Law School Students: 1L Prep Boiled Down to a LinkedIn Reply

Posted on 08-18-2017 by
Tags: 1L , Law school , law students

just ask post-it

Law school can raise a lot of questions. If you're a new student or soon to be one, don't be afraid to seek advice. 

 

To all the future law students and newbie 1Ls, here’s some important advice:

ASK!


As part of your law school prep, ask lawyers for their insights:

  • what to expect
  • how to prepare
  • things to read

ASK! ASK! ASK!

Ask lawyers, and you’ll be surprised by their advice and their willingness to share.

I’m a living example of this because someone asked me.

LinkedIn for Law Students: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

A while ago, an individual sent me a LinkedIn connection request. My practice is to accept and respond with a personal note, which I did. His follow-up then mentioned that he was planning for law school. So I responded back with this (name redacted to protect the innocent): 

And kudos to him—he ASKED!


Ask (via LinkedIn) and Thou Shalt Receive

I’m 17 years removed from law school, and I haven’t practiced law in 14 years. Despite this, I took a crack at the what-would-you-recommend question. Thinking back to law school, here’s what I said:

Hi [redacted],

Happy to try and help you. Here's some advice:

  1. Learn how to brief a case. The two methods—FIRAC/IRAC—are pretty much identical.
  2. Access a free trial for Lexis Advance. I work for Lexis, and we offer a free, 7-day trial at https://www.lexisnexis.com/en-us/products/lexis-advance.page. With a free trial, you can start familiarizing yourself with legal research.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the Bluebook, which is the uniform standard for citing in legal documents. You can purchase one at https://www.legalbluebook.com/.
  4. Download examples of various legal documents - complaint, answer, motion for summary judgment, motion to dismiss, etc. Familiarize yourself with the formatting and style.
  5. Find some famous Supreme Court cases (even those cases you disagree with) and read them. Some will be long and complex, but these will help you understand/read complex legal opinions. Try Brown v. Brd of Ed, Miranda, Roe v. Wade, Gideon v. Wainwright.
  6. Volunteer at a law firm somewhere. Make sure this is what you want to do! The law isn't always like you see on T.V.—sometimes it is, but sometimes it's very tedious and boring. And after paying for your law degree, sometimes it can be hard to find a job.
  7. Follow/read legal blogs. Some good ones: The Lawyerist, Above the Law, ABA Journal, Bob Ambrogi, Kevin O'Keefe, Dewey B Strategic, Ron Friedmann, Nicole Black.
  8. Attend free webinars to start your learning. LexisNexis offers tons of free webinars.
  9. Build your social media profilee.g.,follow important people, share important info (especially via LinkedIn). Some firms will research your digital footprint/online reputation. If you don't have either, this can be a red flag.
  10. Author a legal blog. This is a great way to build your digital footprint and (eventually) provide proof of your thought leadership. Blogging also helps organize your thinking.
  11. Sharpen your writing and research skills. They're top legal skills, but upon graduation, they're often lacking.
  12. Debt ... think of it like the plague. From day one, your goal is to work a miracle and graduate debt free.  
  13. Read the The Buffalo Creek Disaster. It's a novel/true story, and it was required reading for my 1L Civ Pro class. Other good readsThe Paper Chase and 1L (by Scott Turow), which both provide an honest (but maybe a little out-of-date) depiction of law school.

So that was my advice to this future law student. Three years of law school knowledge reduced to a 4 x 8 inch LinkedIn reply.

And to any lawyers who slogged through my blabber-fest:17 years was a long time ago for me. I might've mis-remembered; I might've missed something. If there’s more I can offer this student (or any students reading), please leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

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