10 things to tell 1Ls (before school begins!)


By Merideth Kimble

Just four weeks into my first semester of law school, I am still trying to figure this all out. Orientation answered a lot of my questions, but there are a few things that I am still confused about.  Some of my fellow students agree. Below is a list of 10 items, beyond the basics, we wish we had known.

What they didn’t tell us:

When and how to get involved.  

Clubs, clinics, organizations and offices all clamor for our time, but I’d like to know what’s worth my time, and what should be skipped this first semester in deference to homework time.

Where the Writs is.  

As a blundering 1L, please be more specific when sending me anywhere—a specific tour of the law school, law library and other facilities would be greatly appreciated.

Where the used books are. 

Hey, I’m on a budget. A heads up on that used book sale the first day of class would have been helpful.

Who my classmates are. 

Some forum for discussion between us 1Ls would have helped us all realize that everyone is in the same boat-stressed, nervous and oblivious.

That you hope I succeed. 

A little encouragement goes along way, especially after the tenth time some says how hard this is.

What I am glad they told us:

What the Socratic Method really is. 

I am eternally grateful for the introduction during orientation. It cut my first-day jitters in half.

How awesome the SBA is. 

This organization will be supportive throughout my days as a student. 

Previous students’ tips on studying and supplements. 

While I haven’t crossed the finish line of my first semester yet, the advice I received from upper classmen will be invaluable come finals crunch time. 

How to budget, down to the minutiae. 

I know it’s not the law school administration’s job to help me be financially responsible, but all of the detail (printing costs, parking) really helped me build a realistic financial plan.

How this commitment will drastically change my life. 

They let us know how much time and effort this would take. With that info, I was able to plan my schedule, be realistic about other commitments, and switch from hour-long chats on the phone to email to keep in touch.


Merideth Kimble, a first-year student at the University of San Diego School of Law and columnist for The National Jurist