Welcome to law school! As any lawyer can tell you, the first year of law school is alternately terrifying and thrilling. Most law students have been successful in other academic endeavors (after all, that’s how you get into law school!), but 1L year is a whole new ballgame. Below you’ll find some of our favorite posts for new law students, along with links to lots more content that might be useful for you.
And, of course, you can always check out our Start Law School Right course and our law school tutoring options, if you’d like a little more advice from the experts at the Law School Toolbox. We’re here to help!
What Lee Learned Her 1L Year
Here’s a story from Lee Burgess, co-founder of the Law School Toolbox, about her 1L reality check:
In a way, I was lucky, because both of my parents are lawyers.
True story: The first Thanksgiving I was in law school I went home to spend time with my family. My mother took it upon herself to quiz me to get me ready for my Torts exam.
We were sitting at my parents’ kitchen table and she said, “How is the studying going?”
“Fine,” I replied.
“Great, so let’s see, you know all of the Tunkl factors then.”
“Yes, I understand them.”
“OK, but what are they?”
I started to fumble through the factors, listing them out of order and slightly incorrectly.
My mom put down the outline and looked at me very seriously:
“Understanding them generally is not good enough. You have to know them and be able to write them down. Perfectly. Every time.”
So this made me very nervous, as I realized I had never taken a test before that required so much precise detail. You had to know the right language, not just the general ideas.
After that talk I quickly broke out my Torts outline and started memorizing everything!
It wasn’t fun, but thank goodness my mother clued me in to the reality of law school exams, before the big day arrived.
Maybe you’re not fortunate enough to have two lawyer parents to guide you through law school, but all is not lost! We’ve got lot of useful stuff for you, if you just keep reading. Best of luck on your law school journey!
Useful Advice for Brand-New 1Ls
- 5 Strategies for Surviving Your First Week of Law School Are you starting law school this fall? Use these strategies to survive (and thrive) your first week.
- Starting Law School in the Fall? Congratulations! You are starting the law school journey at the end of the summer. While this is a very exciting path you’re about to take, it can also be scary – especially if you’re not prepared. Read this post to see how you can start your law school journey on the right foot.
- Law School Toolbox Experts Share: What I Did Right When Starting Law School We all make mistakes when starting law school, but there are many things you will do right. The Law School Toolbox team is sharing the things they did right when starting law school so you can learn from their experience.
- Law School Toolbox Experts Share: Mistakes I Made When Starting Law School Congratulations, you did it! You are starting law school this fall. Starting something new can be overwhelming, stressful and sometimes scary. The Law School Toolbox tutors are sharing their mistakes so you can avoid making them.
- How to Start Law School Right Your performance in your first semester of law school will be due to many factors that are completely out of your control. So, how do you combat these steep odds? Well, you’re just going to have to do everything you can to stack the deck in your favor in every area you can control. That way, you can start law school right from day one! Here’s how.
- Non-Obvious Things That 1Ls Should Bring With Them and Why Starting something new (especially law school) is stressful enough. You don’t need additional stress by forgetting essential items when you start classes. The Law School Toolbox experts are sharing some lesser known items to pack and bring with you in law school.
- Suggestions for Surviving/Optimizing Law School Orientation Orientation is an important part of the starting law school process. In this article, the Law School Toolbox experts share with you some suggestions for surviving and optimizing law school orientation.
- Podcast Episode 1: Mindset - The Key to Success in Law School? Everyone is going to encounter challenges in law school, and in life – what matters is how you react to the road bumps. Do you have a fixed mindset or do you see challenges as an opportunity to learn and grow? Hear our thoughts on mindset in this episode.
- Podcast Episode 2: Why is Law School Hard? Today, we’re talking about why law school is hard! Not to scare you, but to provide context and alert you to some of the challenges you might face. Forewarned is forearmed. And remember, a challenge – seen the right way – is just an opportunity for growth and learning.
- Podcast Episode 57: Tips for Surviving Law School Orientation Today, we’re talking about law school Orientation. If you’re getting ready to start law school, tune in!
Useful Advice for All 1Ls
- How to Brief a Case in Law School If you are starting law school in the next few weeks, you will soon notice that everyone is talking about briefing cases. But many people don’t understand what effective “briefing” is. Well, the Law School Toolbox team is here to help!
- Stuff Law Students Say and Why It's Wrong In the spirit of knocking out the excuses once and for all and getting a harsh reality check, here are some of the most common things I’ve heard and why they’re nonsense.
- Hey, Do You Know How to Memorize Stuff? Law school can be a shock to the system because it requires us to learn, write, and take exams in different ways than many of us have ever done before. How can you help set yourself up for success in law school? In this post we talk about memorization.
- What Exactly is a Law School Exam? Law School exams are an important part of law school. Here is everything you need to know about them.
- How to Practice for Exams in Law School Are you starting to think about your exam preparation? Use our tips to practice and find exam success.
- 4 Steps to Managing Law School Material There is an abundance of law school materials out there. Here are some tips on how to manage this material effectively.
- Video Quick Tip: 1L Job Hunt In this Video Quick Tip, Alison shares some helpful reminders about job searches for 1Ls. Yes, academic success is your main priority! However, there are steps you can take to prepare for the job hunt while still focusing on your studies. Don’t panic! Be prepared!
- The People You Will Meet In Law School Even if you’re the kind of person who can see the good in almost everyone, law school might throw you for a loop. You will probably run into personalities you’ve never encountered before, and they can be surprising, and challenging to deal with.
- The Secrets More 1Ls Need to Know If you’re starting law school this fall, here’s a little secret that might make your life both easier and more difficult: no one in your class knows what they’re doing any more than you do!
- Podcast Episode 8: Law School 101 for 1Ls (What NOT to Do) If you’re a 1L, this is the episode for you. We’re going to talk about the top five things law students consistently screw up their first year, so you can avoid doing any of them.
- Podcast Episode 24: Job Search Basics for 1Ls Although it's only December, today we're looking ahead to the summer. We know a lot of you may be stressing out about this so we've got some useful tips and information about the basics of a 1L job search.
Lessons from My 1L Year
- Lessons from My 1L Year: What I Did Wrong Cara Defilippis, our new intern who just finished her first year at the University of San Francisco School of Law, shares her experience — and what she learned — with you.
- Lessons from My 1L Year: You Don’t Have to Live in the Law Library One way law students try to manage the newness of the first-semester is to adopt the mainstream approach to studying. But everyone is different. Let's take a look at the two most popular approaches to studying in law school.
- Lessons from My 1L Year: Be Careful with Study Groups Just like you should ask yourself if you are studying in the best way on your own, you need to evaluate the effectiveness of your study group. Here are some thoughts to consider.
- Lessons from My 1L Year: Have Fun Coming into law school, you are about to experience dramatic changes to your social life - but what's important is that you don't lose it completely. Read our advice here.
- Lessons from My 1L Year: Make Friends Believe it or not, law school is far more reminiscent of high school than of college. Here is our advice on making friends in law school, how to do it and what kind of people to look out for.
Collections of Useful Posts
Interested in finding out more about a particular topic area? Check out these collections of useful materials as you move through law school:
- Strategies for Pre-Law Students
- Strategies for New Law Students
- Preparing for & Surviving Law School Classes
- Law School Outlining 101
- Law School Exam Prep 101
- Law School Study Strategies for Different Learning Styles
- Legal Research & Writing
- Cultivating a Mindset for Success in Law School
- Time & Life Management in Law School
- Using Technology in Law School
- Law School Career Tips
- Law School Toolbox Podcast Archive
- Recommended Resources and Supplements
If you ever have a question, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love to hear from you! And you might also like to join the thousands of other law students on our mailing list. You can sign up here. Enjoy!