5 Practical Tips for Success in Law School
Pursuing a career in law can set the stage for long-term financial success and professional fulfillment. However, before beginning your life as a lawyer, you’ll need to get through law school.
Although there are countless schools from which to choose, you’ll need to put your best foot forward regardless of which one you wind up at. Since obtaining a law degree takes a considerable amount of hard work and dedication, a fair number of prospective lawyers wind up dropping out before completing their respective degrees. Law students looking to get the most out of their time in school and earn their degrees with aplomb are sure to benefit from the following pointers.
1. Never Stop Preparing for Exams
While it’s true that exam scores play an important role in determining one’s final grade in most academic situations, they’re absolutely crucial in law school. Sure, you’ll still have homework, but its primary goal will be preparing you for exams.
Since exam scores are vitally important to one’s success in law school, it’s imperative for students to be in a consistent state of preparation. However, this isn’t to say that you’ll need to constantly pull all-nighters and completely sacrifice your personal life. Instead, you’ll need to set aside time for studying each day. As any law school grad can attest, a little bit of daily studying will do you more good than a full night of pre-exam cramming. This approach also ensures that students will properly digest and retain course material instead of quickly memorizing and subsequently forgetting it. Whether you’re fully confident in your test-taking abilities or suffer from exam anxiety, perpetual test preparation is an absolute must for law students.
2. Understand What You’re Signing up for
Law school is among the most difficult educational institutions to succeed in. The class structure, workload and exams are dramatically different from what you’ll find at traditional colleges, so earning a B.A. isn’t necessarily a solid indicator of success in this new setting. Before attending your first class, it pays to learn exactly what will be expected of you as a law school student and make the necessary alterations to your schedule. Unfortunately, a sizable number of incoming law students don’t bother with these steps and wind up overwhelmed as a result. Although institutions like the Santa Clara University School of Law allow students to complete degree programs online, hard work and preparation are still central to one’s success.
3. Don’t Skip out on Class
Since exam scores are largely what determine your final grades, some law students don’t feel the need to attend class on a regular basis. The way they see it, if attendance counts for nothing, they can just work their way through the syllabus on their own. The problem with this approach is that it discounts the valuable lectures given by professors, as well as their insightful explanations of the course material. To develop a solid understanding of the subjects covered, you’ll need the guidance and wisdom of your professors.
4. Don’t Shrug off Homework
In the same vein as habitual class-skippers, some law students feel that homework is pointless because test scores determine their final grades. As long as they understand the material, they don’t see the value in completing homework
assignments that essentially reiterate things they already know. While law school homework can be time-consuming, it’s crucial to enhancing one’s understanding of course material. The more time you spend poring over case studies, law journals and other assigned reading, the stronger your grasp on the material will become.
5. Avoid Over-Joining
Like most educational institutions, law schools are home to assorted clubs and study groups. There generally isn’t any harm in committing to one or two of these, but if group-related obligations begin to take precedence over exam prep and homework, it may be time to rethink your priorities. While extracurriculars are fun, academics should be every law student’s foremost commitment.
Every aspiring judge and attorney can benefit from a good education. While it’s no secret that law school can be tough, the rewards for one’s hard work are invaluable. A degree from the right law school can set you on the path to long-term success and prosperity. However, before you can begin a rewarding career in law, you’ll need to fulfill the necessary academic requirements. Although this won’t be easy, it’s well within the abilities of anyone with sufficient strength, willpower and follow-through.