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.
American University – Washington School of Law
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to students who are about to begin their 1L year?
The best approach or advice I can give about starting law school is to treat it like a job. Your professors are your bosses and the readings are assignments. Keeping this mentality throughout the semester will help you focus on readings and outlining without feeling overwhelmed by the workload. Having a set schedule of 10am-6pm everyday will allow you to separate schoolwork from your personal life and avoid feeling “burnt out” come mid-November.
As with any job (for those who also have experience in the workforce), you want to be prepared on your first day. This means making sure your books and supplements arrive before classes start; confirming that your laptop works; and if your schedule allows, taking Barbri’s Law Preview course. The Law Preview course may seem daunting, but it is an excellent way to “get your feet wet” prior to the start of the semester.
Additionally, I recommend – and what worked for me — is to do a weekly review of each class. I used the Emanuel Law in a Flash 1L Set and Law School Legends: Civil Procedure audio series with Richard Freer. I cannot express how well Richard Freer explains Civ Pro. His audio lectures are critical to getting a solid understanding of the material. Emanuel’s flash cards have, in addition to terms and definitions, an incredible amount of subject-specific hypothetical questions.
What were your favorite study aids during 1L and what made them so helpful?
Emanuel Law in a Flash flash cards. They are organized by subject and contain an incredible number of unique hypothetical questions.
What are the biggest mistakes that you saw classmates make during the 1L fall semester?
Not attending class. Seriously, don’t skip class.
What was your favorite 1L subject, and why?
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?
I bought my textbooks and then sold them online. For me, that resulted in the total cost being cheaper than renting. I’m keeping the same strategy going forward.
How did you handle the competition/stress of 1L? What tactics did you use to avoid the stress that many 1L students experience?
I got into the mindset of not worrying about what everyone else was doing fairly early on. I don’t do particularly well in study groups. Thus, I didn’t study in groups. Do what works for you.
Describe the outlining approach did you employed and when/how you began the outlining process.
I reread my notes and case briefs and added the major rules / principles from each case into my outline. This allowed me to review the material while simultaneously condensing a semester’s worth of notes down to a reasonable number of pages.
What time management strategies did you employ to make sure you devoted the appropriate amount of time to each class during the Reading Period?
I was lucky in that all of my exams were one week apart. This allowed me to study one subject at a time. I highly recommend using this approach if your schedule allows for it.