Making the Most of Your First Year in Law School

Posted on 08-16-2016 by
Tags: Law School Faculty

As a first-year law student, you’ll face a gauntlet of challenges: Con Law, case briefings, the Socratic method, to name a few. To conquer these challenges, you’ll need some words of wisdom.  

So we recently asked a number of experienced legal professionals: How can first-year students succeed and get the most out of their law degrees?

By far, the most common advice was is to treat law school like a full-time job.  Attorneys recommended that incoming 1Ls allocate time to:

  • prepare and attend classes
  • study
  • read the cases and supporting materials
  • prepare outlines
  • attend study groups

Several attorneys urged first-year students to stay on top of assignments and reading. The first year of law school is the most challenging, as students strive to learn the ropes and keep up with an immense workload.

Further, many attorneys stressed that the first year of law school is very important to future employment. 

“First-year grades lead to second-year internships and third-year job offers.” 

But grades aren’t everything.  Also important to a law student- being active and varying one’s legal resume. Several attorneys advised students to:

  • write for journals to gain additional legal writing experience;
  • volunteer for projects and student groups;
  • participate in moot court or mock trials.

Another great piece of advice from attorneys: network, network, network. Get to know fellow students, most of whom will become fellow colleagues in the legal world. Likewise, law students should get to know the faculty, including professors and law librarians. When trying to secure a job or connect with others in the legal industry. These contacts can be invaluable both during law school and after graduation.

A final piece of advice: law students must take care of themselves, physically and mentally. Attorneys who responded stressed the importance of maintaining balance between school and other personal interests to avoid “burn out." Law school is a three-year process, and it’s important for incoming students to make time to work out, eat healthy, get sleep and relax.

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