1L Year – A Brave New World

You have arrived! Law school. The beginning of endless new opportunities for you as an emerging professional.

Law school is a totally different experience from anything you have experienced academically in your life. It has its own language — the Socratic Method, IRAC, Bluebooking — and its own flow. It takes a little getting used to, so be patient with yourself. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. You cannot cram the day before an exam anymore. It will take time to develop study habits and time management strategies that work for you. And it can seem overwhelming at times.

Law students are often Type A achievers who are organized planners and are driven to succeed. Hundreds of these folks in one place can create an interesting pressure cooker of an environment. Grading on a curve removes some of the control we seek, and that can be extremely frustrating. People brag about how little time they have and how overworked they are. Sleep is a luxury. Stress is a badge of honor. But it does not have to be this way.

Take the time to figure out what works for you. Develop your own rhythm. Time management is an incredibly important aspect of law school. There is a lot to do. So work smarter, not harder. Create a schedule that works for you and balances your needs across all of your various classes and commitments. Start early in creating your plan because falling behind will lead to bigger future problems. Pull out a calendar and break up your day into blocks of times for what you need to accomplish. What works for someone else might not work for you. And that’s OK.

Study habits are personal. Some people are visual learners, others auditory. Some outline to embed the information into their heads while others use flash cards and repetition. Customize your habits to maximize your learning style. If others are studying in groups, that doesn’t mean you have to do it too if it’s not your style.

Block out the noise as much as you can. Who cares if someone is already finished with the first 100 pages of reading? So what if the person sitting next to you already knows half the syllabus? Just do things your way in your own time. Turn off your phone. Take a break from social media which only serves to amplify the noise and the comparisons.

At the end of the day, you are the only thing you can control. Not others. Not COVID. Not the curve. Just you. So avoid the swirling vortex of law school noise and do it your way. Part of becoming a successful professional is learning to prioritize. Start your 1L year and you’re off to a great start. Prioritize yourself.

Until you read again…