It is hard to prepare for law school as you don’t know exactly what to expect. You’ve taken the LSAT, been accepted into a law school, and are trying to figure out what to do next. However, it might be less stressful than you think. Here are some common ways to prepare for law school that will set you up for success.
- Read books about law school
- Talk with a lawyer about fields of study
- Study the Socratic Method
- Rest up
- Attend orientation, find your classes beforehand, and reach out to professors
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Read books about law school
Fortunately for incoming law students, there are a couple of books that can help take the edge off attending law school. However, there are also books that are not that great at giving advice from a student’s perspective. While there are many law school books to choose from, we’re going to focus on 2 books that can help you prepare for law school. Both of these books are all-encompassing and have different strengths. Remember that no one book has all the answers to your questions about law school. Furthermore, not all law advice given in these books should be taken as gospel. Take what works for you and what will prepare you for your legal education.
1l of a Ride: A Well-traveled Professor’s Roadmap to Success in the First Year of Law School: Written by a professor that has taught at some of the biggest and smallest law schools, McClurg pulls back the curtain on the Socratic method, dealing with stress, case briefing, and much more. You’ll find a lot of calming bits of advice as well as some common-sense pieces too. McClurg has a clear and witty writing style that will calm the nerves and prepare you for law school. This book also takes into account the mental and physical toll that law school can take on students and gives you advice on how to prepare for your first year of law school.
Getting To Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams: There is more than one way to complete a task, and that is at the heart of Getting To Maybe. Getting To Maybe isn’t about forcing your way through law school. In fact, that’s almost impossible. You’re going to have to adopt new strategies of studying, learning, writing, and test-taking. You are going to have to figure out what works for you and lean heavily on those. Specifically, Professors Fischl and Paul focus on how different law school is than even higher education. You are not rewarded for the right answers, but rather a well thought out analysis.
Talk with a lawyer about fields of study
Talking with a lawyer beforehand in person can help you prepare for law school. Not only will you gain a real-world perspective on law school and law in general, but you can ask open and frank questions. Try to learn more about fields of study, general pay for those fields, and what field would be suited for your personality. You can ask them how best to prepare for classes and what it takes to actually practice law. Also, it can be great for you to actually see how law is practiced in real-time. Consider shadowing a lawyer for a day to get a feel for what future employment might be like. They may cover instances like writing a will or when someone might hire a lawyer.
Remember, the work for specific types of lawyers can range wildly. What a trial lawyer does is much different than an intellectual property lawyer. This may help you prepare for law school and find an interest quickly.
Study the Socratic method
The Socratic method may be daunting to some new students when trying to prepare themselves for law school. However, familiarizing yourself with the process of the Socratic method through YouTube videos and other forms of media will help you become more comfortable with the idea. That doesn’t mean you won’t be tripped up or won’t have a moment of embarrassment in your classroom but it does mean you are more comfortable in those situations.
Truly, the best way to be prepared for classes is to study the cases and write detailed notes about each one. Preparation is key to success in law school.
The first year of law school is one of the most stressful times in a student’s life. You will be studying all the time, writing notes, briefing cases, and engaging with study groups. Don’t come to school already burnt out before you even take your first class. Instead, take time the summer beforehand to relax and take a nice vacation. Be well rested for that first day because you won’t get much sleep for the coming months.
Attend orientation, find your classes beforehand, and reach out to professors
Orientation in law school is much different than in your typical college. Orientation helps you prepare for law school by giving you critical information about what is to be expected out of you. This is a professional school after all. Law schools have a vested interest in making sure that their students succeed. Orientation will also help you find your classes beforehand, and possibly reach out to your potential professors. It’s important that you establish these connections early as law professors can help you gain internships or clerkships over the summer months. Recommendations and networking can be critical in finding the right job for you.
Also, professors won’t take excuses starting day one. If you don’t have the materials or haven’t briefed the case, you can be in for a world of embarrassment. If you are struggling to find books, reach out to the professor to make copies. They will not excuse much unless it is a legit emergency.
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