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.”


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.

  • 1

    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.

  • 2

    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.

  • 3

    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 2L, Georgetown School of Law

Need a place to organize all this information?

Ask your Thomson Reuters Academic Account Manager for one of our handy law school planners.


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.

  • effective study

    Don’t pull an all-nighter for a research assignment.

  • effective study

    Don’t dread getting called on in class. How to handle cold-calling.

  • effective study

    Outlines: They can save or break you.

  • effective study

    Supplements: To use or not to use? That is the question

  • effective study

    Exams: It’s showtime. The dos and don’ts of preparation

Do you know your legal stuff?

What is the definition of demurrer and what is it commonly known as? Heads up, it is not another word for modesty.


Black’s Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014)

Demurrer: A means of objecting to the sufficiency in law of a pleading by admitting the actual allegations made by disputing that they frame an adequate claim. Demurrer is commonly known as a motion to dismiss.


Passing exams may be a priority this year.
But your health and wellness should also
be top of your list.

  • Sleep is underrated

    Sleep helps the body and mind recharge. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, ongoing sleep deficiency can increase your risk of chronic health problems. Be sure to close those lids!

  • Don’t skip breakfast

    Before you rely solely on coffee, consider grabbing a banana or yogurt to jump-start your memory and concentration. Eating breakfast also helps to kick your metabolism into gear, so you can burn calories throughout the day.

  • A support system is a must

    Law school is a challenging time in your life. Class assignments, exams and studying for the bar can leave you overwhelmed. Remember that you’re not alone. If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, reach out to family, friends, a counselor or classmate.

  • A life outside of law school

    It’s important to not put your passions on the back-burner during law school. Love reading fiction or exercising? Make time for the things you love so you don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.

  • Plan your meals ahead

    Jumping from class to class? Relieve the stress of trying to figure out when and where to eat by planning your meals ahead of time. Schedule time once a week to meal prep to ensure you always have brain food.

  • Focus on time management best practices

    Ever heard of a law school student with extra time? Probably not. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t effectively manage your time. Consider tracking where you spend your time to determine your priorities – and identify areas you can scratch.

Career Preparation

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

It depends on if 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.

    Privacy & Security
    Start-Ups and Venture Capitalists
    Trust & Estates

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
  • resources
    The best free resources for law school subjects

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