(Because 1Ls don’t have time for another Top Ten list.)
1 – Law school is something you’re doing, not who you are. Tape that reminder to your bathroom mirror if you have to. Some aspects of law school and the legal profession are designed to hammer your soul if you’ll let them. So don’t let them.
2 – There are faculty members who will help you – whether it’s in looking for a job, understanding a class, or navigating the unwritten rules of law school. Don’t wait until you’re a second semester 3L to find someone to talk to. If you believe someone particular could help you, don’t be afraid to approach them even if you haven’t had them for a class yet.
3 – Try to focus on learning stuff, and not the paper chase. Grades have some importance, but there’s an element of randomness. In the long run you have to focus on what you can control and trust your process.
4 – Don’t go through this alone. Cultivate your relationships inside and outside the building. If you’re the kind of person who can reach out, reach out to others. If you don’t think you are that kind of person, reach out anyway.
5 – You’re not crazy – your friends and family members who aren’t going through it really can’t understand what you’re going through. They’ll never get why reading a 5-page case isn’t trivial or why there’s no longer any such thing as a “yes” or “no” question. So look for support, but not necessarily understanding.
6 – And by the way, you’re not going to have more time for family, friends, hobbies, exercise, relationships, etc. after you get out.
7 – By the end of law school, you should know if you would rather do trials or close loans. Every specialty is more or less an aspect of one of these two things. Beyond that division, it’s hard to know what an area is really like until you get into it.
8 – Don’t take a class just because the topic is on the bar exam. Classes are too precious to toss one away on a topic you’re not interested in. But if it’s a toss-up, take at least one class that’s based on interpreting a code – something like sales, tax or evidence.
9 – In the long run, you’ll be fine. Put this one on the mirror, too, if you need to.