Feeling bad about your first-semester results? You’re not alone. Here’s a story from Lee Burgess, one of the founders of the Law School Toolbox, about getting her first grade (and what she did afterwards):
When I got my first law school grade, I sat on the floor and cried. I’m not exaggerating! I was at my aunt’s house for the holidays, and I got my Legal Writing grade. It was bad. Like, really bad. I couldn’t believe it.
I’d given up a prestigious, well-paid consultant job to come to law school. I worked really hard all semester. I gave up time with my friends to do this. Both of my parents are lawyers, and I grew up going to court with them. How could I – of all people – have bombed Legal Writing?!? And what did this mean about what was coming next, when my other grades came in?
Well, luckily, my other grades weren’t as bad. (They weren’t great, but they weren’t terrible.) But there was still the question of what to do about Legal Writing. After stewing and feeling bad about myself for a few days, I decided to swallow my pride and go talk to my professor about what happened.
The answer was actually pretty straightforward. There were things I had been doing badly that I needed to correct to do better. Was this feedback pleasant to hear? No, but at least I knew what to work on.
And work on it I did! I’m happy to report (and was happy to tell every job interviewer who needled me about that terrible first-semester grade) that I CALI’d the class second semester.
My takeaway from the experience was this: Anyone can bomb a class (or even a lot of classes) first semester of their 1L year. The question is what you’re going to do about it. I know from experience that you can turn things around, but it takes humbling yourself to ask for help, then acting on what you learn.
If your first-semester results weren’t what you hoped, you can do better, I’m sure of it. Read on to learn more.
How to Get Better Law School Grades
If your first-semester grades were disappointing, the path to improvement is actually quite clear. You need to figure out what happened and correct it. Easier said than done, right? Well, we’re here to help.
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