As you can probably guess…I’m super far behind in my Law School 0L Prep.
i am ashamed
Life got in the way, and when I wasn’t busy, instead of making myself busy with reading I opted for enjoying my non-busyness. BUT, I’m starting LEEWS this week and tomorrow I’m going to post some of the general things I learned from Getting to Maybe.
In the end… I’ll still be proud of whatever I can get through in the next 3 weeks because I’m still going to be ahead of at least 80% of my class, and 100% of the people who did nothing.
some people call it arrogance- i call it being the best *walks down hall in a suit with sunglasses on like a boss*
I have about 54 days (which is almost 8 weeks) until I’m moving!
My goal is to get through a book a week. This means I have about 2 weeks wiggle room for those days I don’t feel like doing anything, I want to have fun or I’m too busy to get reading done.
I plan to go in this order (assuming I can find all the books I want).
Getting to Maybe
How to do your best on Law School Exams
Plain English for Lawyers
Thinking Like a Lawyer/Learning legal reasoning
1L of a Ride (although 1L of a Ride can be read anytime or simultaneously, it doesn’t need to adhere to any specific order).
I chose this order because of how the books relate to each other and based on which ones I’d like fresh in my mind the closer I get to law school.
Getting to Maybe and How to do your best are the same topic from different perspectives. LEEWS offers a detailed system for succeeding at what Getting To Maybe and How to do your best will teach me. Next I’ll use Plain English for Lawyers to improve my writing skills and as a grammar refresher (because your ability to study or analyze is irrelevant if you can’t articulate it). Last, Thinking Like a Lawyer or Learning Legal Reasoning will lay down the law basics right before I’m on the way to orientation.
And that’s about it for prep so far. After each book I plan to give you guys an update on my goal progress, and an initial review for the resource (to be followed by a real review during the actual semester).
gifs of jon snow because im still hurt T_T
T_T Stark fans understand my pain
Links to my favorite/bookmarked 0L Summer and 1L advice posts
Most of these are from TLS because I think they had the most down to earth/realistic advice, but it’s all different people with different perspectives that give really great detailed advice. I think every potential law student should read a couple of these (or post like these) before entering law school. Even if reading this is the only prep you do this summer, I think they offer really great insight!
Also, no worries if you can’t read all these links right now. I have also created a page in my navigation bar for resources which will have all these links and more!
First, there are 2 types of prep, General Prep and Substantive Prep.
General Prep consist of things like learning how to brief cases, learning the basics of issue spotting, learning the process of outlining (and how best to outline specifically in relation to law school exams), learning how to read opinions (or getting used to reading opinions), or any law school exam test taking prep/studying tips. The idea of general prep is working to build a really great foundation that you can further build on throughout the semester. It should help you structure your studying from the very beginning, as well as give you a good idea of what you should be focusing on during class and as you read cases. It should also give you tools and tips to make “thinking like a lawyer” and legal analysis come easier. Additionally my version of general prep will help me begin the basics of learning how to write like a lawyer.
Substantive prep is actually getting into the law and beginning to learn the basics of all the classes (or the hardest classes) 1Ls typically take (such as torts, property, or constitutional law). Some people do this by reading Explanations & Examples (E&Es) books or Hornbooks (which are somewhat like the law school version of “sparknotes”) on these different subjects. The idea of substantive prep is that you try to grasp some of the basic legal concepts before you officially start school, which could make class easier to understand and take away some of the learning curve to also contribute to structuring your studying and helping you understand cases and hypotheticals better.
My focus is going to be on general prep because I personally don’t think substantive prep is necessary or significantly helpful.
My last post I talked about the game of law school, and working to be the best, and I know it probably made me sound like a potential gunner lol but…
Some of you are probably thinking, calm it down girl, does it really matter if you’re in the top 10%? We’re all getting J.D.s here, just work hard and do your best.
But yes, HECK YES it matters.
Here’s my top 2 reasons why:
#1. I’m black.
Now, this isn’t a problem for the great majority of law students. The school I’m most likely going to has like 3% black people, 20-30% “other” in general, so most law students will never have to consider this. But for all other POC law students out there, average isn’t good enough for you.
You know that whole Scandal scene with Papa Pope and Olivia and he says
That sh*t (excuse my french) is real life. If you’re one of those “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” people, and you think it’s an excuse, just go look at employment and salary statistics.White high school drop outs are just as likely as black college graduates to be hired, so I’ve got a hell of a lot more work to do to get to the top than the majority of my peers. Just graduating, isn’t good enough, and it won’t put me in a position for the type of success I’m after. To get the best, I’ve got to be THE best.
#2. A LOT of Law school graduates are unemployed.
They aren’t the majority, but they’re getting pretty close. If you’ve applied for, or are starting law school and you haven’t researched and read articles and statistics on employment- you are naive.
A J.D. isn’t magic, and I’m not immune to the woes of an over-saturated market. The fact is, not only will I be competing with my fellow graduates, I’ll also competing with the ~30-40% of unemployed graduates that have come through in the last 5-10 years since law employment prospects have dropped. That whole joke about having a law degree and working at target…isn’t really a joke.
Some people are going to read this and think, “eh, this doesn’t matter for ME because I don’t wanna do Big Law, I’ll work at a small firm or I want to work for the government as a public defender or whatever”. BUT, there are only so many jobs in Big Law, there are only so many prestigious clerkships, so where do you think all the rejects for those jobs are going? And these aren’t “rejects” in the regular sense of the word, these are super intelligent people, with significant skills, polished and awesome resumes who were only rejected because there are just too many lawyers and not enough jobs. Therefore you have to set yourself apart or you’ll be just another face in the crowd. These people are competing with you for the small firm job, or the government job, or any job that’ll hire because at the end of the day, student loans are no joke, and people have bills to pay.
Ultimately my point is, if I want to be on the other side of the employment statistics I’ve got to WORK for it and kick ass in law school.
For about a year now (maybe more because my excitement for law school is too much to contain lol) I have been reading all kinds of law blogs and lawyer blogs and law student tips and news blogs like Above the law, Top Law Schools (TLS) forums, Ms JD, Law-School-Hacker etc. (to name a few). I have learned A LOT…what to expect, what I can do to prepare, what I should do during, application tips, transferring chances, how ranking works, etc.- basically tips about hacking the system. Ultimately though, what I have come to realize from all this research is that law school is a GAME. Except, unlike any other game, most people don’t know the rules, don’t know how to play, and are low-key being misled by the teachers/leaders of the game (a.k.a. your professors). Resulting in a blood bath of confusion as unexpected candidates rise to the top, and that person who worked relentlessly briefing every case, or that person who you thought sounded the smartest in class, all end up with mediocre grades in the middle of the pack.
It isn’t the person who works the hardest, nor the person who has the most intelligence who will ultimately win. It’s the person who works the SMARTEST within the system of the game- combined with a superb work ethic- who will win the Game of Law School.
The majority of people going into law school are going in with the mindset that they’ll work to be in the top (top 10% usually gets you on Law Review, and possibly a scholarship depending on your school). 90% of them will be wrong.
If you don’t want to be in that great majority, the key is to get ahead of the game.
To know as much of the rules and moves as you can before you start.
I intend to be the best. Unlike everyone else however, my intentions are backed by months of research and advice from top 10percenters at top law schools (i.e. Standford, UCLA, Berkley, etc.), current lawyers, and law professors.
The first of my steps towards success this summer is 0L Prep.
I’m poor, so I wont be spending $1500 on some fancy Kaplan law school prep that most people say doesn’t help them any way lol.
I have however, researched the best books, the best type of prep, and what I should be working to understand prior to starting, so if you’re interested check out my next post detailing my whole plan and the books with some links to other blogs or forums that helped me form my plan.