LAW SCHOOL SURVIVAL GUIDE

It depends.
A guide to surviving
law school.

Intro

Practicing law means being comfortable with ambiguity.

It involves telling clients, partners and strangers at cocktail parties, “it depends” – it depends on the facts of the case, the jurisdiction, the individual judge, the terms and conditions, and more. One thing you can know with absolute certainty is that you’ll thrive and survive in law school with tons of planning, preparation and lots of legwork.

We can help you know more now with “It Depends: A Law School Survival Guide.”

WHAT TO EXPECT

On average, law students spend 30% of their waking hours studying.

You may have already discovered that – but are you making the most of that time so you retain what you read and are productive with your writing time? Keep in mind, there are tactics you can practice to make the most of your time. In fact, time management is crucial to your success in law school.

Consider these tips to help you manage.

Start studying early

In law school, it’s never too early to study. The sooner you begin studying case briefs and your class notes, the quicker you’ll start to understand the law. As you build your class outlines, remember that developing condensed versions of your outlines will help you process the information.

Keep a running to-do list

And estimate how long it will take you to do each class task. (Hint: Review each task at the start of the day.) A to-do list will keep you on track and will give you an idea of the tasks you need to devote more time to.

Break larger projects into smaller pieces

Think of law school like a marathon – a long race, not a sprint. Adjusting your mindset, however, will help you to not feel overwhelmed. Split your class projects up into smaller tasks and reward yourself when each section is complete.

Find a good balance between law school and free time; maintain an updated calendar of all your assignments, classes and activities. Make sure to schedule in time for a weekly review.

MICHAEL
MICHAEL
2L, Georgetown School of Law

Adapting to Law School

5 Reasons not to be rude, dude.

It’s your first year in law school. You’ve been waiting years for this moment – now that you’re finally here, what do you do? Well, it depends. For starters – don’t be rude. We know what you’re thinking: “I’m really a nice person. I’m very self-aware and I’m not going to be that person in class.” Here are five reasons to hold firm to that commitment and be your best self to your classmates in law school.

EFFECTIVE STUDY

A key part of success at law school is learning how to study effectively. We’ve got some great tips for you.

While time in the classroom can be demanding, studying is an even larger piece of the law school pie. And though class readings, outlining and briefing may feel overwhelming at times, there are ways you can incorporate ‘fun’ into the fundamentals of studying.

Career Preparation

You landed the law school. Now, how do you land the job?

It depends on whether you’ve put in the time and effort through law school.

Network, network, network!

One of the most important skills lawyers can develop is the ability to attract new clients. Take stock of your network by making a list of all your acquaintances and resources. These resources include your law school placement office, social groups, law school contacts and professors. Ask your network to review your resume and introduce you to attorneys from the firms you are targeting.

Build an awesome resume – right away.

Updating your resume throughout law school will be beneficial when the time comes to studying for the bar exam. Be proactive about updating your resume and looking for summer associate opportunities – it will come fast! As you build out your resume, consider:

  • Making your resume concise. Keep your resume short and straight-forward. Employers may not read every word, so include the most relevant, valuable information.
  • Tailoring your resume to the job. While you may have a resume template, make sure your skills and qualifications are tailored to the job.

Don’t forget to prep for OCIs.

Practice makes perfect. Be sure to research the firm before your interview and practice anticipated questions with family and friends. Also, treat every firm interview like it’s your top choice.

Career Preparation

Unsure about a practice area?
Explore different career options.

Our podcast series, created by Practical Law editors, features legal experts to discuss the challenges and opportunities within different practice areas – along with specific skills needed to be a successful legal professional.

A Practical Start to Your Career

Privacy & Security

A practical start to your career

Start-Ups and Venture Capitalists

A Practical start to your career

Trust & Estates

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Looking for something else?
Explore these other topics in the Law School Survival Guide.

Resources

Get the 411 on terms you'll need to know throughout Law School

Download