“What should I do the summer leading up to my 1L year?” I get this question a lot. And my answer is always the same: not a damn thing. And I’m 110% serious. Law school is A LOT of work. It’s stressful, demanding on your time, affects your mental health, and requires a lot of sacrifice. Why would you spend your summer trying to figure out how to brief a case? ENJOY YOUR FREE TIME. Travel, spend time with your loved ones, read for leisure, enjoy your peace! It’ll all come to a screeching halt the first day of law school.
Truth is, you can’t fully and adequately prepare for the intensity of law school. Your entire 1L year is a learning curve of you adapting to being a law student. No one can teach you how to be a “good law student,” you learn by trial and error. I think the sole, most beneficial, thing you can do prior to law school is reflecting on your learning style. You can do this by looking back on your undergraduate and graduate school years and noticing what worked, and didn’t, for you while studying. I also highly recommend taking this VARK questionnaire. Pay the $10 for the full breakdown and review it thoroughly. It’ll tell you whether your learning style is visual, aural, read/write, and/or kinesthetic. If you purchase breakdown, it’ll show you the most efficient ways for you to study.
“The summer before 1L, your only focus should be living your best life.”
The reason I highly recommend this questionnaire is because a lot of 1L is spent figuring out what’s the best approach to digesting the law you learn. I quickly learned I needed to write and re-write my class materials. So, handwritten notes and flashcards were a must for me. You’ll waste a lot of precious time doing this if your learning style is predominantly visual or aural.
I know many people also recommend certain books like, Getting to Maybe, but I wouldn’t waste your time. And this is coming from someone who attended NUSL where the author, Jeremy Paul, is a professor (luckily he was never mine). The point of the book is to explain how law school exams are structured and how to best write an exam answer. Here’s some free game: you’re better off getting this explanation directly from your professor. I say this because each professor has a preference to how they want answers structured, for example, some want conclusions and others don’t, some want you to focus on gray areas, while others want to get to the crux of the issues. I’m of the opinion that I’d prefer to receive information directly from the source itself, not a third-party.
So there you have it folks. The summer before 1L your only focus should be living your best life and identifying your learning style. That’s a summer well-spent if you ask me!
I will add the caveat of, if you get into the SEO Law Fellowship Program, you should definitely take that opportunity!