Five Tips for Surviving Your First Year of Law School

It’s easy to find advice on surviving your first year of law school. Between books, websites, and people you know, there’s a good chance you’ll be inundated with advice once you announce your plans. Because the harder part is deciding which advice to follow, we’ve got five easy tips for surviving your 1L year. 

1. Start with a Plan

If you want to hit the ground running during your first year of law school, you need a solid plan. How will you stay on top of your reading assignments? How will you take notes in class? No matter how successful you were in undergrad, you’re going to need to change your study habits to keep up with your fellow 1Ls. Unlike undergrad, procrastination won’t cut it! 

2. Get to Know Your Peers

Your fellow law students aren’t just your drinking buddies at bar review or your competition for grades. Instead, they are your future coworkers, peers, and opposing counsel. Getting to know your fellow students can not only give you friends and study partners during school, but also lifelong connections once you graduate. 

3. Your Health Comes First

There’s no way around it—the first year of law school is tough. Reading for class, keeping up with your notes, and working on memos will put demands on your time that you might not have experienced before. While you may be tempted to sacrifice sleep, food, or physical activity in favor of more study time, tread lightly. You can’t perform at your peak without your health—both physical and mental!

4. When the Going Gets Tough, Remember Your “Why”

During your first year of law school, there will be difficult, stressful days. In those situations, remembering your “why” can give you the encouragement you need to keep going. Remember what brought you to law school, and think about what you’ll do once you have your JD in hand. Keeping the big picture in mind will help you make it through the minutiae!

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Reassess or Ask for Help

It happens to almost every law student: around halfway through your first semester, you might realize that your status quo isn’t cutting it. Your tweak may be as simple as rearranging your schedule or making minor adjustments to your study habits. On the other hand, you might need to completely overhaul what you’re doing. If you find yourself struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether it’s a fellow student, a professor, or other resources, a third party’s input can make a huge difference.