Things You Should Know Before Starting Law School

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Feb 16, 2020
Things You Should Know Before Starting Law School

If you are reading this, then you have probably decided to enter law school. Law school is probably one of the hardest challenges you have to overcome for your career — you will need a huge amount of courage to face it. It can be mentally, emotionally, and financially draining. Describing it as hard is probably an understatement, but rest assured that when you survive law school and the bar exam, your hard work will be duly rewarded. You will finally get to practice the profession you are dreaming of, fight for justice, and enjoy a good salary on the side. So what are the things you must know before entering law school?

How to enroll in a law school?

10 Tips Before Entering Law School

Law school is the biggest step in your journey of becoming a lawyer so start it strongly by going in prepared. These reminders will help you adjust quickly and work better under pressure:

  1. Start with the right motivation. Law school will test your patience, dedication, and most importantly courage. Your biggest opponent is yourself, there will come a point where you will question yourself and think about quitting, it’s normal. So for you to win the battle, you must have the right motivation to face your doubts. Before entering law school, evaluate yourself. What made you decide to enter law school? Is it strong enough to keep you moving forward in times of difficulties? Is it enough reason for you to commit yourself to such a difficult path?
  2. Create an efficient time management plan, change your lifestyle and study habits if necessary.  Law school will require you to read hundreds of pages and numerous cases for one lesson, and that is for each subject. For you to finish all the readings, you will have to dedicate most if not all of your time in studying, so it is better for you to manage your schedules well but of course, do not forget to include breaks. 
  3. Practice a note-taking system that suits you.  Taking down notes will help you keep track of the lesson, it will also help you compare laws with one another. Having a summary of the things you’ve read will help you prepare better for class recitations as you will not have to scan your book several times just to look for the important information you need to remember.
  4. Do not forget to contextualize, read cases. Be updated of the laws that are being passed and amended. It is important for you to keep track of the changes happening in our laws so you will understand why those laws need to be imposed. Reading assigned cases shall help you in contextualization. Reading law essay examples might also help you.
  5. Be familiar with the two separate skill sets you will have to use in your entire law school journey. There are two skill sets every law student must learn in order to survive law school:
    Skill set for classes: To prepare for a class, you are required to read a provisions, retain it, and read cases to fully understand the necessity in creating that law. Professors will most likely ask you about the existing provisions of a certain law, and the cases under it. The professor might also state facts and ask you what provisions are applicable to those he has stated.
    Skill set for exams:  To prepare for the exam, you will have to memorize the laws included in the coverage of your exam and try to apply it in different situations. Exams are typically multiple choice and essay type and are mostly situational. A situation will be stated and you will have to explain and reason out what law is applicable to that situation. You don’t have to focus on cases when preparing for an exam, unless you encounter a provision that is unclear to you. 
  6. Learn how to brief and digest cases. A case digest is basically a summary of the full text of the assigned cases. A case digest compilation is usually required by professors at the middle and at the end of the semester. It is imperative that you know how to brief cases properly because you will do this a lot during your entire stay in law school. Here are the parts of a case digest: Basic case briefing techniquesFacts: This part contains the story of the case. The important details of the story such as name of the petitioner and the respondent, the situation, and the decision of lower courts and Court of Appeals.
    Issue: This is part is where you state the problem or the dispute. In most cases, there is only one issue but in complex cases there may be two or more.
    Ruling: Ruling pertains to the law applied in the case to arrive at a decision and resolve the issue. It is the legal basis of the decision of the judge. You can briefly discuss the specific provisions under that law which is applicable to the issue. This must always be included in a case digest.
    Holding: Holding pertains to the interpretation of the law which was applied to resolve the case. Holding is very important since it answers the legal questions surrounding the case, and most importantly the issue. In some cases, holding clarifies confusion regarding a certain law. Holding answers the following questions; How did the judge arrive at that decision? What can be derived from this case? When a law is clarified in a case, that law shall be applied the same manner and shall never be subject to questioning to future cases similar to that specific case. 
  7. Familiarize yourself with pleadings . Pleadings are a compilation of documents presented by both parties to defend their claims. There are subjects such as legal writing which will teach you how to write pleadings along with how to write a law essay , but you must familiarize yourself with it as early as you can so you can easily learn how to make on during your legal writing subject. Pleadings are also important when you are asked to write law essays so familiarize yourself as early as you can. 
  8. Learn how to write legibly. Professors are strict when it comes to handwriting since most of the exams in law school are in essay form, and this is to prepare you for the bar exam. When your handwriting is not easily readable, professors might give your law essay a failing grade so be careful with your handwriting, erasures, and margins. This is something you can practice even before the start of the semester.
  9. Prepare to be surprised, always expect the unexpected. Law school is full of surprises, and not in a good way. Surprise recitation, surprise quizzes, surprise debate, etc., expect that anything can be thrown at you any moment. No matter how prepared you are, there are times when you will be caught off guard. When that moment comes, do not be disheartened. Remember, it is all part of the journey.
  10. You can take a break if you are experiencing a burn out. Remember, do not quit but you can rest. The number of depression and suicide cases in the field of law is alarming, so if you feel like you need to take a semester off for your mental health, then do not be afraid to do so. It is completely normal and most students do that. Law school will give you an extreme amount of pressure at some point, so don’t feel guilty about wanting to take a break.

Law school is an emotional roller coaster. It may give you an unreasonable amount of stress, but nothing beats the knowledge and wisdom you acquire for every second you stay in law school. As long as you have the right motivation, you will be able to face any challenge that may come your way and appreciate everything that you will learn. 

How to write a case brief?

Writing assistance for students

Managing your time is difficult when you are a law student, especially if you have piles of books to read and cases to digest. What if you are also working? Where will you find the time to write law essays? Will you still be able to sleep? Remember, your health and well-being is important above anything else. If you have to write law essays, you can just avail online writing services such as CustomEssayMeister. Do not put yourself so much, you can use the time you’ve allotted for your assignments to give yourself a break instead, take some rest, and have a good sleep. If you need a writing assistance for your law essays, we are more than willing to help you, just let us know. 

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