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How to Prep for Law School Over the Summer

Dave_BerryDave_Berry CC Admissions Expert 511 replies3047 threads CC Admissions Expert
"CONGRATULATIONS! YOU got into law school, you made your deposit and you lit a beautiful Memorial Day bonfire of your LSAT prep books. Now what?

It’s hard for anyone to imagine experiencing the first semester of law school, but this year is particularly hazy. Universities are waiting as long as possible to decide whether to reopen campuses despite the risks of the coronavirus pandemic, with contingency plans for remote classes.

This uncertainty is troubling because the first year of law school is as important as it is intimidating. One thing that eases this gauntlet is the camaraderie of a close-knit campus and the study groups, activities and chance encounters that germinate lifelong friendships, romances, shared interests and enmities. Fortunately, lawyers are problem-solvers at heart, undaunted by unknowns and unclear precedents.

The first year of law school is not a trial run. Grades matter. They play a key role in securing summer internships and ultimately job offers with law firms, justice sector agencies and public interest organizations. And unlike in college, it’s hard to ensure good grades and hard to gauge your academic performance until your grades come back." ...

https://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/law-admissions-lowdown/articles/how-to-prep-for-law-school-over-the-summer
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Replies to: How to Prep for Law School Over the Summer

  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    While most of the suggestions in this fluff piece are harmless, I urge prospective law students to ignore two recommendations:

    1) The article recommends that rising first year law students "consider learning speed reading techniques and practicing how to digest dense information." Please do NOT follow these recommendations. The author does not understand "speed reading concepts" or law school reading material. Furthermore, if a student cannot "digest dense information", then do not go to law school.

    2) The article advises against taking advice about law school from one who attended law school many years ago. Seems like self-serving advice for the author of the article as experienced attorneys would recognize the incorrect nature of the author's suggestions.
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  • BKSquaredBKSquared 1635 replies8 threads Senior Member
    "The first year of law school is not a trial run. Grades matter. They play a key role in securing summer internships and ultimately job offers with law firms, justice sector agencies and public interest organizations."

    This cannot be overemphasized. Especially if you want to go into private practice, your summer internship between 2L and 3L is critical. That internship sets you up for permanent employment (either at that firm or others). Hiring for that internship is usually done in the fall of 2L, so 1L grades are key. Some firms may hire in the spring, but those are usually the smaller local firms. The reality also is the higher the rank of the law school, the lower your class rank/GPA needs to be to get past the initial hiring hurdle.

    In many schools, law review selection will have a grade component, and law review is usually selected beginning of 2L. Law review is important if you are going for prestigious judicial clerkships.

    A good way to use the summer is to practice active reading. Case study reading is different than traditional text book reading. As you read a case, you are looking for key facts that distinguish the case, the issues that the case addresses, the decision and most importantly the reasoning for the decision applying the facts at hand. I used 4 colored highlight markers when I read my case books, one color for each of the 4 categories above. You might want to practice that type of reading over the summer where you are trying to identify and categorize various parts of text.

    Other skills that you must master are time management (very hard to do well if you do not stay current on readings and assignments) and note taking. Doing well on law school exams is not regurgitating the law itself (referred to as black letter law) but understanding the genesis of the law/decisions and the policy/philosophical reasons behind the law/decision. Most law professors have their own opinions/theories on this, and you would be wise to acknowledge those in some manner in your exam answers.
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