Things I Wish I Knew as a 1L

Law School was a foreign concept to me. I knew I always wanted to go, but it is much different in saying you want to do something then actually doing it. Once you sit in that classroom, this is it, you are a law student. Mic…drop. It is hard to believe that I, the same woman that sat in that law school classroom as a 1L am now entering my last semester. When I look back on my law school career there are two things that as a 3L, I wish I knew when I was a 1L.

First, do not fear the cold call. The elusive cold call – if you have seen Legally Blonde you may recall Elle Woods’ first day of school when her Professor tosses her out of class for not being prepared – in the real world it is not that dramatic. You may be marked absent if you are unprepared and you will undoubtably be embarrassed, but you will survive. Cold Calling is there for a reason. It’s to make sure you are paying attention to what the professor is teaching. More importantly it functions to help you think like an attorney. Depending on your career you may be forced to think on your feet and quickly respond, cold calling helps you prepare for this in the future. Be nervous but do not fear, law school is the time to make mistakes, to ensure you learn from them and can apply your knowledge in your future legal career.

Second, apply to intern/externships early on. The transition from undergrad to law school or from career woman to student can be difficult. Maybe you did not get the best grades your first year and frankly you are questioning whether anyone would ever hire you. Personally, I did pretty fair my first year and even better my second. But there was always that voice in the back of my mind that had me question my worth in applying for internships and later jobs. Do not listen to this voice! You made it this far in law school, you have some skillset that can be applied in multiple areas of law, to law firms, or to judicial clerkships.

As someone who received their first legal experience the Fall of their third year (granted COVID did play a role here) I regret not looking for opportunities during the summer of my 1L year. While I had been able to flourish fine in my perspective legal opportunities, I wish I had more experience and received it sooner. In every legal position I have had since there has always been some type of training, so you are never going into anything blindly. You also must recognize that you have one year of law school under your belt, and you are working with attorneys who may have decades of experience, you will not know everything, and you do not need to know everything! So, I highly recommend to apply to intern/externships early on.

Law School has been a wild ride, it has had its ups and downs but it is definitely worth it!

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