How to Succeed In Law School: 10 Great Tips
Law school is incredibly grueling and it requires a lot of hard work and discipline to get through it. If you’d like to learn how to succeed in law school, check out these 10 tips.
One day, you’re going to be an attorney — but not just any attorney. You’re going to be the best one in your area of specialty area.
That’s a great career goal. But you’ve got to get through law school first.
Law school is incredibly grueling and will require a lot of hard work and discipline on your part to get through it. In other words, it isn’t for the faint of heart.
Here’s a rundown on 10 tips on how to succeed in law school.
Let’s get started!
1. How to Succeed in Law School? Be Prepared to Stretch Your Mind
Before you start law school, you’ll need to brace yourself for the mental workouts you’ll be experiencing on a regular basis. The mental trials you’ll face in law school are totally different from those faced in college.
For example, you’ll be working on mastering how to understand legal cases — a brand-new process that will take time. Don’t be surprised if you read a case assignment at home for a few hours, feel totally prepared, and then get to class only to hear your professor present questions and approaches to the case that you hadn’t even pondered.
Welcome to law school.
2. Wait to Form a Study Group
Study groups are wonderful resources in law school, so you should looking into forming one. But don’t do it right away.
Take time to get to know your classmates first. Also, use your first few weeks of law school to establish your personal study process — the one you will utilize all semester long. Then, you can more comfortably form a study group that will feature the right people in it and mesh well with your process, rather than working against it.
3. Don’t Be Afraid of Your Instructor
You might be intimidated by your instructors at first, but don’t be.
Your law school professors are there to help you to prepare for a bright career. They are not the enemy; rather, fear is your enemy.
Also, many grades in law school are anonymous because professors often see only numbers rather than names on students’ exam. Therefore, don’t worry about producing an incorrect answer in class. Making mistakes in class is oftentimes an effective and excellent way in which to gain new knowledge.
4. Keep Your Mind on Today
You may be tempted to peer far into the future as you start law school. For example, you may immediately think about the exams you’ll encounter in a few weeks or about far-off project deadlines. But focusing on the future in this manner will only distract and overwhelm you.
Instead, concentrate on getting through your readings each week. Your main focus should be on learning how to correctly absorb legal cases and think about them critically. Everything else, including the exams that your professor has scheduled for the end of the semester, will fall right into place.
5. Build Friendships
Law school isn’t just a brand-new academic situation. It’s also a new social one. So, just as you’re taking steps to stretch yourself mentally, be sure to stretch yourself socially, too.
You’ll need friends in class, as they can provide you with handy notes and emotional support — both of which are essential for getting through law school. Plus, the sooner you practice networking, the easier it will be for you to land jobs at leading law firms, such as De Bruin Law Firm, and perhaps even start your own.
6. Take Plenty of Notes
Speaking of notes, don’t just depend on your peers for your class notes. You’ll need to master how to take solid notes yourself.
The most ideal way of taking notes these days is with a laptop. After all, you can easily transfer your notes to a study guide later. But if you prefer to take notes by hand, that works, too.
7. Don’t Skip Class
Whatever you do, avoid skipping class in law school.
The majority of law professors use class time to cover material not found in your readings. So, if you skip class, you’ll likely suffer for it come final exam time.
Also, if you miss over a fifth of a course’s classes, you’ll receive a grade of “FW.” This is essentially an “F” that will impact your final grade point average. And retaking the course won’t remove the “FW” from your academic record, either.
8. Master Outlining
Practice making a course outline on your own. This will build your analysis skills, as you’ll have to think about the laws applicable to your course’s particular subject matter and ponder how they relate to each other.
If you don’t master course outlining, you’ll decrease your chances of excelling in your courses.
9. Take Practice Tests
You can never take too many practice exams, so start as soon as possible.
If you can, take exams that your professors previously administered. This will give you an idea of how they draft their exams, which might make test time less daunting down the road.
10. Reduce Your Stress
To manage the stress you’ll experience in law school — and there will be plenty of it — take time to exercise. (Lugging around your law school books on a daily basis doesn’t count, either.)
Also, eat whole grains, fruits and vegetables to keep yourself in tip-top shape. That means staying away from too many Ding Dongs and Diet Cokes.
In addition, try to avoid consuming too much caffeine. Instead, consume plenty of water.
Finally, try to get seven hours or more of sleep each night. And set aside time for the activities you most enjoy. All of this will help to make law school a more fulfilling experience from start to finish.
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