What You Should Know Before Entering Law School

There’s a law school applicant somewhere right now pining away for their school of choice. Thousands more just entered law school for the first time, and they’re probably in for a rude awakening. Law students go through some of the most difficult courses at a reputable law college that contain thousand-word reading assignments and exams that will throw you for a whirl. That’s not even the hairiest part. Most law students really dread being called upon in class as if it was an “I choose you” Pokemon style battle with the teacher to prove you’ve read the material and can answer 10 questions that may or may not make sense. All of these torture moments aside, law school is only for those with passion and dreams of becoming a lawyer. These are a few tips to get you through the beginning.

 

1. Not everyone is a cut-throat legal professional at L1.

Most people have a misconception of law students as people who are willing to do anything to beat out their peers. While much of law school does promote competition, many law students are incredibly sociable, friendly and sympathetic. While there are some jerks in the pack, law students often help one another with study groups, group projects, organizations and rallying support. You’ll be spending a lot of time with the same group of people for multiple years, so it’s important to make friends and find a comfort zone with a group of people in the beginning. You can only do this by opening up and going to some of the events throughout the year that bring law students together.

 

 

2. Your life will be undeniably busy, but breaks are necessary.

Law school isn’t like undergrad. You will have 30+ page papers to write and exams that are worth your entire grade in the class. You won’t have time to slack, and you’ll be reading and studying every single day. The school work is incredibly difficult in the first year because law schools only want to keep students who are passionate about law and can handle the workload. In addition, you’ll need to join clubs, organizations and leadership groups to build relationships with teachers and fellow students. This is a big step forward and also shows how passionate you are about law. While some people just apply for a law degree, others truly live it every, and that’s what teachers and employers are looking for. After the second year, you’ll also be focusing on internships, interviews, club leadership positions and research assistantships, so it’s important to continuously do your research and stay in your law school’s news pipeline.

 

 

 

 

3. Law schools don’t teach you what is the law.

Much of law school is about changing your perception and personality to be a professional lawyer. There are a few basic courses in the beginning that go over an outline of general law, but you won’t get many state-specific laws explained to you. Lawyers have to have confidence in all that they do. They cannot show fear, shame, blushing shyness or ineptitude. Law school also teaches you how to study and skim. You also learn how to condense pages and pages of cases into a single paper. You learn how to debate, even against your teachers. However much of the law and state-specific laws are up to you to learn. You may learn specific topics later on after your second year in law school but that’s only if you choose specialized courses.

 

 

 

4. You must learn to let criticism roll off your back.

This is probably the most important part of law school. Teachers will do their best to challenge you in every way. They will give you an assignment, and even if you feel that you completed it expertly, they will tell you it was all wrong. The teaching model in law school is about throwing you into different situations and allowing you to figure it out, then critiquing your performance. It teaches you to be careful, but it’s also a struggle to deal with if you’re not used to criticism. However this type of teaching makes you a better lawyer who can roll with the punches and even deliver a few of your own.

 

Law Education Advice: Courses for Pre-Law Students