Adapting to law school: 5 ways to get the most out of your experience.


So, it’s your first year in law school…

You’ve been waiting years for this moment – from prepping your undergraduate resume for law school admissions to binge-watching A Few Good Men and My Cousin Vinny. Hey, you might have even snuck in a few minutes of Legally Blonde.

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 a really nice person. I’m very self-aware and I’m not going to be that person in class.”

Here are five ways to hold firm to that commitment and be your best self to your classmates in law school.

The 5 Ways

Make the most out of your experience.

Being nice to your classmates pays off.

Everyone knows that law school is one big competition, which can make you feel uneasy around your classmates. It’s way smoother and more conducive to learning, though, when people are helping each other – and not giving in to the inherently competitive nature of the whole ordeal.

What goes around comes around.

Your classmates are the first group of contacts you will make in your career, and you want to get your reputation in the legal world off on the right foot. Law school isn’t going to teach you this, but no matter where your career takes you – Biglaw, Public Interest, Academia, the Judiciary, Government, Small Firm/Solo Practice – it’s a business. You’re going to need friends at all levels as you scramble to market yourself as a professional.

Your classmates have the wisdom you don’t.

Get to know your classmates, because they may have skills you don’t. While you may be a solid legal writer, maybe your litigation skills need some help. Emily, the girl next to you who never talks but participates in every student group, is most likely the super sneaky litigator. Don’t mess with Em! (But, you should get to know her.)

Study groups = built-in therapy.

You’re already stretched for time. Did you know your study group can pull double duty by helping you prepare for class AND offering group therapy all in one caffeine-fueled hour? But only if you return the empathy! Mutual support can mean the difference between barely surviving and really thriving in law school.

Your brand has a long shelf life.

Tend to your image now, along with studying, prepping your resume and getting ready for OCIs. Your professors and classmates will notice how you show up – and their impressions now could make a difference down the road.

The 5 Traits

The Five Traits of Highly Successful Law Students

Learn the five defining traits of the most successful law students, with an eye toward applying those traits to ready yourself for exam time.


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 and don't skimp on sleep!

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.

Get a support system

Law school is a challenging time in your life. Class assignments, exams and studying can leave you overwhelmed, so remember 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

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

Focus on time management

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. Track where you spend your time to determine your priorities.

Do you know your legal stuff?

For Negligence claims, what is the standard for the “conduct of a reasonable man?” No, it is not someone who is reasonable.

Catching Up

Catching Up
When You're Behind

Learn fast, efficient study techniques to regain lost ground if you’ve fallen behind on your studies.


Explore the Guide

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