I can hardly believe it, but my first year of law school is coming to a close. With the end of 1L, I’ve been reflecting on both how far I’ve come and what experiences I want to have or things I’d like to accomplish during my remaining two years. During my senior year of college, I made a bucket list of things I wanted to do before graduation, so I thought, why not a law school bucket list? Though my list this time around is definitely more oriented towards building my career, I also tried to add a few things just for fun or for my own enrichment or curiosity.
I want to set goals for the future but also make sure to celebrate my past accomplishments, so I’m including a few items I’ve already gotten through.
What I’ve Crossed Off:
Successfully make it through a cold call
Before starting law school, one of the things I was most stressed about was the dreaded cold call. When I had my first one, I was definitely nervous, but I felt confident in my understanding of the case and was able to answer the professor’s questions. And in one of my cold calls this past semester, the professor even told me after class I had done a good job! After that, I realized that it doesn’t really matter if you have the perfect answer to every question, and you aren’t expected to really. Professors just want to see that you did the reading, and that you’re engaging with the material.
Live on my own
This past summer, I faced the choice of whether to live alone or with roommates. While I had some trepidation about living on my own for the first time, I decided in the end that the pros outweighed the cons for me. I really enjoy having a quiet place to come home to, and to be able to cook or watch TV or sleep whenever I want without negotiating around other people.
Participate in a school tradition
Something I loved about my college was how many traditions we had, from the solemn to the silly. I always had a lot of fun participating in them, and feeling like I was part of a long line of students who had done the same before me. So when I had the chance to partake in such a tradition my first semester at law school (Erie Day, for all those who celebrate), I decided to go for it. It was a great opportunity for some silliness amidst the seriousness of law school, and I made some memories I’m sure will last far beyond law school.
For the Future:
Participate in a clinic
My law school is known for its robust clinic and externship program, so I definitely want to make sure to take advantage of it before I graduate. Clinics provide an opportunity to get out of the library and acquire the kind of real-world experience and skills that you can’t get from a book. Plus, it can be a great way to explore a potential practice area of interest. However, they are a significant time commitment, so I want to make sure to choose carefully both what kind of clinic I want to participate in and at what point in my law school career.
Join a journal
Journals are another hallmark aspect of law school I don’t want to miss out on. Yes, they provide a resume boost, but they also offer a host of other appealing benefits: the chance to work on cutting-edge legal scholarship, hone your editing and citation skills, write your own student note, and get to know other classmates. Luckily, my school has lots of great journals, from the more general to ones focusing on specific areas of the law, from intellectual property to international law.
Take a class on a niche topic of interest
Although I likely won’t have as much space in my law school schedule for exploration as I did in college (got to love a liberal arts education), I’m hoping to squeeze in a few classes on niche topics of interest. While there are some practical courses that I know will be useful in my career or for the bar exam, like Evidence and Corporations, plus required classes, I also want to indulge my curiosity with some courses on niche topics like art law or public health law.
Study abroad (?)
I didn’t get the chance to study abroad during college, so I was excited to see that my law school offers study abroad programs. While I’m not sure what my plans are yet, and whether study abroad would interfere with other commitments, it would certainly be fun to dust off my high school French and spend my last semester of law school in Paris…
Whether you’re starting law school next fall or still have a year or two left to go, I hope you got some inspiration to start your own law school bucket list, and ideas for some items you might consider adding.
Looking for some help to do your best in law school? Find out about our law school tutoring options.