Law school students are notorious for being intelligent, cunning, and competitive. If you are a current or prospective law school student, you may be wondering just how you will be able to survive through not only your first year of law school, but all three years.
If you really want to succeed in law school, make sure that you go to class. Some teachers and institutions have strict attendance policies for their students. Regardless of the rules, however, it is important that you attend classes in order to gain as much from the lectures and class discussions as possible. Law school professors use the Socratic Method when calling on their students in class in order to better prepare them for public speaking that is required in most courtrooms.
Going to class is crucial if you want to survive law school, but your work does not end when class is over. Law school students should be sure that they complete all assigned reading and exercises before class each day. Completing your reading assignments will help you be better prepared for class. It can be extremely easy to fall behind on your reading, which is what most law school students have an issue with. But, if you are diligent with your work, and you are sure that you’ve read all of your assignments before class, you are much more likely to succeed at answering questions related to your reading when you are called on in class.
Some law students take the extra measure of outlining their reading assignments, or briefing each case that they are assigned to read. Although briefing each case might seem like a good idea, most law school students are assigned too many cases to read. If you brief every single case, you’re likely to spend your life in the law library or at home studying.
Briefing does, however, help you locate important facts and other information from the assigned cases. This can save you time if and when you are called upon in class. With a brief, you can easily find a list of the case’s facts, the court’s ruling, and the element of the law.
Also remember to give yourself ample time to review. Looking over your briefs, class notes, or other notes will definitely help you remember important facts, cases, or elements of the law when it comes time for exams. Be sure you schedule in plenty of time for you to review all of the information you’ve collected so you can balance reading about the subject with review time.
It may seem like reading, briefing, reviewing, and going to class are the only requirements to survive law school, but there are many other aspects not directly related to your coursework that you must first consider.
Law school can be an extremely competitive atmosphere. Usually law schools will have student bodies that include students in the top of their undergraduate classes. Everyone is out for the top grades, and everyone wants to succeed. Remember that it can be very easy to fall into the competitive trap. You might start feeling a sense of hatred or envy for your peers. If you want to survive the cattiness of law school, along with its academic rigor, make sure that you retain friendships with people who are not in law school.
You can drive yourself crazy by confining yourself to your home, law school hallways, or law libraries. Surrounding yourself with only law students can definitely breed contempt and annoyance. Give yourself some breathing room by hanging out with some non-law school friends for a couple of hours during the week. This will undoubtedly give you a better shot at staying sane, particularly during your infamous One L year.