As a lot of you will now be going into your first year of law school, it is important to understand that law school is not completely "Legally Blonde", "Suits" or "How to Get Away with Murder?"
It definitely is a mixture of all that with a more painful twist.
Over the course of a few years at law school, you definitely get the grip of it. You understand law school better, and you know, how exactly you need to deal with law school.
If you did not go through my initial blog post on 6 Things I wish I knew Before Law School, no issues, I will list down a few other things that I really wish I could have told my first-year self.
So here it is:
1. Understanding that competition lies everywhere and you need to be ready for a cut-throat battle amongst legal enthusiasts and NOT solely by marks.
Surely you may be the best and the most undefeated student in class while scoring the best grades possible. But are you really the best out there when compared to thousands of other law students across your country?
The answer lies in what you think is important.
If your priority lies in only securing grades for the purpose of "placement", you probably will not do that good in the field of practical law.
Sure, academia may be the field for you, but if you look closely, academia also requires you to be vigilant and focus on what activities you have kept yourself oriented in.
So simply earning marks for the purpose of "getting placed" without any experience or even anything to back you up, will not probably be considered.
Definitely, you'll be selected, but do you really think that the legal world out there looks at how well you've scored in your exam? I would say no, not really. Unless you have managed to prove to them that you are a bright student involved in many activities, your CV goes down the drain.
So, does it look at how well are you able to present yourself before the court? Does it look at how well you've been working towards, in the field you chose to be a part of?
The answer is yes. Indeed. Most likely. Absolutely.
One can never be sure of what they want, but what they can be sure of being the best version of what they want to be or aspire to be.
Marks may take you to the door, but it will NEVER open the door for you. That door can only be opened by your skills.
This takes us to our next point.
I have initially stated, multiple times, why networking is important as a law student and have written down a complete post on that.
So to sum it up over here, it is very important that you have "people-skills" as a law student. Try developing it in the initial stages of your law school itself.
If I could go back to my first-year self and change one thing - this would be it. You have no idea what proper networking and good connections can help you out with.
So never underestimate this point.
3. Self- Discipline.
Self-discipline is an important skill that each and every law student must most definitely inculcate in their lifestyles. Keep a fixed schedule to do everything. When I was in my first year of law school, I had no idea of self-discipline in my life. I had no fixed time table and no schedule.
It backfired on me.
As a law student, you definitely have a lot to read. Keeping a fixed schedule, a time table and sticking to it can be difficult at first, but it is definitely rewarding.
4. Not everyone is your friend, but everyone is your connection.
This is something I learned the hard way. You find that you will not relate to a lot of people and you will most likely not have many friends. But you definitely know these people. If you cannot be friends with them, know who they are.
In law school, you'll come across many people who "claim" to be your friends, and will be there for you- only till you satisfy their needs.
Understand that, it is absolutely okay to help someone and it is equally okay to not help someone.
I personally feel like holding grudges only hurts your soul, so keep in mind, whether or not you like them, they will still be your companions till the end of law school.
Be polite and civil and remember to disassociate yourself with anyone who has a problem with everyone. I can assure you that there are people, regardless of their intellect in academia, that, they WILL have issues with everyone. Don't be that person and don't be with that person.
This brings us to our next point.
5. Keeping the right company
As law students, finding the right company can be really hard. You come across many people who will be completely into "books" but will have the worst of character and then you come across people who are not that academically oriented but have the best of nature.
So how do you choose your friends?
My advice would be to not stick with just one kind of persons' group. But mostly see who "vibe" with you. Your first and foremost decision should be to make sure that you understand what kind of people you really want to be with. Make sure that your group of friends have a mixture of all. The best way is to be good and civil to all.
For example, if you are someone who is very academically oriented, be sure to have people in your group who are academically oriented as well as the ones who are not so academically oriented. This way, you along with your academically-oriented friends can help the not-so-academically-oriented friends of yours learn well for academic purposes, and you can learn a ton of life-skills from them as well. Usually, people who are not very academically oriented are the ones who have amazing life-skills to offer and those are the skills that you need to pick up or learn from them.
Law School is all about "people-skills", thus the ability to deal with everyone, must be something that you should develop in yourself.
6. Get involved in as many activities as you can.
I wish I was more active during my first and second year of law school. I basically knew nothing and probably, understanding and keeping myself occupied in multiple fields as I am now involved in, would have significantly helped me understand a lot of things sooner.
Keeping yourself involved in law-related activities- be it of any field of law- will definitely help you out in understanding the main focus of your life. In the earlier stages of law, you can then decide which path to chose and remain focused.
If you don't know what to choose, get involved in every field. However, one thing that I would definitely ask every law student to be a part of, is, pro-bono.
The reason why I recommend doing pro-bono activities is that, through that, you would realise the importance and implementation of law apart from the bookish knowledge.
You would realise that there are still major changes that are required and still major changes that you yourself can work on in the field of law.
What you need to understand is that you are not the next "Elle Woods", "Harvey Spectre" or "Annalise Keating". You are yourself!
Law is a very noble profession. The more you read, understand and dwell into it, the more you love this profession.
Hope this gave you an insight into something that you could take as a piece of advice.
If you haven't already, check out my Instagram page for updates on blog and more of such stuff. I also provide study tips and other tips on Instagram, so be sure to follow me there- https://www.instagram.com/shivanispeakslegally/