An Insider’s Guide to Law School: 1L

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An Insider’s Guide to Law School: 1L

Postby tlsadmin2 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:09 pm

You’ve spent the past several months studying your brains out for the LSAT, waiting for the scores to come out, and then waiting to hear back from your top law school of choice. And that’s just the beginning. Law school is not for the faint of heart, so take a deep breath and get ready to kick some a…cademics!

Out of your three years of law school, the first year is the most structured and grueling. This is because you will be getting used to a new academic structure and will receive a heavy workload.


No matter where you attend law school, the first-year curriculum is pretty standard. You will be learning about torts, contracts, civil procedure, property, criminal law, constitutional law, and legal methods. Classes are generally taught in the Socratic format, challenging your ability to analyze situations, defend cases, and articulate your defense. Although your entire law school career counts, this is by far the most important year because you are setting the standard for how the following two years will go. First-year grades often determine eligibility to be a part of your school’s law journal or moot court and most law firms start hiring summer associates right at the beginning of 2L. So stay focused and develop a method that works for you when it comes to studying. Unlike undergrad, memorization alone will not get you through and cramming is a thing of the past. Develop effective study habits. The grading system is unlike anything you’ve probably encountered because all classes will be graded on a forced curve, which means only a certain number of students are permitted to receive A+’s, A-‘s etc.

Study groups are a great way to hold yourself and your classmates accountable. Not only will you be able to bounce ideas off of each other, but you won’t feel like you’re fighting the battle (of law school) alone, and that in itself could be extremely comforting and helpful.

Extracurricular Activities

Your first year of law school is undeniably challenging, however, this doesn’t mean you stay cooped up in your room or the library studying the WHOLE time. It might seem counterintuitive to take a break because everyone is constantly talking about how “brutal” the first year of law school is, but quite the contrary. In order to have the focus required to endure all of your 1L course work, you must also dedicate some time to turning off your “law brain” for a little bit and joining an extracurricular (or two, if you can handle it). Not only are you allowing yourself the opportunity for social interaction, but you’re allowing your mind the time to recharge for all the deep analysis required in your 1L classes. Plus, you never know who you’ll meet in the process-a new study buddy, your lifelong best friend, someone who could serve as a mentor and help you in your career, etc. Extracurricular activities in law school range from a variety of topics including volunteer groups, political organizations, and mock trials (for those who can’t get enough of the law).


Show up to classes. Be present. Read everything assigned. Be prepared.

Other 1L Resources

First Year of Law School Survival Tips
Success in Law School
Law School Grades and Your Career
Law Students: Surviving in a Law School
An Insider’s Guide to Law School

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