Don't dread getting

called on in class.


While “it depends” is an appropriate answer in many legal contexts, that can’t be your go-to answer when you’re called on in class.

Someday soon, you are going to have to give a substantive, confident answer to a question posed by your professor. The best way to think on your feet is to do the legwork ahead of time.

You want to show up prepared and ready to tackle any questions that come your way.



Put the worry aside with these tips for how to handle cold calling.

Brief your cases

You know all that reading you do? Well, sometimes it is easy to forget, especially when you are put on the spot. Brief your cases ahead of time not only to benefit your outlines and studying, but also as a resource to turn to in class as a reminder. Ran out of time? That is okay. Pull up your case in Westlaw and look at our Headnotes to know more.


Read the commentary

Restatements and Federal Rules are super important and often make up the bulk of your outline, but don’t forget to look at the commentary! That is where the nuggets will make you stand out in class.  You will find here examples of analysis, more context around the restatement/rule, and how these are designed to be applied. Forgot your book? All Restatements and Rules are located on Westlaw, including the commentary – which discusses what the rule does and how it’s applied.


Pay attention

Don’t stop listening in class just because you don’t think you are going to be called on. Pay attention to the questions the professor is asking, because they will most likely start to follow a pattern. Watch for that same pattern on your exam.



Reading every case isn’t going to totally prepare you for class, nor exams. You have to engage with the material. Look at hypotheticals, ask questions and use variations of the facts in the casebook to test out how you would apply the law in practice.


Do you know your legal stuff?

Do you know when a federal court has subject matter jurisdiction over a non-class action case? If you do, you are a litigation rockstar.

How to survive in law school

When the moment happens, don’t panic.
Tell yourself to breathe deep and tap into your inner gunner.

Explore the Guide

Looking for something else?
Explore these other topics in the Law School Survival Guide.


Get the 411 on terms you'll need to know throughout Law School