Preparing for law school the summer before: A how-to guide

 By Ashley Heidemann

Committing to a law school is a major decision. Once you decide, it’s time to start thinking about the more minor choices you’ll have to make as you prepare for classes to start. Where will you live? Do you need a new computer? Should you start trying to learn certain legal concepts? If you’re wondering what to do over the summer to prepare for law school, this guide is a great place to start!


 1) Work on Your Mindset

Law school is a big transition. Whether you’re coming straight from undergrad, after taking time off, or after having had a career in another field, get ready for an experience unlike any other. As a student in professional school, your professors will expect that you’re prepared for every single class. Not only should you mentally prepare yourself to put in the work, you should take some time to reflect on the best environment for you to learn.


2) Enjoy Your Time with Family and Friends

It’s no secret that the first year of law school is demanding. Take advantage of your summer before law school by spending quality time with your family and friends before beginning the next chapter in your life. To avoid hard feelings, you may also want to set expectations for your loved ones about how often they’ll see you once classes begin.


3) Create a Reading List

Most law schools will send around a reading list to incoming 1L students. Instead of viewing this list as an assignment, think about it as a chance to get exposure to some of the concepts you’ll discuss in class. There’s no need to read every book on the list, but reading a book or two is a great way to get those mental juices flowing.


4) If You Can, Move in Early

Starting law school is stressful enough—you shouldn’t try to balance moving at the same time! If you can, find a place well in advance and move in early. Taking the time to set up your space the way you want it and getting to know the surrounding area can help you feel settled and grounded once classes start.


5) Create a Study Schedule

Before you tackle your first reading assignment, you should create some kind of structure for yourself. Knowing where and when you plan to study can make those long reading assignments more manageable. You might need to revisit your plan as the semester progresses, but having a study schedule will help you stay on track during your first few weeks.

It’s no secret that the first year of law school is challenging. With a little preparation the summer before, you can hit the ground running!


Ashley Heidemann is the owner and founder of JD Advising, a law school and bar exam prep company offering services ranging from LSAT tutoring and application assistance to bar exam tutoring, courses and seminars.

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