You have heard a lot of stories about how it is to study law from your family, friends, and even at the movies. However, it is still difficult to discern what it is like to be a student of a Juris Doctor degree. In this article, we will confirm or debunk some information to make sure that you are aware of what you are getting into. It will also include some advice on how to adapt to the life of being a law student.
Lawyers are one of the highly respected professionals. Your law studies can be your ticket to career and financial success. What is it like to be a law student?
It is difficult to describe how much reading a law student needs to do in the three years of his law studies. The best description could be that a law student reads a lot of law books. A law student usually spends a lot of time in the library reading or catching up on his readings. Upon starting law school, first-year students often get advice from older students on how to manage their reading list. It can take a while, though to get used to the reading pace needed to survive law school.
Being on track with your endless reading list may mean staying up and having long nights. Time management is one of the disciplines you need to master while in law school. Sticking to a reading schedule and a schedule for the other assignments that need to be done is something you need to master quickly. By the end of the semester, you will be surprised by how quickly you can comprehend the main gist of an article or find the important paragraphs of a case.
To be successful in law school, you need to attend all your classes. You must be on time and prepared. Class participation is an important aspect of the learning process in law school. It may also be a factor in your final grades.
Most law schools use the Socratic Method. In this teaching method, the professor randomly calls a student and interrogates him about facts and decisions of any court cases. Law students need to be mentally prepared for the intensity of the questioning and discussions.
Law studies are never complete without study groups, although being part of one or more is a personal preference. Each study group is often composed of five to six students who meet regularly or during exam time.
Study group members work together to review topics discussed in class and also to prepare for classes. Study groups allow law students to see how fellow students analyze and attack legal issues and learn from them. Studying as a group sometimes makes studying easier and more effective. It also allows students to master the skill of listening which is important for every lawyer.
On the other hand, some law students opt to study alone because they find it distracting to study in a group. It is also not obligatory to be part of a study group but many lawyers say it has helped them a lot in law school.
You will be taught how to “brief” a case in your legal writing class. Believing a case means laying out the fact pattern of a case to determine the principle of law applicable to the case. It also entails writing the facts of the case into manageable parts to better understand each case.
You will need to write a brief for each of the cases assigned so you are prepared for class discussion. Believing a case will help you discern different issues coming from the fact patterns. This is a skill you need to master to pass your exams and succeed as a lawyer. After mastering the case brief method, you must level up to the “book brief” method. This entails making notes in the margins of the text of the case and highlighting important facts of the text. ‘Book briefs’ also allow you to come to class prepared and ready to participate in the discussions.
Law school students do a lot of memorizing. You should memorize the law so you can easily cite a law applicable for a particular case. Reading, writing, memorizing, and eloquent speaking skills are mastered by successful law students.
Enhancing your public speaking skills help you prepare for the Socratic Method of teaching. Lawyers do a lot of talking and law school prepares you to do effective talking. Participating in class discussions will also require you to be an eloquent speaker.
There are many qualities students need to possess to become a successful law student. You were admitted to law school and it carries responsibility on your part. Most of the qualities of a successful law student are the same qualities possessed by great lawyers which will be discussed in this portion:
Law studies require a lot of reading which you need to comprehend and analyze. Analyzing though is not the only thing you need to do, you also need logic and analytics. When you study a case you need to look at it from all possible angles so you can find a realistic solution to an issue.
As you advance in your law studies, you will be able to sharpen your logical and analytical skills. It is one of the most essential skills that you need to become a great lawyer and problem solver.
When you become a lawyer you will be extensively communicating – written, oral, or listening. You will need to develop note-taking and outlining because these will help you get through law school.
Your public speaking skills will be tested in the numerous class discussions together with your writing skills as you deal with the numerous legal documents and class papers that will be required for you to submit. As a future lawyer, excellent public speaking, communication skills, and persuasive writing skills will be an important aspect of your success.
Between studying, reading, completing assignments, and doing other personal things, you will need to be good in time management. You always need to have a “To-Do List” and stick to a solid routine.
Before beginning law school, you need to be fully committed to what you are getting yourself into. When you start living the life of a law student, your law studies will take up most of your time. It will affect the time you will have for yourself. It will also affect your relations with family and friends. You will need to be highly dedicated to surviving these changes.
Law school is also extremely competitive. You need to be dedicated to your law studies to stay on top of your game because your fellow students will do anything to get ahead of you.
It can sound strange that you need to be creative to survive law school. Did you not realize that as a law student or lawyer, you need to be a creative problem solver? You will need to be able to think out of the box and look at all possible solutions and outcomes to the problem on hand.
Notwithstanding the heavy workload and stress that goes into the daily life of a law student, most of them will say that life is not just all about law. Do you think you can stay another two years for a Masters in Law degree?