Studying for a law degree: A guide

words Al Woods

Not all students who sign up for law degrees every year end up graduating, and some of the graduates don’t finish with the best grades. Becoming a lawyer is one of the best careers in the world, but getting there takes work. This article highlights some tips that can be helpful when studying a law degree.

Have a Plan

In law school, there will be lots and lots of reading. If you don’t have a plan, you can easily give way to procrastination and miss the deadlines, or fail to read for your exams on time. Have a plan with specific timelines, and once you make a time plan, stick to it. Don’t watch TV or go out when you should be reading for your next class. You may have to cut down the amount of time you spend on TV and other things to focus more on your studies. However, this doesn’t mean your plan shouldn’t include extra curriculum activities. You need a good study-life balance. Make plans to relax, spend time with friends and family, travel, and engage in your hobbies, but dedicate the bigger percentage of your time to your studies. This also includes planning where you go to law school in the first place. For instance, this top law school guide shows how likely you are to get into any given law school, based on your LSAT scores – and if your current school is proving too overwhelming, this tool could help you switch to one that’s more right for you.

Read Extensively

In addition to your coursework, you’ll want to explore books, magazines, journals and blogs. Read about law and anything affecting law students and lawyers. Some of the knowledge you gain outside your coursework may not contribute much to your degree, but it can be helpful once you start practising.

Don’t Miss Lectures

Consider these three key tips if you don’t want to miss lectures – one, prepare ahead for the next lecture. Know what you will be covering, do some reading, and gather all the materials you need on time; two – block your lecture times from all distractions. Let your friends and family know when you have lectures so that they don’t tempt you with invitations to hang out when you should be in class; three – take good care of your health by eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep. If you stay up late at night, you are likely to miss the next morning’s class.

Network

When you network, you develop relationships with people who can support your law career, and you also get platforms where you can gain more knowledge and skills and even learn about new opportunities. Therefore, once you sign up as a student, always be on the lookout for networking events within and outside your school. Some of the great networking events for law students are those organised by law societies and law firms.

Get Some Hands-on Experience

Away from school, try to engage with lawyers or law firms and learn from them. For instance, if you aspire to work as a medical malpractice lawyer, find a firm that specialises in that and learn more about claims for medical negligence. Most law firms are always willing to take in students as interns or volunteers.

When the going gets tough, instead of quitting, find someone you can talk to about your struggles. This could be someone from your network, your lecturers, an experienced lawyer or even a career coach.

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