Ask any practicing attorney and they will tell you that the grades you earn your first year (1L) in law school matter most in your journey to becoming a successful lawyer. They will also tell you that earning top 1L grades is no easy feat.
Not only will your professors expect you to master legal theory, but they will also employ unfamiliar teaching and testing methods — and an extremely strict first year grading curve. Having a smart game plan will serve you well in getting ahead of the curve from day one. Below are 5 things you can do before law school starts to alleviate much of the stress of 1L year, and put you on a course for ongoing academic success.
1. Develop a “big picture” understanding of core 1L subjects.
Because law school employs a building block approach to learning, it isn’t until the end of the semester (if at all) that most students begin to see how each of the cases they read fit into the larger theme of each subject. Learning the foundational rules and theories of each core 1L class now will provide context for when you begin reading your assigned cases.
2. Spend your time learning how (and why) the most successful students analyze and brief assigned cases.
Understanding what your professors seek to accomplish by employing the Case Method — and how to properly extract the legal rules from the cases you’ll be assigned ¾ is a critical first step for any top student.
3. Learn to create meticulous course outlines.
It’s essential to prepare your own study materials that summarize the entire body of law from each class. Understanding what an outline seeks to accomplish and, most importantly, how and when to create one will put you miles ahead of your uninitiated classmates.
4. Practice working exam questions now.
It may seem crazy to be thinking about exams before you even begin your studies, but your ability to deconstruct hypothetical fact patterns and craft A+ answers will give you a valuable leg-up come final exam time.
Better grades and amazing career opportunities begin with a solid foundation for learning and applying the law. Gain a competitive advantage this summer at a live Law Preview course near you.