Demystifying Cold Calling in Law School: A Comprehensive Guide

3 min read
26 September 2023

Have you ever wondered what is a cold call in law school? It's a term that often induces anxiety and fear among law students. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of cold calling and provide you with all the information you need to navigate this challenging aspect of law school.

Understanding Cold Calling

What is a Cold Call?

A cold call in law school refers to a teaching method where professors randomly call on students to answer questions during class. This technique is used to gauge students' understanding of the material, promote critical thinking, and encourage active participation.

The Purpose of Cold Calling

Cold calling serves multiple purposes in legal education:

  • Engagement: Cold calling keeps students engaged in the learning process by requiring them to actively participate in class discussions.
  • Preparation: It encourages students to thoroughly prepare for each class, as they never know when they might be called upon to contribute.
  • Critical Thinking: Cold calling is designed to develop students' ability to analyze legal issues on the spot and think critically about complex legal concepts.

Strategies for Success

Surviving cold calls in law school requires preparation, confidence, and effective communication skills. Here are some strategies to help you excel in this challenging aspect of legal education:

1. Be Prepared

  • Complete the assigned readings before each class to ensure you have a solid understanding of the material.
  • Take detailed notes during your readings to aid in your comprehension and retention of the information.
  • Develop a system for organizing your notes and highlighting key points for quick reference.

2. Active Participation

  • Actively participate in class discussions, even when you are not directly called upon. Engage with your classmates and contribute to the conversation.
  • Listen attentively to your classmates' responses to learn from their insights and perspectives.
  • Ask thoughtful questions to further explore the topic and demonstrate your engagement.

3. Confidence and Composure

  • Approach cold calls with confidence and composure. Remember that everyone is in the same boat, and mistakes are part of the learning process.
  • Take a deep breath and think before answering. It's okay to pause and gather your thoughts before responding.
  • Be concise and articulate in your responses. Focus on providing a clear and logical analysis of the issue at hand.

4. Seek Feedback

  • Embrace feedback as an opportunity for growth. If you make a mistake during a cold call, use it as a learning experience and strive to improve.
  • Seek feedback from your professors and classmates to gain insights into your strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Take advantage of resources such as office hours and study groups to further enhance your understanding of the material.


Cold calling in law school may seem daunting at first, but with proper preparation and a positive mindset, you can thrive in this challenging environment. Remember to stay engaged, be confident, and seek feedback to continuously improve. Embrace the cold call as an opportunity to develop your critical thinking and analytical skills, and you'll be well on your way to success in law school.

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