Law school is a hotpot of everything—fun, pressure, thrill, and fear. There is so much to gain from a law school that I do not think I can comprehensively describe the experience—even though, I devoted 6 years of my life studying law.
Surviving a law school is not necessarily a humungous task, as they say. Much of what you hear is a bunch of stereotypes which only aggravate common fears about law graduates and their colleges. A Law school is like any other higher education school; the only difference is that you might require different skill sets to survive it.
From my personal experience and from what I have read, I can tell you that there are many skills you might need to handle law school. However, I will only talk about the 5 most important ones. So, let us take a look at them.
Also read: Best Law Schools In The World, 2019.
5 Skills You Should Focus On When Studying law School:
- Inclination to Reading
Yes, when they say that law students read a lot, they are saying an absolute truth. The world of law is about what you know, what you tell you know, and how you tell what you know. You need to be informed of what makes the legal system what it is and how people treat it.
I will give you an example: law is made up of many schools. There is positivism, realism, natural law school, and others. These schools have affected the development of law ever since we can remember, and they still continue to influence law-making and decision-making. You cannot understand them without reading about them—and mind you they are voluminous in nature!
In case you are not an avid reader, it is not too late to start. Start reading, but too much in the early days, and gradually increase the amount you read. You will get there, but you will have to invest energy and time into it.
- Ability To Communicate
Law students are expected to be fluent communicators. This does not mean that every law student is an exemplary orator; what it means is that they are expected to be able to express comprehensively and assertively. Your communication skills should be such that your point is clearly conveyed to the audience, whether it is through a research paper or a verbal presentation.
- Top-notch research skills
If you want to succeed as a fantastic law graduate, you need to master your research abilities.
As a law student, you will end up searching through volumes of case laws, statutes, books, journal articles and what not. Even though we do not have to go through the trouble of finding and reading hard-bound books in the library (as was done in the past, but thanks to technology!), you will have to anyway read up matter online and it can be stressful.
Many law schools provide access to rich sources of information such Jstor, Westlaw, LexisNexis, etc but those platforms will be of no use if you do not know what keywords to use and how to go about using their features.
The key to being a good researcher is to have a thirst for reading as much as you can. Read enough and you would know what keywords pertain to your research area and then you can very well use the resources in the library or online. Do not base all your knowledge on one lengthy article you find; read extensively!
- Critical Evaluation
It is expected from a law student to be able to critically analyze whatever comes his way. While I understand that critical thinking is not an innate talent and requires practice, you should know that practice requires an investment of your mind and time.
Best way to develop critical thinking is through group discussions, writing papers, participating in Moot Court competitions and debates, making presentations and others. Discussion with professors can be of great help, as they can offer different perspectives on a variety of topics.
One of my favorite subjects in law is Jurisprudence, and I used to watch a lot of videos online because I felt that textbooks were boring. If you know the famous Justice course of Harvard’s Michael J. Sandel, that was my favorite program and is a prime example of how to critically evaluate topics.
- A Fighter!
I will not underplay competition in law school because it is as cut-throat as they say. But, frankly speaking, the impact of competition depends on how much you allow competition to impact you.
I agree that you are part of this so-called race, but you do not have to necessarily aim for the first place. Take your time, develop skills, and engage yourself in the field. Your hard work will pay off! I started off slow in my legal career, but now have a comfortable place to work and a life worth it all. You can too have it—just do not let anyone tell you that if you do not get to the top place, you are good-for-nothing!
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