Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ten Things I Learned Law School

1. Be Nice
You never know when you'll need to borrow notes from someone or who you'll need to call for a referral.

2. Work Hard, Play Hard
Obviously law school requires a lot of work. But all work and no play does make a student boring and one dimensional. Keep doing the things you love to do and make time to workout, go to the movies, dance, go to the theatre, watch tv, or whatever it is you like to do. Also if you have a passion, keep up with it. It's what makes you interesting and unique and you'll have something to say in response when asked, "What do you do in your spare time?"

3. Make use use of Career Services and your Alumni
These people are here to help you. However, if they don't know what you want or need they cannot help you. TALK TO THEM!

4. Network, Network, Network
Tell everyone who you are, what you want and ask for ADVICE, not jobs. Go to state and city bar events, contact lawyers who are practicing in the area you want to practice or in the city you want to practice. Set up informational interviews or coffee dates. Check out Guerilla Tactics for Getting the Job of Your Dreams by Kimm A. Walton for more ideas.

5. Perfect your research and writing skills
Something a lot of law students don't do in law school, especially if they are not on a journal is write. There are tons of legal writing contests. Write and research and submit something. You may win, but the experience alone will help you produce a great writing sample. Check out your law school's webpage, the ABA's website or just google "legal writing contest".

6. Don't take law school too seriously
Law school is important, but there are some things more important (like your family, friends, oh yeah and yourself and sense of self!) Don't get so caught up in law school that you loose sight of who you are and why you went to law school in the first place.

7. It's never too early to start looking for a job
Do your research and starting submitting resumes and cover letters by December 1st of your first year. After that always apply for jobs early and be diligent. Apply to law firms and government agencies that don't come to your law school. Do your own leg work. Career Services will help you, but they won't hand deliver your job.

8. Get to know your professors.
Talk to your professors. Ask them questions. Visit their office hours. Professors are valuable assets and know of many who will go to bat for students that they personally know and believe in. Again, if they don't know you, they can't help you.

9. Sometime during law school try go get real practical legal experience.
Do a clinic, volunteer to clerk for a judge, work at the local legal services office. Law school teaches you the theory, but you need to supplement that with some hands-on experience.

10. Get involved.
Join a law student organization. Most law schools have many organizations that students can get involved in. Also consider joining a University-wide organization, a church, a political group or whatever. Getting involved helps you give back and makes you a more well rounded student.

Last thing, don't forget your family. Call your Mom! Let your family know what's going on in law school, they'll be understanding, they know you have to study! Just know they are going to be so proud of you when you walk across the stage!

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1 comment:

  1. Nice blog! Also, some very good advice for people contemplating law school, or already in the thick of things.