Choosing Law School Classes
One of the best parts of finishing your 1L year of law school is
that you now get to choose your own classes. The most important
thing you can do before starting your 2L law school year is to
develop a tentative strategy for the rest of your law school
career. Consider concentrating on a particular area or two.
Developing a “specialty” or two will make you more marketable
after graduation. Having a plan for your 2L and 3L law school
years can make your life easier and your grades higher. It also
makes choosing law school classes easier because you have
direction instead of submitting to the whims that strike the
average student during registration.
General Recommendations for Law School Classes
We at Law School Coach
recommend a varying your
strategy for choosing law school classes by class rank. In
addition, we offer the following general advice:
Take extra hours during your 2L law school year to free up
time for your 3L law school year.
- Load up on Evidence and any other required law school
courses during your 2L law school year. Many law school
clinics, and prospective employers, require that you have
completed Evidence; so, the sooner the better.
- Fulfill your writing requirement during your 2L law
- If you see a law school class that you are very interested
in, do not assume that it will be available after this semester.
- Take a summer class so that you can lighten your load later
in law school. A great choice is Professional Responsibility.
This allows you to sit for the MPRE in August while the material
- Consider the exam schedule when you sign up for law
school classes, but remember that most law schools will move
an exam if you have two exams scheduled on the same day or a
night exam followed by a morning exam.
You may be a bit offended by the fact that we recommend
different class choices to those in the top half versus the
bottom half of their law school class. We have a reason for
doing so. But first, let us remind you that there are a lot of
real lawyer skills that are not measured by grades. Those who
are fantastic writers, crack researchers, great counselors, or
have superb interpersonal skills (all hallmarks of great
lawyers) may not be as good at quickly reading, analyzing, and
writing an exam answer. But, unfortunately, bar exams test the
We suggest taking mostly bar classes for the remainder of law
school. The added familiarity and mastery you get from these law
school classes will make a huge difference when you take the bar
exam, and could be the difference between passing and failing.
You should also, though, take 1 non-bar course per semester. For
the non bar law school classes, consider concentrating on a
There will be no shortage of people that disagree with this
advice. Our experience has been that students who take fewer bar
classes have a much tougher time on the bar exam. Most
professors will tell you that it doesn’t matter, but they were
at the top of their law school classes. If you doubt our advice,
we recommend talking to law students that have failed the bar
exam. Ask them if they wish they had taken more bar classes.
If you attend a T14 law school, you should ignore the above and
follow the recommendations for the top 50% below.
Top 50% of Class after 1L Law School Year
If you find yourself in this group, we recommend that you find
two different areas of concentration for the remainder of law
school. Do your best to take four to eight (one or two per
semester) courses within each area of specialty, and satisfy
your law school writing requirement in one of them. You should
also take at least one bar course per semester. Review the
choices of bar courses at your law school and gravitate to the
courses that seem the most challenging to you. Subjects like
Commercial Paper and Secured Transactions are tougher to learn
in bar prep than subjects like Family Law or Wills and Trusts.
While you will enjoy more freedom in your class selection,
expect to have a tougher time studying for the bar than those
who have loaded up on bar courses.
If you are in the top 15% of the class, you might consider
taking a slightly lighter load during the first semester of your
2L law school year. The added time spent on journal and OCI is a
lot to handle. Lightening up the first semester might help, but
it only postpones the stress. You will also be very busy towards
the end of your 3L law school year. If you are confident that
you can handle a full load during your 2L law school year, we
recommend that you do it. You should, however, decide what is
best for you. Consider talking to some 3L law students to get