What to Expect in Law School

The night before my first day of law school, I had NO IDEA what to expect. Was it going to be like undergrad? High school? Or something completely different? I went in blind, but luckily you won't have to.

Expect to hit the ground running. Maybe even flying, if that's possible, but law professors move fast. Expect them to cover substantive material the first day. This isn't like college where you spend days or even a week going over the syllabus. Make sure you read for the first day- maybe even the first two days so you don't fall behind. If you don't you will be very confused and hoping that the professor doesn't call on you...

With that being said, expect to be called on. Law school professors have multiple ways of calling on students to discuss cases, principles, and doctrines, but the most common is cold calling. Cold calling is when the professor will call on a student without the student raising their hand. Often times, it will go something like this: "Ms. Smith, what are the facts of the case?" (Ms. Smith repeats the facts of the case.) "Alright, Mr. Johnson, what was the issue on appeal?" (Mr. Johnson states the issue.) And the professor continues like this. Some professors will call on one student per case or day, and that student gets all the questions on that day. If your professor is like this, you REALLY don't want to want to be unprepared on the day you get called on.

Expect professors to be nicer than you expected. I don't know about you all, but I had an assumption that law professors were all mean and wanted you to fail (like in Legally Blonde). However, that is usually not the case. Most professors are amazing, intelligent, kind people who want you to succeed. While there are some that don't fit that description, most 1L professors do, as law schools want good professors teaching 1Ls.

Expect to feel stressed. If you prepare well for the first day, you may not be stressed that night, but at some point in the semester, you will be overwhelmed and stressed. Just know that this is normal. It is a normal feeling for law students to think "I'm not good enough for this." You are good enough. You will do fine, and you will be a lawyer one day. I promise. Know that this stress is temporary.

Expect to learn a lot. You will learn so much in your first semester of law school alone. I think I learned more in my first semester of law school than I did in all of undergrad combined.

Expect to read a lot. When I told people I was going to law school, they would often say, "Well, I hope you like to read." And I like to read, but I was not prepared for how much I was going to have to read in law school. Just know that it is a lot.

Expect to have a great time. Law school, while busy and stressful, is an amazing time. You will make awesome friends, you will have fun times with them, and you will bond over this shared experience. You will learn so much about the law, society, and yourself. Enjoy it.

This is the last planned post for my 1L Prep Series. That doesn't mean there won't be more, I may think of some more. If you have any requests, drop them in the comments!


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