Succeeding In Law School, As Told By Former Law Students
There’s a lot of advice floating around on websites and blogs about how to succeed as a 1L. Some of it is good, some of it is bad, and some of it is just downright ugly.
Much of it was written by professors, admissions counselors, and disgruntled students or unemployed law school graduates. It can be hard to find practical advice from someone who made it through law school, found a job and isn’t disgruntled—just honest.
But alas, that’s exactly what you will find here:
Know thy enemies
Here’s something most 0Ls don’t know and couldn’t comprehend even if they did know it: Your professors are your enemy.
Most are there to make your life miserable. Most don’t respect you. Most take great pride in watching students struggle, squirm and, ultimately, fail.
Your job, as Sun Tzu so eloquently wrote in “The Art of War,” is to know your enemies, and know yourself. Get inside your professors’ heads. Find out what it is that makes them tick (hint: it’s their egos) and then play on that.
Law professors are just like everyone else—insecure, egotistical and self-centered—so the sooner you can ingratiate yourself to them, the better. Being in good with them means they will go easier on you in class, be more likely to help you during office hours and allow you to focus on your reading and studying.
Read, brief and study
Make no mistake about it: The law school experience will be nothing like your undergraduate experience. You’re going to have to learn an entire new way of thinking, analyzing data and answering questions.
You’re going to actually attend every class.
You’re also going to have to read everything that is assigned to you, take detailed notes and brief it all. Don’t skip these steps; they’re important. You don’t have to pore over every word, but you should learn to “fast read” everything, prioritize information and quickly distill the important elements.
Seriously. Do the work. It will separate you from those who don’t when exam time rolls around.
Know this: There are no right answers
Speaking of exams … forget everything you’ve ever known about the importance of the “right” answer. When it comes to law school exams, there are no right answers—only solid legal reasoning and arguments, both of which are predominately based on precedent.
Don’t look for the “right” answer—look for the “best answer.”
This article was written by FindMyLawTutor.com.
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