3 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make in Law School

Guest Blogger: Kate Fox, 1L Student

Kate Fox is a 1L at University of Pittsburgh School of Law and a social media intern for BARBRI Law Preview. She attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania, obtaining a degree in Marketing with a minor in Applied Statistics. As a first year, she has secured a summer legal internship with FedEx Ground in Pittsburgh… Read More


There are plenty of regrets law students have about their 1L year. If they could do it over, they would change a number of things. But, you can’t be perfect! Here are some tips from top law students reflecting on their first year (and law school career) regarding what not to do.

1. Don’t be a “gunner”

Please do not take this tip as “don’t participate.” Law students often notice that there is at least one kid in class who participates for the wrong reasons. Gunners are typically people who volunteer their opinions in every class on every subject. While you should volunteer, you should do it to contribute to the class discussion rather than to let others know you have something to say. People labeled as gunners tend to speak up to sound smart or let the professor know they understand the material. It annoys people in class because they do not get a chance to speak, and it annoys the professor because they want to observe the Socratic process.

2. Outline early

There will be a time in the first two weeks that people in your class will start mentioning outlines. By the end of first year you will be sick of Roman numerals and bullet points, but you must do it. In the first few weeks, start compiling your notes. You may not know the best way to outline, but at least get started. Some student organizations may have outline banks for you to base yours on and compare with. Do not just copy and paste those either. Do not underestimate the valuable learning experience you get from doing your own outlines over the 15-week semester.

3. Keep your passions and social life

You will be overwhelmed by law school’s demanding schedule. The competition for grades and jobs may get to you, and the material will challenge you. Do not forget to keep some form of social life outside of school. Sign up for an intramural sports team or keep a blog. Don’t shut out friends and family. Make plans. Law school is a marathon and sprinting through it will only leave you exhausted at the first mile marker. Do what makes you happy and schedule around school so you don’t face a breakdown mid-semester.