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 Law 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 rolls around.

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:
  1. Make sure to have a fun and stress-free summer. This will be your last shot at a carefree summer for a long time.

  2. Download and review the Free 1L Law Student Guide – Being Ready from Day One.

  3. Get and read a copy of Law School Confidential.

  4. 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.

  5. 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:
  1. 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 food, etc...
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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…).
  5. 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.