cheat because they don’t fear others are cheating and cheating is needed just to keep up.

Take Home Exams

One example of a loophole in law school exam procedures is the take-home exam.

Take-home exams are the worst. Professors often tell students that their only resource can be the class textbook and class notes.

But what student isn’t tempted to look at their purchased study aid? Some students work at law firms or have family members who are attorneys, so they have attorneys with whom they can casually discuss the issues on their exam without anyone at law school ever knowing.

This “loophole,” if you will, can be closed merely by law professors requiring that the exam be taken as an in-classroom open-note exam for an extended period of time. That is, law professors can still give students the entire day to work on the exam, but by ensuring that students do the exam in the classroom, law professors can ensure that students only used approved resources and cannot talk to attorneys.

Serial Cheaters

It is possible that law students who cheat actually shop for professors who have a certain type of exam that makes cheating more convenient.

What Do You Think?

If you are a law student or law professor, would you add a comment here regarding whether you think a list of ways to cheat in law school would serve to improve the practice of law school exams? Your feedback will be the primary basis for determining whether to publish such a list. Thank you in advance for your input.

6 Responses to “How to Cheat in Law School”

  1. Starving Trial Lawyer Says:

    Wow–you have way too much time on your hands. When I was a 2&3L, I was too busy selling outlines to scared 1Ls to care about cheating. I mean buying outlines from me was no different than buying them at the bookstore or downloading them off the net. I figured, 1Ls will give their hard-earned student loan money to someone, and it might as well be me.

    Furthermore, what are these ethics of which you speak? They still bother teaching that idealistic nonsense?

    Seeing as I am feeling generous today, I will help with your ethical quandry and help you cheat all at once. All you need to know for ethics is 1) don’t sleep with your client; 2) don’t steal your client’s money and 3) don’t wait 1 month to return a phone call. Thats it–all you need to know in the real world.

    As far as methods of cheating on tests, there is always the eyepatch method, but that requires a whole four months of disclipline and willingness to look like a pirate in class. You can try and sneak books in or program notes into a phone or some other electronic device, but most profs will catch you and it is really not worth the effort.

    The most surefire way to cheat however is to log onto webmd, memorize all the symptoms of A.D.D. and then doctor shop until you find one who will diagnose you. Armed with this, you can demand your lawschool provide you with a seperate testing room, access to all your books, and unlimited testing time–no law school wants to violate the ADA after all!

    http://starvingtriallawyer.blogspot.com/

  2. Anon Says:

    I understand completely your concern for cheating. We have open book finals where we can take anything in the room with us. We can prepare our rules ahead of time. I recently found out my friends have been writing their rules together (the one that is in the top 10 of the class is writing them) and my other friend has been reaping the benefits. I expressed my concern while we were preparing for the test together that if we all used this same rule section it would be cheating. They said they had been doing it all along. Am I just paranoid or is this really unacceptable behavior? Wouldn’t it be the same as plagiarism to have someone else write part of “your” work? I wondered why she had all of the sudden been able to boost her GPA far above mine, & now I know it’s because she has someone in the top 10 of the class writing part of her exams ahead of time. It really frustrates me in this competitive environment those that play fair are the ones being punished.

  3. Mr T Says:

    Anon, stop crying. If you are not clever enough to find other ways of doing well then its your own fault. This kind of thing happens in the real world and if you want any success you have to find ways of getting ahead!

  4. Tallytwhacker Says:

    What ever happened to just using raw cerebral power. All this talk about how to get ahead in the real world really amounts to a lot of rhetoric. When one cheats, the only one actually short changed in the long run is the cheater themself. Ultimately, they are the ones shorcutting the knowlege necessary to stand on their own. Somehow, somewhere, someday, there will not be somebody more adept than they are adjacent to them to lean on. On that day they will be assessed on a level playing field. On that day they will be judged and found wanting.

    Reality is a grey matter issue related to the degree of grey matter between the ears of the subject being assessed. Take the time to do the work. Take the time to do the work twice, the third time is a charm. In the long run having the material and being able to access it through the internal archive of your own mind will ultimately result in a positive outcome. Who on Earth would give such a significant degree of status to another adjacent to them? If one human being can know anything, then all human beings can know anything. Do not elevate those around you to a status they are unlikely to actually be entitled to by presuming the knowledge they have is somehow more valuable than your own.
    After all this isn’t rocket science and if it were even Newton had to develop his own brand of mathemmatics in order to advance his ideas. Cheating is a termm used by those who are destined to deceive no one but themselves. In the long run, this only becomes evident at the times when they need the information most.
    Being frustrated due to playing by the rules is merely being shallow enough to be concerned about the moment and clever is identifying things nobody has ever cnceived of not using the ideas of others. Clever is creating calculus to solve for gravity not cheating in which case gravity would have never been found. How the hell does one find what has never been discovered by asking someone else?

  5. meho Says:

    Best cheat: go to doc and get a note for extra time on exams.

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