Are you a first-year law student? If so, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed right now. The good news is that you are not alone! Law school can be tough, but with the right tools and resources, you can survive and thrive in your first year.
In this blog post, we’ll provide you with a survival guide for first-year law students. We’ll discuss everything from time management to studying techniques to networking tips. Follow these tips and you will be on your way to success!
Congratulations and Welcome to Law School
You did it! You’ve graduated college and successfully taken the first step towards your law degree. The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is in, you’ve completed all of those pesky applications, and you’ve been accepted by a prestigious school of law. In three short years, you’ll be given a Juris Doctor and ready to practice law!
The first step to surviving law school is to simply make it through the first week. This may seem like an impossible task, but we promise it can be done! The first week of law school is always the hardest because it is full of new faces, new names, and new material. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed during this time. Just take a deep breath and remember that everyone else in your class is feeling the same way.
Work Hard But Don’t Forget!
Of course, law school isn’t all work and no play. Make sure to take some time for yourself! Explore your new city, try out new restaurants, and most importantly, make some friends. Law school can be challenging, but it can also be extremely rewarding. Just take it one day at a time and before you know it, you’ll be a first-year law student survivor.
What Are First Year Law Students Called?
In undergraduate school, your year in school is usually referred to as “freshman”, “sophomore”, “junior”, “senior”, etc. Once you’ve entered into law school, law students use the terms “1L”, “2L”, and “3L” to describe what year of law school you’re currently in.
So, a first-year law student would be called a “1L” while a second-year law student would be referred to as a “2L”, and so on. Your law school may even have a part-time division, in this case, these law students would be referred to as “4L”.
What To Expect in Your First Year
Most law schools don’t allow first-year students to choose their own classes, this decision is made by the school, so most students will have to enroll in the same fundamental classes in order to receive credit.
These will include most or all of the following first-year law classes:
Civil Procedure – You’ll learn the rules that govern how lawsuits are filed, managed, and adjudicated in the U.S. court system
Property Law – This course will focus on the legal principles governing the ownership and use of real and personal property
Contracts – You’ll learn about the formation and breach of contracts, as well as various remedies available to aggrieved parties
Constitutional Law & Procedure – This class will focus on the U.S. Constitution and how it shapes the American legal system
Torts – You’ll learn about the various ways in which one person can wrongfully injure another, and the remedies available to the victim
Criminal Law – This course will focus on the American criminal justice system, including the elements of various crimes and defenses to those charges
Legal Research & Writing – In this class, you’ll learn how to find and use various legal sources, as well as how to draft various legal documents
Inside The Classroom
In your first year of law school, you’ll be taught through the case method approach. This means that your textbooks will include actual court opinions from around the country to learn the law.
One method that professors use to test your understanding of the law is the Socratic Method. The Socratic Method involves professors asking you questions about cases in class, to get you to think critically about the law.
You can also ask a question or search for answers to your law questions online as well, many attorneys and law students are happy to help out a first-year law student by answering questions on internet forums and websites.
Outside The Classroom
For most law students, their first-year classes will be the most difficult part of law school. But there are other things to think about outside of class as well – like bonding with your fellow classmates. You’ll be spending a lot of time with the people in your first-year law classes, so it’s important to get to know them. You should also take some time to participate in extracurricular activities and student organizations.
Not only will this help you meet new people, but it can also give you a break from the rigors of law school. And, if you’re thinking about a career in a specific area of law, getting involved in extracurricular activities related to that field can be helpful.
During your first year, you’ll want to begin thinking about whether you want to join law review. This is a student-run journal that publishes articles written by law professors, practitioners, and students. It’s a great way to get your name out there and build your writing portfolio. But it’s also a lot of work. You’ll have to write an article and go through the editing process, which can be time-consuming.
Top Tips for Your First Year of Law School
Here are a few things that may help you survive your first year of law school:
Get organized and prepared
One of the best ways to get through the first week is to be organized and prepared. Before classes start, take some time to familiarize yourself with your course syllabi.
Joining a student organization is a great way to meet people and get involved in the law school community. There are organizations for just about everything, so you’re sure to find one that fits your interests.
Find a mentor
A mentor can be a great resource. They can offer advice and guidance when it comes to your studies and career.
Use your resources
Take advantage of the career services office and make sure to attend any events they may have. They can help you with everything from finding a summer internship to providing resume assistance.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it. There are plenty of people who are willing to help first-year students, many professors offer office hours for this reason.
Get The Answers You Need
We hope this first-year law student survival guide was helpful! If you have any other tips, feel free to share them in the comments below. If you have any questions about first-year law school, second year, or even third – don’t hesitate to reach out by leaving a comment below!