I was recently hired by a tier 1 university and will be permitted to study there for free (first to obtain a Bachelor's) after one year of employment. I have been briefing and reviewing some of the more famous cases (Sibron, Garner, Quarles, etc) in preparation. For those who've attended law school, what knowledge did you lack your first year and how should I go about acquiring the necessary skills that will help me succeed? I don't plan on studying for the LSAT because of the guaranteed admission policy for employees, so I'd like to spend my downtime on something that will help me out next year. I've been recommended "Getting to Maybe", any related literature would be greatly appreciated.
First (and for all), excellent move. Not only is this a tremendous perk, but most schools within systems offer this anywhere within the system, and some have agreements with other schools that allow for such benefits. For anyone at the bachelor's level and above, this just about doubles the salary one nominally gets. (This usually applies to family members as well.) The only other option along these lines are the post-911 benefits offered via military service.
Roald is correct; the benefit applies to tuition, not to admissions. So you will still need to do very, very well. Thus your focus is quite right.
Okay, as to prep: What you're about to read is a "minority opinion" among those giving such advice. You and everyone *should* prepare prior to law school. Most of the advice you will read and hear is the opposite: relax, get drunk, don't worry, be happy.
All right: Now for the caveat: The reverse is in agreement with Cooley, in that your immediate concern is to do exceptionally well in your college program. SoCal is also correct in that your second concern is to prepare for the LSAT. Those two factors will by far dominate in your application process.
As to the references:
Law School Undercover, by "Professor X." A behind-the scenes look at law school and the admissions process.
Law School Fast Track (and for you College Fast Track), both by Derrick Hibbard, and both focusing on the importance of good habits.
and, if I might:
Law School: Getting In, Getting Good, Getting the Gold. The focus is on cutting through the nonsense of law school towards better grades with less wasted effort and (much) less stress.
I hope this helps,