Law school is much different than any other school. It’s competitive and difficult, taking a lot of hard work and perseverance to succeed during your time there. Difficulties aside, law school is a unique experience that will give you the tools and knowledge you need to succeed years down the line. Before heading to law school, here are a few things to keep in mind and prepare yourself for.
1L Grades Are Most Important
Your grades are an important part of law school, but the 1L grades you receive are going to be the most important grades during your tenure at your school of choice. The grading system at law school isn’t like the one you went through during your undergrad. There’s an independent “curve” for every class in addition to a “class rank” that ranks each student according to their GPAs for the semester. This creates a competitive atmosphere among the student body. The amount of As, Bs, Cs, and so on are predetermined, so if only 10 Bs are allotted for a class and a professor has 12 Bs, the lowest two will be lowered to C+s.
The grading system is tough, but many professors offer participation points that get added to your final grade. Participate early and often during class to help bump your grade up.
Create Healthy Habits
It’s far too easy to fall into unhealthy habits during law school, especially with the lack of free time available to students. Between assignments, reading, and social activities, it’s often much easier to subsist on coffee, energy drinks, and fast food while pulling all-nighters to finish everything that needs to get done. However, this is very unhealthy—both mentally and physically—and you should do what you can to have as few of these days as possible. Create healthy habits to look after your mental and physical health: reduce the number of all-nighters you pull, choose healthier meals over fast food, find time to relax, and so on.
It’s important to work hard in law school, but it’s equally as important to look after yourself too.
Build Your Brand
Once you get accepted into law school, you’re on the path to building your brand as a future lawyer. Everything you do will reflect on your character: what you say, what actions you take, how you dress, everything. This isn’t limited to physical appearances; your online presence is vital to building your brand. Before posting on social media, carefully consider what you’re sharing with the world—you never know who will see your posts.
Outside of social media, utilize your school’s resources as much as possible. Introduce yourself to the people in your section and start networking as soon as possible. An easy way to do this is by attending law school-sponsored events to meet new people.