By Anna Johansson • January 31, 2018•Careers
Law school is so challenging and time-consuming that it’s easy to lose perspective and forget this is just the beginning. Your focus should be less on surviving and more on preparing yourself for your first job in the real world.
4 Tips for a Better Final Year of Law School
The final year of law school is challenging on so many levels. Not only are you taking classes and preparing for bar exams, but you’re also thinking about career opportunities and scheduling job interviews – all while trying to retain your sanity and maintain at least a couple of social relationships.
The question is, how do you maximize the opportunities you have in front of you and ensure a successful final year of law school? Here are a few timely suggestions:
1. Meet With Your Academic Advisor
You’re most likely required to meet with your law school’s academic advisor once or twice a year, but it may be good to schedule an additional meeting prior to the final semester to make sure you’re on track.
“Although it may seem pointless—especially if you’ve managed to stay on track thus far—it could save you from the shock of finding out too late that you forgot to take a required class that will prohibit you from graduating on time,” Pieper Bar Review warns. “It’s better to discover this gap long before you go to order your cap and gown.”
2. Don’t Burn Any Bridges
You might be on the way out of law school, but that doesn’t mean you can throw in the towel and have a carefree approach in the final months of your education. The last thing you want to do is burn bridges.
You might not realize it now, but the connections you make in law school – with classmates, professors, and faculty – could prove to be highly beneficial throughout your career as a lawyer. Now’s the time to work on building your professional network, not tearing it down.
3. Actively Retain What You’re Learning
Are you memorizing definitions and cramming concepts into your brain just so that you can pass exams and scoot by? While there’s something to be said for studying to test well, you aren’t doing yourself any favors by failing to retain the knowledge you gain.
Believe it or not, many of the concepts you learn in law school will actually prove helpful in your career as a lawyer. By focusing on transfer of knowledge, you can increase your chances of enjoying post-graduate success.
4. Create a Study Plan for the Bar Exam
Studying for the bar exam is a full-time job. Unfortunately, not every law student has the kind of schedule that allows them to put in 40-plus-hour weeks for two months at a time. If you’re working on a limited schedule, you’ll have to get creative.
“Following a strict but realistic schedule is essential if you’re studying part time for the bar exam,” says Ashley Heidemann, who finished first in her law school class of more than 200 students. “Take the time to create a detailed schedule you can actually stick to. It’s one thing to say you’ll study 25 hours a week; it’s quite another to find 25 free hours and block them out in your schedule.”
Law School is Just the Beginning
When you’re in the middle of law school, it’s hard to see past the present circumstances and imagine that there’s anything else on the horizon. However, when you look back at your life and career, you’ll realize that law school was just a blip on the radar. While it’s impossible to fully realize this in the moment, understanding that you’re in a temporary season of life will help you accomplish your present challenges with a future-oriented mindset.