Law school is tough. Especially the first year. Training your brain to think in a legal way is a process and a struggle—most of which happens in the first year of law school. But as law school tutor, Ariel Salzer recently wrote for Above the Law, there’s a good and bad way for a 1L to struggle. She gave some examples of both in a recent column for Above the Law.
First, Salzer says to figure out when and how to read cases. The typical approach is to read every case in excruciating detail before class. Salzer says to switch tactics and prepare enough to be able to discuss the case, but not to worry about the minute details. Then, she says, look at the case again after class. So, spending the same amount of time on the case, but breaking it up to before and after.
Next, don’t worry about what you sound like in class. This is counter-intuitive. Of course it’s very easy to get wrapped up in what you sound like in front of classmates (and your professor). However, Salzer, says to instead spend less time on preparing what you’re going to say in class and more on the final exam. It’s not nearly as important to look good in front of classmates as it is to score a good grade on the final.
Another typical thing to do in the first year of law school, Salzer says, is to study hard. Salzer says to study smart. Specifically, Salzer argues that first years don’t spend enough time and energy practicing tests and hypotheticals. Practicing tests and exams and thinking through the actual tests is studying smart, Salzer claims. Spending less time studying material and more time testing yourself on the material is the smarter way to go about studying, according to Salzer.
As many good and worthy things in life, law school does not come without hurdles. It’s the trials and struggles that make it worth it. But, as Salzer pens, there are certainly good and bad ways to struggle. Choosing the good ways to struggle will make law school more enjoyable and will likely turn you into a more productive lawyer.
Source: Above The Law
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