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Knew When Starting Law School

Five Things I Wish I Knew When Starting Law School

After any major accomplishment, those about to embark on the same journey have questions and concerns on what to expect. For law school hopefuls looking to ask questions to law school graduates, the story doesn’t change much. Inevitably, those on the verge of starting law school almost always ask graduates “what do you wish you knew beforehand?” For graduates, it’s a question that will likely conjure difficult, funny, stressful, and happy times during their law school experience. For those waiting for an answer, they’re likely scared and nervous about the response. While those seeking to attend law school have probably researched most formal sources, nothing beats asking an actual graduate. After all, watching movies like Legally Blonde and religiously stalking Reddit threads can only offer so much. With that being said, let’s get ready to spill the tea. Here are the top five things the staff at JD Advising wish they knew before going to law school.

Five Things I Wish I Knew When Starting Law School

No Homework, Assignments, Quizzes, Etc.…

In law school, there is never assigned homework that is turned in to the professor for a grade. Likewise, there are never any pop-up quizzes or assignments throughout the semester. While there is assigned reading to complete every night, there is nothing to check on whether you’re actually reading. The only mechanism for determining whether you’re up to date on the material is the professor calling on you. Trust us, after getting called on and not knowing the answer, you’re bound to be current with the readings!

The only thing your grade is based on is a single, scary, and time-consuming final exam. Check out the compilation of our best law school final exam posts here to help you prepare. That’s right – one exam at the end of the semester determines your whole grade for the class. You can’t rely on participation points, homework, quizzes, or assignments to protect your grade. The worst part? The final exam is curved, meaning that every single student in your class is competing against one another. The difference between an A and a B+ can be an incredibly slim margin.

IRAC Like Your Life Depends On It

If you’re planning to attend law school, you’ve probably never heard of the term “IRAC.” The term stands for issue, rule statement, analysis, and conclusion. This is the basic format that almost every law school student uses for answering essay questions. The format is used for analyzing and reviewing facts and legal issues within a given situation. The format becomes second nature to a law student and will carry them through to graduation and beyond. Seriously, this is the method you will use for essay questions on the Bar Exam and for drafting legal memos! Learn how to use IRAC on law school exams.

Life Doesn’t End When You Start Law School

Students planning on law school often worry that their lives end for three years and that no fun is possible. This simply isn’t true. Looking back on law school, there are a ton of great memories that graduates will have forever. For example, there’s bar review social events, Barrister’s Ball, late nights in the library with friends, a tight-knit study group, and more. Sure, you may not have the social life you enjoyed in undergrad or prior to law school, but that’s expected. Law school isn’t a place where you wake up, go to class, study, and go to sleep. There’s more to it than that and many of the friends you make end up being life-long friends and colleagues.

Learn To Love Outlining

Outlining in law school is like water to a fish. It’s essential for survival. If you don’t have much experience outlining, get as familiar with the process as possible before the start of classes. Pretty soon, you’ll be outlining with so many subheadings and sub-sub headings it’ll make your head spin! Also, start outlining course material sooner rather than later. Trust us, your brain will thank you come finals season.

Law School Is A Marathon And Not A Sprint

Law school is a long and drawn-out process and should be treated as such. A marathon runner does not use all of their energy in the first fifteen minutes of a marathon. The same should be true of a law school student. There’s no point in exhausting yourself or experiencing burnout during law school. Why? It’s completely avoidable. Make sure to schedule breaks and take time for yourself. While it may feel taboo, it’s completely fine to take one or two days off from studying and recharge. If you miss a day of reading (which you will), don’t panic – you have all semester to make it up.

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