How to Survive Your First Week in Law School

Attending law school is probably going to be unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Your first week in particular can feel overwhelming right from the start, but never fear, we’re going to give you some helpful hints on how to navigate it all without losing your mind. It’s all going to seem pretty crazy and everything may appear like it’s moving way too fast for you to fully comprehend it all. That’s okay, you’re going to settle in and acclimate to the pacing and volume of your work sooner than you think. Here are some things to keep in mind as you get ready to enter your first week in law school…

Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself

You’ve done all of the mental preparation to steady yourself for going to law school but, in reality, you’ll never be fully prepared for any of it. Not at the start. In fact, you may find yourself completely baffled and perplexed for the most of the time. Your law school experience is not going to be like your undergrad days at Brandeis University. Your professors are going to throw an incredible amount of information at you in a short period of time. There will be a lot of reading and comprehending previous cases and statutes, many of which will be written in legalese that will be dense and unforgiving to the
untrained eye. That’s okay, just relax. Don’t expect it all to happen immediately.

Don’t Look Too Far Ahead

Stay in the present, focus on what you have in front of you at the moment. Forget about exams and major assignments due in the coming months. That will only serve to help you lose motivation and not gain it because it will all feel so hopeless. Take each project and paper as it comes along and stay focused on what’s expected of you in the here and now That way you can take in all of the information being presented in readings and other handouts and it gives you the ability to think and reflect on the cases that have been assigned right now, which will better prepare you for those upcoming exams.

Do Take Notes

They will be an invaluable resource, one that you’ll rely on throughout your time in law school or get your masters of law in taxation. Your class notes are going to be a big part of passing those exams and you’ll want to get into a routine for good note-taking from day one. How you do it is entirely up to you, a pen and notebook or typing away on a laptop or tablet. Whatever you prefer, make it work to your advantage.

But also keep in mind that taking good notes means knowing how to take those notes. Writing down everything will only make you miss out on vital information and discussions in class since you’re going to be too focused on capturing every last word spoken by your professors. Too few notes will just leave you at a total loss for important facts and data. The trick is to know what’s important and what’s not, that too will come to pass in time and you’ll start to get a feel for what you need to remember later and what can go by the wayside.

How to Determine If Law School Is Right for You

Going to law school is not for everyone. If entered into with a clear head and specific goals, it can be a hugely rewarding experience that opens up tons of new career options and opportunities. But before taking the step to apply, it’s important to really consider if going to law school is the right thing for you. Here are a few questions to keep in mind before applying.

What’s Your Motivation?

Different people can have many different motivators for going back to school. For aspiring lawyers, those motivating factors can range from increased salary to the need to help people to the desire to be like one of the heroic lawyers on a favorite TV show. Whatever your specific motivation is, it helps to be 100 percent clear on it. Defining motivation will help you set up realistic expectations for your law school experience, and help you decide what you actually want to get out of a career in law.

What’s Your Experience?

Prior experience with the law–be it volunteer work, interning, or other related work–is certainly not necessary for law school, but it does help set up realistic expectations. If you’ve already been working in the field, you’ll get a sense of how things go on a day-to-day basis, and you’ll have a better chance of honing on in a particular focus early on. There are many different branches of the law to choose from when pursuing a career: The more experience you’ve had, the better equipped you’ll be to make your decision.

How Much Are You Willing to Give?

Law school is a huge commitment. As such, it tends to be time-consuming and stressful, in the same way that a full-time career as a lawyer can leave little room for other pursuits. Even pursuing an online degree in law requires a lot of time and effort. Whether you decide to get an online llm from USC or physically attend classes at a school like Suffolk University, your pursuit of a degree is going to take time away from your life as you know it. A career in law is hardly less time-consuming, often requiring lawyers to keep erratic hours and spend late nights in the office. If you’re not ready to commit to this kind of work fully, law school may not be right for you.

Do You Have Realistic Expectations?

Law school comes with the promise of many things: A higher starting salary, access to exciting legal cases, and the kind of career that’s upwardly mobile. But before starting school, it’s important to get a clear sense of what the job is really like. Like many other jobs, work as a lawyer can be tedious and frustrating. Though the media makes the job look glamorous, the reality can be much harsher. That’s not to say that a job as a lawyer isn’t fulfilling, invigorating, and sustainable in its own way. It’s simply a matter of going into the work with a clear set of expectations.

Preparing For Your Court Hearing

Court hearings are incredibly stressful. Not only do you have to present your case, but you must understand how you’re being seen by the judge and jury. This applies if you are the defendant or the plaintiff. If your case is a big one, it can be even more of a headache. Not only is there a lot to prepare for, but you must understand that there is always ways you can improve, and that you should do everything you can to win your case.

The first, and maybe the most obvious thing you should do before any court case is to contact a lawyer. You’ll need to contact a good one, and one that you can trust and know that will fight for your side as hard as they can. This is especially true if the case is a difficult or convoluted one, as these can be much more difficult to get a fair hearing. If you’re low on cash and can’t afford an amazing lawyer, make sure that your pro bono lawyer cares enough to do everything that they can for you and your case.

Next, you’ll want to study everything you can for your case. You’ll want to understand the ins and outs of your case so that nothing catches you by surprise. You should work side by side with your lawyer in your case, but if you can’t, it’s a good idea to get as much information you can yourself, and bring it to your lawyer. Understanding that lawyers, especially pro bono are busy and take cases on that may care less about because of pay situations, is important in understanding how much they can and will feasibly do for your case.

Lastly, you’ll want to make sure that you look your best on the day of your case. You want to the jury and juror to believe that you’re trustworthy, so you have to dress nice and professional. If you’re looking for a great selection of clothing to wear to your case, shop Soft Surroundings for huge savings on style you’ll love.