Law School 101: 10 Things You Should Know About Law School
By: Archiebald Faller Capila
It has been said again and again throughout our history—law school is different. We have heard the stories of how law students have a hard time keeping up with the rigors of law school. We have heard the stories of how law professors showcase their prowess in grandly teaching the law. We have heard how certain law students excel so much that they can juggle their time while staying exemplary in the academic field. It seems that we already know everything about law school.
For those currently enrolled in law school, every day is the same but different in a sense. Each day, these law students are obliged to deal with the intricacies law school has to offer. However, while the suffering is the same, how you experience them is different from one another.
In addition, there are still some aspiring lawyers who have never set foot in law school. To some, law school is but a vague yet interesting concept that needs to be dealt with first-hand to fully appreciate the same.
It is without a shadow of a doubt that there are still aspiring lawyers and law students out there who wish to see the realities of law school life. They have heard the stories. They have seen the shows. They have had a glimpse of what law school is and what law school is all about through various platforms. And yet, they still don’t have a perfect picture of how law school works.
Indeed, one can only truly describe law school if and when you enter the same. There is no amount of words or best imagery that can describe in detail the life of a law student.
However, for the benefit of curious friends, what is it like to enter law school? While there may be a lot of stories to tell and a lot of tips to share, let us give our friends a glimpse of what law school is and how it works as a whole.
In line with our advocacy of helping future lawyers achieve their full potential, we at Barrista Solutions decided to list down 10 things you should know about law school. While the same may not be complete, this list will give you a glimpse of how things work in law school, what are the common misconceptions about the same, and how you would survive your stay if and when you decide to enroll any time soon.
1. You will start from scratch
Forget the imagination that you have an edge just because you took up a pre-law course or because you graduated with academic distinction back in your days. Forget that you have some legal experience because you have been working in a field somewhat related to the law. Forget that you fancy yourself above anybody else just because you feel the same.
In law school, everyone is at par with one another. In law school, everyone starts from scratch. Nobody ever has an edge in law school because basically, it’s a whole new world. You can never compare your past experiences to that of law school. Law school is a new and unfamiliar ground you have to take as if you are taking it for the first time.
Your accolades in the past won’t matter. What you should focus on is moving forward because that is what law school is about. You accumulate knowledge from the get-go. One more important thing to note is that your preparation for the Bar starts on the very first day of law school. So, while you may all start from scratch, you will all end up having different knowledge after you finish law school.
Don’t be too overconfident with your knowledge. Always remember to keep your feet on the ground.
2. Don’t assume that you are better than your classmates
Once you enter law school, you will always have this feeling of superiority just because you were able to pass the rigors of entrance exams. Do not let this achievement go to your head. The journey has just begun. Law school is a different animal.
Accordingly, you must not belittle your classmates and colleagues in law school. There may be times that they falter at recitations. There may be times that you get higher grades in quizzes and exams. However, the same is not the measuring stick in determining whether or not you are a better student than them. External circumstances will always be present and do not forget to consider them all the time.
In addition, the fact that you are in the same law school speaks volumes already. You and your classmates both passed certain examinations and you keep on fighting for the same dreams of becoming lawyers soon. Never underestimate your peers. They are not your competition. If there is indeed a competition going on, that is between you and your inner-self wanting to get out of law school because of certain reasons only you know.
3. Reading is no longer a hobby
Were you a wide reader back in your early days? Did you enjoy reading certain materials that represent pop culture and relevant history? Do you consider reading more of a hobby than a task?
Well, the moment you enter law school, the same changes. In law school, reading is no longer a hobby. It is one of the best means to survive the gruesome and taxing process of becoming a lawyer.
If and when you enter law school, you must remember that reading must be your priority to utilize your abilities as a future officer of the Court. Take this reading not as a hobby but as a task you need to complete for certain hours every day.
4. No one can rely on stock knowledge
If you think that you can go through a day in law school without reading the syllabus and the topics indicated therein, then think again. You may have survived your undergrad days through your stock knowledge. However, do not think even just for one second that this will also be effective in law school.
Stock knowledge cannot bring you past the bar in law. You must know that the study and practice of law require in themselves the understanding of complex legal concepts and the ways in how you should apply the same. Do not underestimate recitations, quizzes, and exams in law school. You will not survive through the use of stock knowledge alone.
5. Memorization is not everything
One of the common misconceptions in law school is that the same only requires memorization skills to be effective. While memorizing certain legal concepts is important and is effective in law school, it is not everything.
The study and practice of law require things more than just memorization. It is a complex study that involves an application, correlation, and cross-reference to other laws applicable. In short, law school is about a combination of skills that will help you push your limits.
To survive law school, one must not only be good at memorization but in analysis and application as well. It is all for nothing when you memorize the text of the law but you do not know how to apply them to certain legal problems.
6. Your professors will bring you to greater heights
Being starstruck with your professors is common in law school especially during the first year. Law professors possess a certain aura that demands respect and requires attention.
Do not take it the wrong way. The brilliance of professors in how they explain certain legal concepts and how they teach their essence is integral in your pursuit of the dream of becoming a lawyer. Listen to them carefully. Take notes. Jot down their tips on how to answer questions in recitations and examinations.
Your experience with your law professors will play a large role in your journey to becoming a lawyer soon.
7. It takes a village to raise a lawyer
One thing is for sure—you cannot survive law school alone.
While you may have the brilliance, you still need support in whatever form they may be. You need loved ones to take care of you from time to time. You need friends to go to whenever you feel sad after a tiring day in law school. You need your blockmates and law school peers in brainstorming and understanding legal concepts that you find difficult or out of your league.
The people around you are necessary to become a great lawyer soon. Treasure them dearly. You cannot do it alone. It will take a whole village to raise a lawyer like you.
8. Rest is necessary
Contrary to popular belief, you need to sleep and take a break in law school.
The things you hear where law students are deprived of sleep because they need to finish certain topics covered by the syllabus are unhealthy. Remember that a healthy body is needed so that your mind can function correctly.
Rest is and will always be necessary. As much as possible, sleep on time and utilize the same. Do not push your body to a limit wherein there is no longer a point of return. You must be able to relax from time to time.
Rest is needed whenever you had a long day at school—tired from the daily rigors of law school. Do not forget to take good care of your body.
9. Failures in law school are common
Failures in law school come in different forms. They may come in the form of failing grades. They may come in the form of failing to attend to personal needs. They may come in the form of failing to keep up with your peers and the like.
However, do not feel down. Failures are common in law school Nobody ever comes out of their respective institutions unscathed. Law graduates and lawyers all have battle scars. Nobody is safe in law school. Perfection is a myth in the halls of the legal system.
10. You’ll be a better student day after day
There will be times when you will be questioning your very existence in law school. You will ask yourself whether or not the journey is indeed for you.
Remember that it is.
Day after day, you will become better. You will acquire more knowledge. You will get more experience. You will understand the law in a much deeper meaning. Do not forget to tell yourself that you did great.
These are just some of the things you need to know about law school. For our friends and colleagues who already have extensive experience in law—what are your other things to remember for our new audience?
To all aspiring lawyers, may you be guided in your ventures. We are always here for you. Good luck, future paneros and paneras.