If you are going to law school, here are five key tips to keep in mind. Some of these I knew in law school, and others I did not learn until I got out of law school. We work with hundreds of law students and graduated law students every administration and we have found this advice to be among the most beneficial pieces of advice!
Going to Law School? Five Tips to Keep in Mind!
You never know who may turn out to be a valuable connection.
This is something I did not realize until after law school! Many of my friends received jobs after getting recommendations from classmates. These classmates were not necessarily their best friends. These classmates were students they knew semi-well or were somewhat acquainted with. Or, sometimes lawyers turn to former law school classmates when they are looking for a new job and former classmates will be valuable resources even years later.
The point is, you should be nice and courteous to everyone you meet. If you are not, it could come back to haunt you later.
Be professional no matter where you are.
When I was in law school, some of my classmates who I respected a lot would show their “true colors” at law school parties or events. They would get drunk and be extremely disrespectful, act very rude, or gossip incessantly about others. I ended up losing a lot of respect for people that I had held in high regard.
So remember to stay professional and mature no matter where you are.
Of course, you should try to get to know your classmates and have fun in law school. But, it is important to not engage in behavior that will jeopardize your professionalism, your reputation, or the respect that others have for you.
You don’t have to take on every opportunity that presents itself.
Some students, especially in the beginning of their first year of law school, feel that it is necessary to join a lot of clubs and activities and participate in everything they possibly can. While it is a great idea to be involved, choose your activities carefully. Time is your most valuable asset (see the next point) so you do not want to overcommit and be under-involved. It is better to be involved in one or two activities you really care about and to stay committed to those.
Grades are so important your first year and you should especially dedicate this year to studying.
Many students don’t realize until after their 1L year just how important 1L grades are. Your first year grades determine so much — job opportunities (they are a must if you want to work at a big firm!), internship opportunities, law review opportunities, clerkships, the chances of you passing the bar exam on your first try, among many other things. We cannot emphasize how important your first year is.
Make sure to focus most of your time on studying! This should be your #1 priority. If you want tips on how to succeed in law school, check out this post on how to succeed in law school from the #1 law student or sign up for our law school preparatory course!
Do something you are not comfortable with.
I wish I came up with this tip but I only learned it well after law school when I talked to a law student who said that she purposely did things she was uncomfortable with in law school to develop her skills. She did moot court, though she did not feel comfortable arguing. She did an internship with the prosecutor’s office which she admitted was not her cup of tea. But she said it helped her gain extraordinary skills and confidence. It is easy to forget that we have to step outside of our comfort zone to grow!
You are in law school to grow academically, personally, and professionally. Don’t be afraid to try something new — in fact, make it a goal to try something new!
We hope these tips have been useful! Good luck preparing for law school!
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