A shot at legal practice is 100 percent possible even if you’re not a high school valedictorian — but only if you know how to prepare for law school in college. 💪
Speed reading, technical writing, and solid time management: all necessary skills for law that can be honed in college.
Two out of the three skills may not be your forte now, but these 10 game-changing tips can set you up toward law school success. 💯
1. Build a Solid Reading Habit 📖
Every law student’s nightmare: getting cold-called to explain a case you haven’t read. 💀
This happens because there’s just too much material to digest. So, read supplementary materials along with your recommended textbooks in college to help you prepare for law school literature.
Building this habit lets you become a fast reader and adds to your vocabulary — both desirable traits for lawyers. 📚 To catch up with hundreds of pages, read the text’s summary first, then visualize what you just read (better for your comprehension than speed reading). 💭
TIP: Adjust the font size to be bigger if you’re reading from a device, and make your screen brighter or dimmer to avoid straining your eyes.
2. Polish Your Writing ✍️
Crystal-clear writing can spell the difference between getting an A or an F in law school. Nothing gives justice to sleepless nights better than writing down what you’ve studied on your exam paper.
Typical law school exams are mostly essay questions. So, take class and study notes the right way because this aids you in writing organized statements with supporting details later on. 📄
When we say clean up your writing style, it usually means going straight to the point. Use an active voice, drop unnecessary adjectives or adverbs (adjective + -ly), and be specific. ✨
Good to know: Legal writing follows frameworks such as the IRAC (Issue, Rule, Application, Conclusion), CRAC (Conclusion, Rule, Application, Conclusion), or CREAC (Conclusion, Rule, Explanation, Application, Conclusion).
3. Master Your Time ⏲️
The intensity of attending law school compared to college is tenfold because expectations are greater. 😅
Stay away from the common pitfall of first-year law students: being overwhelmed due to poor studying habits and planning. Instead, craft a solid routine that lists all your to-dos according to priority and set up time blocks per task.
Studying may feel dull at times but be careful not to let that five-minute phone break stretch into two hours (with the help of some science-backed tips). 📲
4. Sharpen Your Research Skills 🔍
Diligent research in the cases you handle can lead to achieving a verdict in your favor, and who doesn’t want that?
Go to credible sources to get the big picture before narrowing down to the specifics. ✔️ And while you’re at it, master both sides of the situation just like the pros to form a tight argument.
TIP: The 5Ws and 1H framework (What, When, Where, Who, Why, and How) can help you get to the bottom of your research topic and create a solid foundation. Make sure to use this in every step of the process so you’ll stick to your focus, identify gaps, and refine insights.
Join extracurriculars like mock trials or independent law-related research projects to get into the flow of researching like a lawyer. 💪
5. Boost Your Memory 🧠
Many law schools teach using the Socratic method: an interactive dialog where thought-provoking questions encourage critical thinking to expose flaws in an argument. 🤔
Surviving this setup requires law students to retain a mountain of information, and they usually turn to memorization techniques (like mnemonics) to remember law principles or complex cases.
6. Work at a Law Organization 🙋
Learning how to prepare for law school may polish your reading and writing habits, but firsthand experience at a legal organization can’t be beaten.
Find a part-time job as a receptionist or assistant in a law firm to connect with practicing lawyers and find out what makes the career great (and not-so-great). 🤝
7. Socialize and Network 🤝
A couple of things you need to learn to make it as a lawyer is giving a firm handshake and properly breaking the ice. Why? These can help pave the way toward successful relationships.
Having a diverse and extensive network can help you locate niche information, find clients and referrals, and so much more. Hop on extracurricular activities in college to connect with like-minded peers or potential mentors in your target industry. 👍
Your impressive skills can show that you’re capable of doing the job, but strong connections can open doors you couldn’t access otherwise. 🚪
8. Manage Stress 💆
Juggling responsibilities and heavy academics in law school non-stop can keep you constantly worn out. But pushing your body like this can get you sick and hold you back several days while you recover. 😞
Follow the three pillars of health to avoid getting into this pickle: exercise, diet, and rest. Schedule time to sweat it out, like jogging on campus grounds or doing yoga in your dorm room. As for food, figure out easy ways to make healthy meals for a busy student like you.
9. Join Debate or Public Speaking Clubs 🗣️
Great lawyers tend to have a silver tongue, and you can probably guess why. 💬
Seek leadership positions or public speaking clubs like Toastmasters to put your skills to the test. These spaces offer a structured learning and feedback system to help you verbally convey your ideas better.
Raise your hand during class to volunteer answers or throw questions that can enrich the discussion. ✋Then, join your college’s debate team and competitions to truly master this craft.
TIP: Pause before speaking to sound more confident, instead of saying fillers like, “um,” “uh,” or “like.” Recording yourself while speaking can work wonders, too.
10. Find Your Support Group 🫂
Your first thought during exam season might be to lock yourself in your dorm room away from all distractions, but did you know joining study groups can have its perks?
Having people who have your back can not only make you feel less alone when the going gets tough, but they can be your source of study notes, proofreaders, or someone you can practice with for mock debates and recitations. 🤩
Law school is something you shouldn’t go through alone, so use the tips about socializing and networking to gather like-minded friends from day one. 💯
Becoming a rockstar lawyer is the result of many years of preparation, starting from your pre-law undergraduate days.
While you chase good grades and prepare for the Law School Admission Tests (LSATs), keep these tips on how to prepare for law school in college to heart and you’ll be on your way to acing the bar. 😉