Planning for Your First Year of Law School

law-school-admissionIn case you are beginning your very first year of law college, below are a few pointers to help you get ready for and endure your first year. Law schools show students to behavior like an attorney via the appellate case procedure created by Christopher Langdell of Harvard Law University in the late 19th century. This process of instruction, welcomed by all U.S. law colleges, motivates pupils to examine appellate court decisions, analyze the courts reasoning and findings for and deduce general lawful concepts from specific instances.

In the coursework of your first year of law school, you will need to read and brief hundreds of cases. Students are usually assigned about 30 pages per credit hour which amounts to about 450 pages per week. To tackle this giant volume of reading, you must learn how to read quickly while comprehending complex material.

Specialists say that the brain is a complex knowledge processor able to processing and comprehending complex knowledge at greater speeds through practice. Before you start your first year of law school, you should try and complete exercises or take courses that will help improve your reading speed, comprehension, memory and issue solving abilities.

Sharpen Your Writing Skills

Exceptional writing skills are essential to every first year law student. A huge part of the law school grading method rests on your ability to craft a well-written essay. You must analyse and research facts, identify issues, organize your material, draft a well-reasoned argument and sum it up with a conclusion. Moreover, your response must be delivered in clear and concise prose under tremendous time constraints. Like in any skill, essay writing takes practice. You can brush up on your writing skills by taking pre-law writing courses, finishing practice exams or reading resources on the craft of writing. These seven tips to improve your writing may also help you refine your writing skills.

Generate Solid Study Habits

Were you the last-minute crammer who stayed up all night in college to study for exams? That strategy won’t work in your first year of law school; it is  impossible to learn or memorize the large amount of knowledge covered in the coursework of the coursework of the year in a few short days.

Time management is essential to success in law school. The tremendous volume of reading will require you keep up with coursework materials and assignments. You must pace yourself and learn, outline and study the substantive and procedural law on a consistent basis.

How much time will you require to study as a first year law student? Rule of thumb is several hours for every hour of class but every coursework will vary. Generate a study schedule at the beginning of each term and stick to it. Join study groups to brainstorm ideas and gain input from your peers.

Purchase Commercial Study Aids

Briefing cases and outlining black letter law can be tedious, time-consuming and confusing. Fortunately, a variety of commercial study aids are available help you master complex ideas, supplement classroom notes and aid in preparing for law school exams. Study aids can be helpful in case you use them appropriately but they ought to not replace your own efforts in preparing coursework outlines. A number of the most popular study aids are:

Gilbert Law Summaries


Emanuel’s Law Outlines

Law in a Flash Flashcards

Stock Up on Important Resources

A number of important tools can increase your success in your first year of law school. These include:

Black’s Law Dictionary – this “bible” for lawyers defines legal terms and provides pronunciation (so you don’t look like a fool in class).

Strunk & White Elements of Style – this classic manual on the basics of English usage can help you ace legal writing assignments and essays.

Law School Pre-Reading – Incoming and first year law students may want to read up on issues surrounding law school such as how law school works, the fundamental workings of our legal system, the Socratic Method is named after Greek philosopher Socrates, who taught students by asking question after question, seeking to expose contradictions in the students’ thoughts and ideas to then guide them to arrive at a solid, tenable conclusion. The principle underlying the Socratic Method is that students learn through the use of critical thinking, reasoning, and logic, finding holes in their own theories and then patching them up., and the law school experience in general. This summer reading list is a great place to begin. Preparing for Your First Year of Law School

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