Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

News Release

Professors Pen Advice Book September 10, 2010
Professors Pen Advice Book

In response to first-year student requests for some practical, no-nonsense advice about law school, Vice Dean Austen Parrish and Professor Cristina Knolton have written Hard-Nosed Advice from a Cranky Law Professor: How to Succeed in Law School (Carolina Academic Press, 2010), a helpful and humorous book for law students.

"In some ways, they were tired of just hearing that law school was 'hard work,' without any clear guidance as to why it was difficult," Dean Parrish said. "Cristina [Knolton] and I saw a need for a book that explained in a succinct, straight-taking and hopefully humorous way what is expected of students when they begin law school."

In 2008, Dean Parrish wrote a short piece, "Professor Expectations" to explain what he anticipated from his students, but he didn't hand it out because he felt it might have been a bit "too harsh." However, it gave him the idea that writing a book in the same tone would be fun. (It later became the book's third chapter.)

After writing a few chapters and outlining the book's basic idea, Professor Parrish struggled to finish. He enlisted help from Professor Knolton, who loved what he had written, and used it with her first-year legal writing course. Her students provided useful feedback.

"I was thrilled when Dean Parrish asked me to collaborate on the book," Professor Knolton said. "We agreed on what advice should be given to students... and when I finished a chapter, I tweaked the tone the best I could, knowing Dean Parrish would put on the finishing touches."

With a Facebook fan page, the book is generating some buzz online including a recommendation on Kansas University School of Law's Admitted Students Site.

"My biggest hope for the publication is that students will enjoy reading it and laugh as much as I did when I read the first chapter," Professor Knolton said. "Beyond that, I hope the advice given will help students - even in the smallest way - to succeed during their three years of law school."

Here's where the book can be found: