You’ve been studying for the LSAT so much that you dream about logic games. You just saw your favourite actor in a multimillion dollar commercial and all you can think about is the two logical flaws in the ad. While talking to your year-long crush at a party you soliloquized for six minutes on strategic reading. It’s most definitely time for a break from the LSAT.
In fact, no matter how hard core your studying, you should be taking a full day off from the LSAT every week. There are other, more user-friendly, ways to prepare for law school – in particular, every prospective law student should watch the following four movies.
#4: A Few Good Men
There’s no law school in this movie, but there are a lot of dramatic court scenes. What litigator hasn’t wanted to cross examine a hostile Jack Nicholson and get him to admit to ordering the Code Red? Not to spoil the movie for anyone, but check out this dialogue:
Judge Randolph: *Consider yourself in Contempt!*
Kaffee: *Colonel Jessep, did you order the Code Red?*
Judge Randolph: You *don’t* have to answer that question!
Col. Jessep: I’ll answer the question!
Col. Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I think I’m entitled to.
Col. Jessep: *You want answers?*
Kaffee: *I want the truth!*
Col. Jessep: *You can’t handle the truth!*
#3: My Cousin Vinny
I was teaching reading comp the other day and we reviewed a passage about maintaining tribal languages. The tribe used in the passage as an example is the Northern Utes, which always reminds me of My Cousin Vinny.
Vinny isn’t your traditional lawyer; in fact, he’s anything but. However, it’s impossible not to root for Joe Pesci and his client, the eternally “Uteful” Ralph Macchio (who must have been 40 when he filmed the Karate Kid, so he was probably 55 by the time My Cousin Vinny came out).
Also, since it took bumbling Vinny 6 tries to pass the New York bar, the movie is inspirational for those who didn’t quite hit their LSAT goal on the first one (or five) attempts.
#2: Legally Blonde
I’m not saying that Legally Blonde is a thinking person’s movie, or that it accurately depicts the law school experience, but it’s certainly fun to watch. Elle Woods has even less courtroom training than Vinny, but still manages to use her street (or more aptly named “salon”) smarts to outfox a hostile witness and save the day.
Legally Blonde is also one of a very few movies that involves the LSAT. Even though Elle didn’t take a Kaplan course, she managed to go from a 143 on her diagnostic to a whopping 179 on test day. I’m not sure that her study methods work for everyone (and, sadly, very few of us a have a sorority full of sisters to lend a study hand), but it’s hard to argue with that kind of success. Elle also chose to forgo the standard personal statement and submitted a video featuring herself in a hot tub instead – definitely a bold move for those of you considering it.
#1: The Paper Chase
The Paper Chase should be mandatory viewing for all future law students. The movie has a bit of everything that the first year student will face – pressure, drama, romance and an old-school pompous professor with a heart of gold (well, OK, the “heart of gold” part was dramatic license).
The movie is extremely well written and acted (John Houseman won an Oscar for his role). It’s also dear to my heart because, even though the interior scenes were mostly shot on location at Harvard, much of the movie was filmed in Toronto (including a scene at a hotel just down the street from the Kaplan offices!).
Once you’re done with the LSAT, you should also check out the 4 seasons of The Paper Chase television series.