In our last post we started discussing 10 big misperceptions of law school. Let’s take a look at the law 5.
6. Don’t do practice questions until you “know the law”: You cannot truly know (or even be somewhat comfortable with the law) until you start to practice using the law. If you try to wait to do practice questions until you “know the law” you will never actually get to the practice questions. “Knowing the law” means you can apply it to different factual scenarios, which you cannot do until you practice analyzing the law n different factual scenarios. So don’t wait to get started!
7. You have to use study groups: Some people prefer to study alone or maybe with one other person and that is perfectly fine. I preferred to study with one other person in law school and found larger groups too distracting. I do suggest at least trying a small study group even if just to review your answers to practice exams. You can learn a lot from someone else’s analysis of the law that could help you expand your own analysis.
8. There’s only one way to learn in law school: Gone are the days that everyone is looking for that one perfect outline that they can memorize for the exam. Not everyone learns in the same manner and not everyone prefers to read/write outlines, memorize the law, then practice with the law before their exams. Now is a good time to find out your preferred learning style and start shaping your study habits with that preferred style. Are you a visual learner? An auditory learner? A reading/writing learner? A kinesthetic learner? Figure it out and you will find that your studying will become more efficient and more worthwhile.
9. Everyone is your competition in law school: Remember the days where other students would rip pages from law school library books to prevent other classmates1AKA – their “competition” from finding the perfect case to help write their appellate brief? No? Neither do I.2Also, who uses real books anymore? Because in most law schools, students realize that their legal education is not meant to be constant competition. Everyone is in the same boat, going through the same law school struggles so it is a lot easier to help one another than deceive one another. Listen, I am not telling you that you need to give your notes to someone who just refuses to do the reading or go to class, but help a classmate out when they are struggling. Remember that these classmates will be your co-counsel, opposing counsel, supervising partner, or judge presiding over your trial one day. Why garner a bad relationship now? I know it’s called the “adversarial process” but in the real world, a lot more gets done when you are civil to the other side of the case rather than actively trying to screw them over every chance you get.
10. If you’re not in the top 10% of your class, you won’t get a job: This is simply not true. There are so many opportunities for you after law school. Law school is job training, it is not meant to exclude the remaining 90% of your graduating class from the working world. Now it is important to remember that whether you are in the top 10% or not, you may not initially get your dream job because it’s just not always possible. Also remember that the path to getting your job is not going to be a cakewalk.3Believe me, I could have lined the walls of my house with the rejection letters I got in my three years of law school. And while you may not initially take the path you thought you would to get that dream job, you can still get it, you just may have to take a different path to get there. I had 2-3 dream jobs in my mind all throughout law school. When I could not get that job right away, I instead focused on the skills I would need for that dream job and went to smaller litigation firms to do that. On my new path I ended finding out I loved where I was and my dream job would not have been all that dreamy. My path changed a few times but I ended up liking that path more.
Whether you are thinking about law school or you are already in law school, I hope you have found these helpful.