What you get out of law school depends in part on what you put in. Only you can maximize the investment you’ve made, and that comes by committing fully. Making the most of your law school years isn’t just about the classroom and the grades. Your future practice and career can benefit from good choices, strategic decisions, and friend-making skills.
Here are some insider tips for making the most of law school. By following these guidelines, you’ll maximize your experience and be prepared to hit the ground running on your career after graduation.
1. Make friends with everyone, from classmates to deans, to staff, to alums.
Be memorable for all the right reasons—say hello, learn names and faces, and stay positive. Stay in touch with your longstanding inner circle, too. These are the people who will form your community moving forward. Networking drives opportunity and you never know who may be the one to help you further down the line. Learn everything you can from mentors and help others along the way.
2. Put your studies first at all times.
Grades matter for about ten minutes in a long legal career, but you are in those ten minutes until you land the job you are dreaming about. Good grades can lead to good jobs and opportunities. Co-curricular organizations, teams, and appointments are important, but don’t overload yourself. If you notice your grades are starting to slip, review what you can do to fix the problem. Cut back on a co-curricular or join a study group. Don't let your money and time be wasted by performing poorly in law school.
3. Organize yourself.
Set goals for keeping up with your email, co-curricular obligations, and personal responsibilities, like bill-paying, car maintenance, and cleaning your clothes, self, and living quarters. Managing yourself is the most important skill you will ever learn. Take a deep breath, keep yourself organized, and don't get overwhelmed.
4. Follow your passions.
Get involved with student organizations and volunteer opportunities at your pace, being careful not to overdo it. To decide where to spend your time and efforts, follow your passions. Identifying what you care about will help direct your career and keep you focused in the future.
Take advantage of every law school opportunity that you can, but be sure you don’t risk any of these fundamental best practices for law school.
Director for Career Development
Catherine Martin has held professional, senior executive, and consulting positions in human resources, organizational development, performance management, and strategic planning in a range of enterprises, including small entrepreneurial firms as well as global organizations, Fortune 500 companies, and joint venture initiatives.
Since 2009, she has published The Job Whisperer, a career development blog, and her articles on nonprofit strategy, including social enterprise, are published in West’s Legal Forms, 4th ed., Vol. 29.