“Beer + Pizza = Success.” The key formula for law students.

Beer plus pizza equals success

During Constitutional Law I at Denver University last Spring, I diagrammed for the students one of the most important study tips for law students: “Beer + Pizza = Success”.

No matter how relentlessly a student raises his hand during class, the maximum amount of speaking practice that can come from classroom participation is a few hours over the course of the entire school year. If you go out for beer and pizza with your fellow students, you can have vastly more hours of sharpening your argumentation skills, practicing how to speak persuasively and concisely, finding the strengths and weaknesses in different arguments, and so on. Your beer and pizza time doesn’t have to be devoted to rehashing the cases you’re studying. Whether you and your friends are talking about politics, sports, or whatever else interests you, you will probably learn a lot from your fellow students, and you will definitely strengthen some of the essential skills for becoming a successful attorney.

At the University of Michigan during the 1980s, pizza and Stroh’s beer at The Brown Jug were our key tools for self-directed learning. I have heard that these days some students instead use wine and salad.  That may work fine for some people, although I have never seen this tested in the law school context; Michigan in the early 1980s, with Professors such as Francis Allen, Whitmore Gray, Bev Pooley, and Theodore St. Antoine, favored the traditional and rigorous version of the 1L curriculum.