Reblog: Top 5 things I wish I knew when I started law school

For all you new law kids out there, welcome! Here’s a reblog of an old post with some things I wish I knew when I was just starting out with some added tips. Enjoy!

FirstYearBlue

  1. You don’t have to read the entire 50-page case.
    • While you may actually want to know what Justice Kirby said (who doesn’t love the famous dissenter?!), there is no point staring at the page for 60 minutes trying to make sense of all the waffle.
    • A much easier way is to read the case summaries online, or listen out for when your lecturer raises the main issues.
    • If you must read the entire thing, break it up i.e. read a few paragraphs at a time to make it easier to digest.
    • Remember, you don’t always need to know the facts in detail, just the case’s significance to the particular area of law, and what they said. This can be achieved by using the summaries – that’s what they’re written for!
  2. You don’t have to go to your prescribed lecture.
    • There have been many times where I have sat there trying to follow what my lecturer was saying at 9am, to no avail.
    • A better alternative would be to watch another campus’ lecture online (if you have access). That way, you can listen at a time that is more convenient, and with a lecturer that you click with more.
    • Switch to online study if you can. See my previous post for why it’s a great option to study online.
  3. Help is there. You just need to seek it out.
    • In my first degree, I had no idea about anything. I thought I was all alone throughout my entire degree.
    • It wasn’t until I started my law degree at my current university that I realised that help is always there, I just have to seek it out myself.
    • Your university will offer many services. From career advice, to resume services, to mock interviews. All you have to do is visit Student Services.
    • Your university might also have student run tutorials to assist in consolidating the learning. If not, you can always create your own study group.
  4. You can actually save money.
    • Everybody comments on the price of law textbooks.
    • Disclaimer: I already knew this, but I understand my readers might not, which is why I have included it.
    • There are a number of websites you can use to save money on your textbooks. The most popular is StudentVIP, but there are others.
    • Shop around a bit before you buy, check out Booko.com, it’s been a big help for me. Also check out whether there are any Law groups on Facebook where people buy and sell their books.
  5. Everyone is competing with you.
    • Yes, even your friends. It sucks a lot, because you don’t want to compete with friends, but you kind of have to in order to get ahead in terms of employment.
    • Therefore, you can’t really rely on others to inform you of things you need to do to get ahead. You’re on your own.
    • My advice here is to do what you need to do to get ahead, use the internet to look for opportunities to gain experience, form a network of your own and start participating in the profession. I wish to stress that you should do it the right way. Healthy competition is a good thing, but stomping over others to gain an unfair advantage is not, and those who do that know who they are. It is not cool, and people can see you’re not being genuine. Don’t make the situation worse than it has to be.
    • Most importantly – don’t feel alone! It’s easy to feel alone in a competitive field, but you can still be friendly with people for the purposes of study and being social. You might even be lucky and find a few people who aren’t aggressively competing with you!

Welcome to hell the greatest time of your life,

The [Pre]Lawyer in Black

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