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2L-3L Law School Years

Once you have successfully finished your first year, your life becomes much simpler, though often busier, in your 2L-3L law school years. Although you will pick up a lot of extra-curricular tasks, you will be more comfortable in your classes. By the time you begin your second year of law school, you will finally feel like you know what you are doing.  This is because you will have learned how to learn, which means you will not have to work as hard.

One great contrast from your 1L law school year is that, during your 2L-3L law school years, you get to choose your own classes. While you will have taken most of your required courses during the first year of law school, there are usually at least a couple more classes required for graduation. Law schools usually require 2L-3L law students to take Professional Responsibility and an upper-level paper course. In addition, many law schools require other specific courses such as Evidence, Corporations, or Tax. Aside from any additional requirements your law school has, the rest of your legal education is up to you! Be sure to check out the Law School Coach’s information for 2L-3L Law Students: Choosing Law School Classes.

The 2L Year of Law School is Easier, but More Time Consuming.

For many students the 2L law school year is the busiest year of law school. On top of a full load of classes, most second year law students are occupied interviewing for jobs, getting involved in student organizations, and participating in externship programs with judges, prosecutors, or other governmental agencies. For those who are fortunate enough to earn a place, there is also Law Review (or other law student-run journals) and/or Moot Court, both of which are very time consuming.

The search for a job for the time between your second and third law school year begins in the fall of your 2L law school year. The most reliable and established path to a permanent job after law school is to work as a paid law clerk (a/k/a “summer associate”) between your 2L and 3L law school year. All law schools facilitate an interview process called On-Campus-Interviews (“OCI’s”). Your best opportunity for a summer associate position comes during the fall semester OCI’s, but there are usually some additional opportunities during the spring. For more information on this topic and a free report, check out the Law School Coach – On Campus Interview Guide. If you don’t have a job lined up for the 2L summer you might also consider studying abroad.

There are also many student organizations for law students to become involved in. Most law schools have organizations such as: student government, women’s and minority organizations, philosophical or political organizations, and groups based on law specialties. These organizations can be a lot of fun, and offer second and third year law students the opportunity to serve in leadership positions.

The 3L Year of Law School – No time to coast

For those law students who have made it to the 3L law school year, school life is much easier. By now, you are a seasoned pro and have little difficulty staying up to speed in your law school classes. You have also figured out, that you are going to actually make it through law school. At least academically, the pressure is off.  During your third year of law school, you should be focused on three main goals:  graduation, getting a job, and passing the bar exam.

If you don’t have a job offer after your 2L summer, finding a job will be your largest focus during the 3L law school year. Don’t let the job search rule your life. Make finding a job a priority, not your only focus. Take full advantage of your law school’s career services offices. More than half of all law students will not have a job until they have passed the bar exam. So, don’t get too stressed.  Be careful not to ruin your 3L law school year with unrealistic expectations or excessive pressure.

Your other two concerns during your third year of law school are the two tests you will have to pass before becoming a lawyer: The Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam “MPRE” (often taken during 2L year) and the bar exam. These tests are a bit different than the law school exams you are used to. Law School Coach has prepared articles on both, be sure to check them out: Law School Coach – MPRE Prep.; Law School Coach – Bar Prep.

You should also begin working on your bar application during your 3L law school year. To do this, you have to decide where you plan to practice. These applications are very long, detailed, and will ask for information that you might not have readily available. Questions like “list every address where you’ve lived in the past 10 years,” and “List every employer you have ever had, and include their address and phone number,” are not uncommon.

The bottom line is to stay on top of your responsibilities and enjoy your last year of law school. Getting back to the real world is going to start soon enough. Take some time to relax and recharge so that you will have the energy you need for your new career.

By following the steps outlined here, we know you will have great 2L-3L law school years.