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New (Academic) Year’s Resolutions for Law School Students

Law School TipsHappy new year!

No, it’s not January 1st. It’s September, which means another new academic year is under way at law schools across the country.

Every new year is an opportunity for a fresh start, to reinvent yourself, to do better. So even though the calendar hasn’t flipped to 2014, yet, you should make some new (academic) year’s resolutions.

Here are three (one for 1Ls, 2Ls and 3Ls) to get you started:

3Ls: Resolve to get involved

President Obama recently remarked that he thought the third year of law school should be done away with. He said most students watch the minutes tick by in electives, classes that really don’t prepare them for practice of law. Students, the president said, would be better served by getting out and doing the work of the lawyer.

So get out and do the work of the lawyer.

Find an externship. Work in a clinic. Volunteer. Get involved in activities that give you real-world, practical experience.

The truth about the third year of law school is this: It is what you make of it. If you decide to suffer through an elective, that’s your choice. But after two years in law school, you’re probably ready to get out and get your feet wet.

2Ls: Resolve to network

Nobody really enjoys networking. It’s awkward and more often than not doesn’t lead to an actual job. But all it takes is one contact—one person who knows someone who knows someone—to make it worthwhile.

You never know when you’re going to make that contact, so get out there and start meeting people. Get involved in your local bar association. Attend alumni events. Ask your career office to put you in touch with a mentor. It could pay off big time.

1Ls: Show some resolve

You’ve been in law school for nearly a month now. Your head is probably spinning and maybe you’re even having second doubts. Don’t panic.

Instead: remain calm, ask for help, and consider hiring a tutor.

Remember that if you can make it through the first year, you’re statistically a shoe-in to graduate!

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