Here’s good advice for law students at all levels – from 1Ls to LLMs: act today as if you are graduating tomorrow.
That doesn’t mean get ahead of yourself. It doesn’t mean you should focus on the future at the expense of the present.
What it means is keep your eyes on the prize.
It means your academic life should have flow and momentum. It should have a logical, natural progression. Conduct it with the understanding that what you do today will have an effect on your professional tomorrow.
This applies to even seemingly inconsequential actions. Take, for example, food. Your decision to eat a healthy, nutritious breakfast will help keep you sharp and strong all day. Which means you will ace your big Torts exam this afternoon. Which means you will graduate at the top of your class, etc. etc. etc.
Law School Butterfly Effect
Here are some steps you can take right now to ensure a bright future, courtesy of Above the Law.
- Get an internship or a clinics gig. “If you make a good impression at your clinic during the year, you may be able to turn this opportunity into a job after law school,” says Marino Legal Academy. “And even if you intern at a place where this is not possible, you can use the internship to network with attorneys on a weekly basis. This is another great way to make connections that will ultimately get you full time employment.”
- Tend to your GPA even in your third year. Employers will notice if your grades drop off as your academic career winds down. It won’t reflect well on your stamina, follow-through and ability to finish strong.
- Begin preparing for the bar exam. “Studies have shown that those students that are in the middle and bottom sections of their law school class in GPA order fail at a much higher rate than their counterparts at the top of the class. And the same goes for LLM students. So if you fall into one of these categories, you need to take the time to make sure you are getting the right bar preparation for your needs. A smart move is to try out the free materials, like MPRE courses, that many bar courses provide, to see which company’s approach is best for you. Another smart idea is to consider adding a good Supplemental MBE program to you regular bar review course. The MBE is generally considered the trickiest part of the bar exam and worth up to 50 percent of your overall score.”
- Blog, baby, blog. Consider starting a blog in your desired practice area. When you start looking for work, tell interviewers about your blog. Point out how much traffic you get. If you’re planning to start your own practice, you will have an established online presence up and running.
- Attend networking events and seminars. Many of these are free for students, so why not take advantage of them?
- Publish an article. Even if you’re not on law review, you can get your byline out there. Submit to an online journal. Send a letter to the editor of the school paper. Write about hot legal topics that interest you.
- Brand yourself. It’s never too early. Secure a domain name. Design your own letterhead. Market yourself in creative and interesting ways. Prospective employers will see added value that you will bring to their firm.
Today is the beginning of the rest of your life, says the cliché. Like all clichés, it holds more than a grain of truth – especially for law students.
- LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/grp/post/2691620-6045291070240145411
- Above the Law http://abovethelaw.com/2015/09/3-tips-to-making-the-most-of-your-final-year-in-law-school/
Jay Reeves a/k/a The Risk Man has practiced North Carolina and South Carolina. Formerly he was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.