Preparing for the First Day of Law School
So, you’ve been admitted to law school. Being the overachiever
that you are, your next task is to figure out what you can do to
be better prepared for your 1L law school year. Perhaps you have
been hearing horror stories about how much work your 1L law
school year is and how time consuming it will be. We at
School Coach understand, we have been in the same position.
Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to have a
leg up on your competition before you even show up.
The good news is that learning or memorizing any law will be a
huge waste of time. If you were intelligent enough to be
admitted to law school, you have the ability to learn all the
law you need during your semester. Learning some law during the
summer will give you no advantage in December when exam time
The preparation that will benefit you before your 1L law school
year falls into two categories: Mental; and Logistical.
Being Mentally Prepared for Your 1L Law School Year
You are about to undertake a task that has been described
by some as the greatest challenge to your intellect and stamina
that you will find in academia. Getting your mind in the right
place for this task will save you a great deal of energy, and
will give you an edge in your 1L law school year. Here are our
tips for doing this:
- Make sure to have a fun and stress-free summer. This will be
your last shot at a carefree summer for a long time.
- Download and review the
Free 1L Law Student Guide – Being
Ready from Day One.
- Get and read a copy of
Law School Confidential.
- Spend some time over the summer reviewing law student forum or
blog discussions, and—if you can—talking to other law students
or lawyers about what to expect. It’s always nice to get some
free advice. But, remember, it is free advice. 90% of law
students don’t finish in the top 10% of the law school class.
- See tip #1. Don’t let your prep interfere with you summer.
Other Things to Do Before Your First Day of Law School
A There are several other things that you will want to have
accomplished before the 1L law school orientation. Once law
school starts, you will not have much available time. Handling
these things before the orientation, will ensure that you are
not distracted from your primary task—doing excellent in your 1L
law school year:
- Secure your living arrangements at least one week in advance.
Make sure you are settled in before class begins. Figure out
your way around town. Know where you will get groceries, fast
- Make sure that you have the best laptop possible. Laptops are
very important, and most schools require them. If your school
offers guidelines on the laptop capabilities, follow them.
Although we are partial to Mac’s, we recommend a PC for law
school because the exam software has shown to be more reliable
on PC’s. Get your laptop at least 2 weeks in advance so that you
can become familiar with it and ensure that it works correctly.
- Go up to the law school and figure out where you will be
studying. Many law schools assign specific study space to 1L law
students. If they do not, figure out a plan. We recommend having
a specific spot (away from where you sleep) that you go to
study. If you are in town early enough, use this as an
opportunity to sit in on a law school summer class.
- Get your 1L law school class schedule and book list as soon as
possible. Buy your law school books at least 1 week before 1L
law school orientation. If you are buying used books, make sure
they have little or no highlighting. If you can’t find a clean
used book, buy a new one. It’s worth the extra money. Make sure
you have all the supplies you need (backpack, pens,
highlighters, paper, etc…).
- Get your first day reading assignments, and complete them the
night before your first class. Law school classes are not like
your undergraduate classes. You will hit the ground running.