Law Student Roundtable: Derrick Parker, Harvard Law School

If you’ve gained admission to law school, you’re starting to realize the hardest part isn’t just getting in — it’s excelling once classes start in next fall.

We’ve asked seven Law Preview alums to reflect back apply 20/20 hindsight to some of your burning questions, like: “Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to students who are about to begin their 1L year?”, “What are the biggest mistakes that you saw classmates make during the 1L fall semester?” and “What were your favorite study aids during 1L and what made them so helpful?”… and, our personal favorite, “What is the one thing you wished you did NOT stress out about during the law school application process?”

Check out the article below to read their objective suggestions for navigating law school and, in some cases, learn what they wished they had done differently.


Derrick Parker
Harvard Law School


Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to students who are about to begin their 1L year?

I would tell students who are entering their 1L year to relax as much as they can before their first year of law school. There is so much pressure on entering 1Ls to read certain books or do other things to prepare for law. In reality, nothing‚ besides what you already know‚Äîcan or will prepare you for the first semester of law school. By virtue of being accepted into a law school you are smart and competent enough to handle the challenge that lies ahead. In the months and weeks leading up to law school, you should relax as much as possible and prepare your brain to hit the ground running.

Next, I would tell entering 1Ls to run your own race! Whatever you did to be successful in undergrad will allow you to be successful in law school. There is no need to change your habits to mimic those of your law school classmates. Be confident in your abilities.


What is the one thing you wished you did NOT stress out about during the law school application process?

I wish I did not stress so much about my LSAT score after the test was over. I should have trusted that all of my hard work would pay off and what was meant to be would be. I would have been a lot less stressed if I had focused on other things after the LSAT because realistically, there was nothing I could do to change my score — all the worries and the prayers wouldn’t even change it.


Did you purchase new/used casebooks, or rent them? What advantages/disadvantages did you experience — and do you plan to do it differently in coming semesters/years?

First semester I bought all of my books used from the bookstore. I found this helpful because everything was in one spot and very easy to locate, even though it was a bit more expensive than sites like Amazon. In the coming semester; however, I plan to scavenge for my textbooks and look to cheap sites to rent.


Describe the outlining approach did you employed and when/how you began the outlining process.

I began outlining around Thanksgiving break. Throughout the semester I typed my class notes. However, I did not make my own outlines from scratch; I used a combination of outlines, as well as my own notes, to create my final outline. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, I thought.