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Time: An Empirical Analysis of Law Student Time Management Deficiencies

57 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2012 Last revised: 30 Jun 2013

Christine P. Bartholomew

SUNY Buffalo Law School

Date Written: August 26, 2012


This Article begins the much needed research on law students’ time famine. Time management complaints begin early in students’ legal education and generally go unresolved. As a result, practicing attorneys identify time famine as a leading cause of job dissatisfaction. To better arm graduating students, law schools must treat time as an essential component of practice-readiness. Unfortunately, most law schools ignore their students’ time management concerns, despite growing calls for greater “skills” training in legal education.

To date, legal scholarship has overlooked psychological research on time management. Yet, this research is an essential starting point to effective instruction. Rather than viewing time management as a singular concept, this research shows it is actually multi-dimensional, compromised of multiple time structure skills and behaviors. This more nuanced understanding of time management means each dimension can be isolated, measured, and remediated. Rather than a shotgun approach, law schools can tailor instruction to law students’ specific deficiencies.

To help identify these deficiencies, this Article presents a psychometric study of 1Ls – the first study to ever quantify law students’ time management problems. The study identifies five specific dimensions 1Ls lack: perceived control, present orientation, structured routine, goal setting, and mechanics. Using this information, the Article offers tailored advice on incorporating skills across the curriculum to help remedy these deficiencies. By learning foundational time management skills during law school, students have at least a fighting chance of managing time famine in practice.

Keywords: legal education, legal practice, time management, pedagogy, legal skills

Suggested Citation

Bartholomew, Christine P., Time: An Empirical Analysis of Law Student Time Management Deficiencies (August 26, 2012). University of Cincinnati Law Review, Vol. 81, No. 3, 2013; SUNY Buffalo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-008. Available at SSRN: or

Christine P. Bartholomew (Contact Author)

SUNY Buffalo Law School ( email )

School of Law
528 O'Brian Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100
United States

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