Law School Discussion

Advice for New Law Students

Advice for New Law Students
« on: July 30, 2004, 10:02:21 AM »
Someone asked for advice for new law students on a school specific board. I re-printed it here for all of you who will start school this fall.
Good luck to all of you.

General Advice for New Law Students

1. Always keep up on your reading. Never fall behind.

2. Take good notes. If you don't do this, you might as well leave now.

3. Don't skip class, it's just stupid to spend all this money to skip class. Besides, class is where you will find out most of what you need to know for the test.

4. Do your own outlines. Look at commercial outlines if you need guidance, but do your own. You will have half of the battle won in getting a great grade if you do your own outlines.

5. Don't wait until the last minute to do your outlines. Ideally, do you outlines whenever you see a major shift in the material. You will make it much easier on yourself if you do it this way. (However, don't start outlining from day one. You will not understand how things fit together until you move to a new topic).

6. Don't ever go to class unprepared. Treat your experience in law school as if you are doing on the job training as a lawyer. You would not ever walk into court unprepared and say to the judge, "I'm sorry your Honor, I didn't do my reading last night." Don't do it in law school. Your future clients deserve better.

7. Find a balance while in law school. Go out and have fun every once in awhile or find something else to do that does not involve law school. But, find that balance. Don't end up as one of those people who are at the bottom of the class or worse, kicked out because you spent law school partying. It is such a waste.

8. Learn the cases from the perspective of the trees but study from the perspective of the forest. Be able to see the forest for the trees. If you don't understand this now, figure it out soon or ask a professor what it means. For me, it was the "secret" that led to high grades.

9. Do not study the law from the "I think it should be this way" perspective. This is the biggest mistake that many students make. See the law from both sides and analyze it from both sides. Realize that, in the law, there is no such thing as a universal truth.

10. Stop...take a deep breath...and exhale. This is one of the most wonderful experiences of your life, but it can be hell if you allow it to be. Enjoy the experience, throw yourself into it heart and soul, and embrace the process of becoming an attorney. I promise you that you will freak out, question yourself and wonder if you can do this. When that happens, stop...take a deep breath...
and exhale. Then, get up again and keep going.

Good luck to all of you


Re: Advice for New Law Students
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2004, 08:34:48 PM »
Thanks Lawgirl!

Accepted: American, Catholic, GW, UT
Denied: Georgetown


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Re: Advice for New Law Students
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2004, 11:09:45 AM »
11. If you can't figure out how to silence your damn cell phone before class, then don't bother bringing it in the first place you damn retard.

Re: Advice for New Law Students
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2004, 05:42:28 PM »
Thanks for your time LawGirl!  Your words of wisdom are helpful.


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Re: Advice for New Law Students
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2004, 09:45:56 PM »
hey lawgirl,
what is a typical number of cases to brief each night?

Re: Advice for New Law Students
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2004, 10:05:36 PM »
Good question eee.  I am curious myself.


Re: Advice for New Law Students
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2004, 08:03:07 PM »
From what I heard at orientation today, you should be doing 10 briefs per class per week. Brief whatever is assigned for class the night before class. Spend about 5 minutes going over your briefs right before class.


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Re: Advice for New Law Students
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2004, 08:25:18 PM »
how long does it typically take to do a brief? ive heard that it can take as long as 2 or 3 hours for the first few times. i find this hard to believe if we are supposed to do 40 or 50 briefs per week.

Re: Advice for New Law Students
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2004, 08:34:14 PM »
Once you get the hang of briefing, it goes fast.  But the first couple of weeks can be tiring, to say the least.  I think my first two weeks or so it took me about 7-8 hours to prepare for EACH class (for the entire week).  But don't be afraid, you WILL get used to it, and you WILL get faster. 

You will designate the wrong thing in the case as the "issue" at first.  (Later in your first year, the real issue will jump out at you and practically highlight itself.) You will write down facts that don't matter.  You will worry too much about who "won" the case.  But that's the point, that's what the learning process is all about, to fix what you're doing wrong and to refine what you're starting to do right.   

My advice is to keep your very first briefs.  They're good for a laugh at the end of your first year.  Mine are freakin' hilarious.   

Re: Advice for New Law Students
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2004, 09:16:25 PM »
Do your reading during the week, brief on the weekend and then review right before class. I can't remember how many briefs I had during 1L, but a minimum of at least 10 for each class sounds right, or even low for some classes. You will spend a lot of time in the beginning. Take that time to do it right. You can find the shortcuts later. Somewhere on this board was a question asking about first assignments. I posted my first assignments when I started. It will give you at least an idea of the length of the assignments.