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<<"And the ones I came across, they just kind of seemed outdated to me, and I really felt that I didn't totally identify with the books because they were written by professors or attorneys that were 20 or 30 years removed from their law school experience, and just like any institution or anything in the world, law school changes over the years," Spizman said. "The approach to teaching, the approach to everything...it all changed. And so it was important for me to find a book I could relate to that seemed like it was written by someone who just went through the process recently, that knew what was going on."
Spizman figured he was as good a candidate as any to write this guide, and the concept of The Insider's Guide to Your First Year of Law School was born. The basic concept behind the book was to approach law students, law professors, and attorneys to ask them, "If you could do law school all over again, what would you do differently?" The book covers a wide variety of topics ranging from basic classes to exams to networking to how to win over your professors.
"The way I looked at it was they were relevant to me because these are all things I faced and every single law student is going to face. There's no way to backflip your way around an exam. You're going to have to face it, and because your grade is predominantly based on that, it's important to have a chapter about it," Spizman said. "And because you're going to have to network throughout law school to get those summer jobs or if you do anything, it was important for me to have a chapter about that. So I just really took the most relevant topics that every law school [student] will face…it's really just the basis for all of law school."
According to Spizman, his book takes unique approaches to several topics. In terms of time management, he never advocates using shortcuts, but he encourages students to use their time wisely, as time is of the essence in law school. If something can be done in an hour, do not take two. Do things efficiently, but don't use that as your crutch or take shortcuts, as doing so will affect your grade.
Another subject debated amongst law students is the use of study guides. Spizman said that while they are important (since they give you different viewpoints and perspectives), they should not replace studying or creating your own notes. Throughout the book, he takes arguments about controversial topics and dissects both sides.
While the book is geared predominantly toward 1Ls, Spizman said that many ideas and concepts discussed in the book are applicable to the subsequent years of law school as well. Exam-taking and networking skills can be utilized and honed throughout law school.
"It's building the foundation during your first year, and if you have that strong foundation, you can take these tools and use them pretty much anywhere," Spizman said.
<<Spizman graduated from Georgia State College of Law in 2006. During his time there, he worked as a student mentor for 1Ls and was a member of Phi Alpha Delta. He also helped with the Georgia State Fulton County Jail Pro Bono Program, which advocates for better conditions at the overpopulated and understaffed Georgia prison. According to Spizman, indigents were placed in the same cells as murderers and rapists, HIV patients were not receiving the proper medications, and inmates due for release remained in prison. His work, along with the work of other participants, led to the release of several inmates.
He also served as the Vice President of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society, which was one of his primary interests going into law school. Since graduating last year, Spizman has spent his time finishing up his book, studying for the bar exam (which he recently took), and applying for jobs at local law firms.
Spizman began working on The Insider's Guide at the end of his second year. He considers himself very lucky: both of the agents he pitched the book to loved the concept. He ended up choosing John Willig from Literary Services, Inc., mostly because he felt they would work well together. Once he gave the proposal to Willig, they fine-tuned the book, and three months later, he got an offer from Adams Media.
"We were happy to see that what he was trying to do could really fill a need in the marketplace," Willig said.
Willig had nothing but praise for Spizman. He called Spizman's style refreshing and admired the balance the young man had found between personal narrative and practical tips, something that is often difficult for new writers to achieve. Willig said that after he evaluated the book, he evaluated Spizman's character and reliability. He was very impressed with the way Spizman conducted himself, and they proceeded to work on the book together.
The book will be released nationally on April 10, but until then, it can be preordered on Amazon.com. Spizman hopes to author similar books in the future covering topics such as the first year of college, studying for the bar exam, and getting a job.
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