Good Lord, It's Already August
August creeping up on people has a similar effect no matter what stage of your life you're in. "Dear God, is summer already almost over??" is a pretty universal sentiment.
But August also tends to bring with it a slew of 0Ls asking for advice on what they should do to "prepare" for law school. Full disclosure: I always hated you eager beavers. But since I continue to get this question year after year, here I am giving you the breakdown. For the soon-to-be 2L and 3L's, let me tell you, a little refresher in self-care is never a bad idea before you re-submerge yourself in the 3rd circle of hell.
First, throw aside the idea that you should be reading primers, supplementaries, or getting a headstart on the required stuff. Put the law textbook down, you maniac.
You are literally paying thousands of dollars to law school and law professors so they can teach you to think like a lawyer.
Stop attempting to study and ruining the natural order. You are supposed to go to law school as blank of a slate as possible. It is absolutely terrifying, but the more you embrace it the better off you will be.
Now, there are going to be people who come to law school with lawyer parents, lawyer aunts and uncles, and some family member who happens to be a judge and which they will spend the next three years reminding everyone who will listen that they're related to, but fuck those people. I have met them both as law students and then as lawyers. They are unimaginative. They are unhappy. They did not allow themselves to grow as individuals in law school and instead came out as little carbon copies of the lawyers they wanted to emulate. The profession doesn't need those people. And you don't ever want to become one of them.
So let's talk about things you should do before going to law school, none of which involve attempting to teach yourself the law:
- Spend Quality Time With People - Your family and friends will see a hell of a lot less of you over the next eight months. Make this time off count.
- Get Comfortable Typing Again - This is actually really important if you've taken a gap year, or you've spent the whole summer avoiding your computer. Typing, like anything, takes practice to be able to do in long spurts. Law school lectures will often demand you sit and type for 2-3 hours, almost straight. Kill two birds with one stone - set your laptop up while you binge-watch Netflix and just type every piece of dialogue. Now you're catching up on tv and preparing for law school.
- Read - Read every little piece of fiction you can get your grubby little hands on. Read constantly. Read regularly. This not only prepares you for the ridiculous amount of reading you're going to be assigned in law school, but is a fantastic excuse to catch up on your TBR shelf before law school forces you to abandon it for another three years. IF you insist on wanting to read law-related materials (because even I can't stop you from being an eager-beaver), then start reading court decisions. You won't understand half of it. But that's not the point. The point is to learn to digest the information in this strange new format.
- Volunteer - Volunteer at local events and meet people who don't have their future clouded by the looming threat of law school. Volunteer or intern at a local law office for the summer. Offer to digitize their files, or do coffee and bank runs. The little things you can do to make a lawyer's life easier will also make them more likely to open up to you about their own experiences.
- Attend Court - Fun fact: court is open to the public. Any day it's open, you are able to go and sit in a room and just listen. I suggest attending motions court, which is always an eclectic mix of everything. It's possible a judge will ask you why you're there - honestly, half the time I think they talk to the galley just to break up their day - and just be honest that you're going to law school and you wanted to see what it's all about.
- Build a Regular Exercise Schedule - I cannot emphasize how important this is. It is infinitely easier to maintain habits than to create them in law school. Elle Woods was not lying; exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, and happy people don't just kill their classmates.