Getting ready to begin your first of three fun- and work-filled years of law school? Susan Cartier Liebel, an adjunct law professor, coach, mentor, and entrepreneur, has some suggestions on what she feels that she missed out on during her law school experience. Here are a few highlighted lessons from her nine things she wished she’d learned in law school.
First, Liebel suggests adhering to the Pareto Principle, also popularly known as the 80/20 rule. If you’re not familiar with the 80/20 rule, it states 80% of the value you received will come from 20% of your activities. Liebel suggests finding out early which activities are unproductive and which activities lead to value. This includes figuring out efficiency in studying, networking, or job-hunting.
Next, combat the Parkinson’s Law. This rule says, when working through a problem, it will become more and more complex until it takes double the time you originally planned. Liebel says to give yourself less time to complete projects or solutions. For example, if you think one assignment will take two weeks, give yourself one week. Then, when it goes into the next week, you’ll still have plenty of time.
Third, mistakes and failures are critical to success. As Liebel reasons, when we are kids, we constantly make mistakes and fail. But we keep trying and trying because learning things is worthwhile and pleasing to ourselves and parents. As we age, we start calculating risk and stop trying as many new things. Liebel claims we should continue to strive and experiment as long as we are not hurting others. “Success in love and life most often comes from not giving up despite mistakes and failure,” she writes. “It comes from being persistent in the face of challenges, even when others will tell you to stop trying.”
Next, every lawyer is unique. Liebel says everyone is different and lawyers and law students shouldn’t try to be like others. If everyone is acting the same way and doing the same things and thinking the same ways, it will stifle innovation. Akin to not being afraid to make mistakes, don’t be afraid to be unique, she says.
Finally, Liebel says you’ll become what you think you’ll become—for better or worse. Self-fulfilling prophecies are real and can affect law students. If you want to become something, like a solo practitioner (for example), think about it, want it, and you’ll have a better chance of becoming it.
Source: Above The Law
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