With Law School about to start in a few weeks, it is time to start thinking about how you are going to tackle your first semester in law school. You will notice very quickly just how different Law School is from college. Below are 5 tips for preparing for your first semester in law school.
- Attend Your School’s Orientation
Your school’s orientation is your first chance to meet the faculty, and your other peers who you will be spending the next 3 years with. This is your opportunity to get to know people, and identify potential study partners. Your school’s orientation will also be vitally important as they walk you through what your first semester will look like, along with school resources available to you (take advantage of these)!
- Buy Your Law School Books Ahead of the First Day of Class
In undergrad, you may have attended a class or two where the professor did not cover a book that was on the syllabus. That is not the case here. When buying textbooks you have several options. First, make sure you grab your course syllabus, and identify which books (and which edition) you will need.
Your school’s bookstore is often the most expensive, however they have everything you need for your classes in one easy place. Using online alternatives, like Amazon or Chegg can save upwards of 60% – 70% on your textbooks, but requires some additional work on your end.
- Come to Class Prepared
It is vitally important that you come prepared to class to discuss that day’s topics. Not only will it help you stay on point with your teachers, it will help you engage in discussion. Most teachers rely on the socratic method. This means reading the materials ahead of time, and briefing any cases that will be discussed. Here’s what the socratic method looks like in the movie Paper Chase:
For a great guide on case briefing, check out City University of New York’s complete guide on how to brief a case.
- Summarize your Class Afterwards
After you are done with your class, make sure to go back through any case briefs, and update the materials, and facts (you will need to be able to refer to them when you start studying for finals). Make sure to also summarize any points of law, and add it to your outline.
- Purchase Supplemental Materials (As Needed)
If you find yourself struggling to understand the points of law and materials, it may be helpful to purchase supplemental materials. You can often find copies of summaries in your law school library, but can also purchase your own copies as needed. Below are some great first year supplements to check out:
Bonus Tip: It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint
When you go into your first day of law school, you will be excited, and ready to go. Remember, there are a lot of materials that you will need to cover. This is even more important when studying for finals.