It’s Friday and I’m about to close out my first week of law school. My nerves and worries have pretty much vanished as I’ve gotten comfortable with the work and classes. It’s been a smooth week for me, but not all of my classmates have been so luck. Here’s what you need to avoid to have a smooth start:
Be unprepared: The first student in our first class was cold called and was totally unprepared. It was cringey everyone felt bad. Luckily, the professor for that class was kind. Had it been our torts professor, they might not have gotten off so easily.
Be late: For the first week, be at least 5 minutes early. Law School professors start on time or a few minutes early. Yesterday, a student walked in at 2:00 for our 2:00 class and our professor had already started. The professor did stop what he was saying and it was not the best first impression.
Form a clique: I’ve heard law school is like high school a few times but was surprised that the cliques formed so quickly. One of my goals for the first week was to get advice from 2L and 3Ls, and the 3Ls I was talking to yeasterday had a few things to say about cliques and they ususally don’t last.
Party like you’re in undergrad: Another piece of 3L advice, students that go to Bar Review and drink a lot have a reputation. A professor also mirrored how important not having a reputation for partying is when you leave law school and have to rely on your classmates as peers.
Be arrogant: Law school will humble you. While the typical stereotype of a Lawyer is an egotistical jerk in a grey suit, those aren’t the attorneys who are successful, especially in litigating. Being humble and kind are keys to succeeding and feeling good about everything you do, whether you’re trying to impress a big client or a jury. I’ve already come across one egomaniac and it’s left an impression and made that person someone I want to avoid.
Be irresponsible with technology: Again, your classmates will eventually be your peers and possibly even give you job recommendations. They see when you’re on your computer buying pants on Amazon (yes, it happened) and will be annoyed when watch is incessantly beeping as you’re messing with it in a presentation (also, happened). One of our professor told us about someone he sat next to that watched basketball games during every class 20 years ago, because he still remembered it.
All in all, having a good first week is just about common sense and putting yourself out there. You don’t have to shine or set yourself apart, but do talk to different people and use good judgement.
Forward and Onward.