Law School

0L summer prep: the months before law school

I spent the summer months before I started law school at a law school boot camp at Notre Dame. It was a program created to support students of color gain entry opportunities into this profession—that’s right, an affirmative action program. I wouldn’t have succeeded in law school without that program. So taking a moment to be grateful about that, but also to ask all the pre law bebes, what are you doing this summer to prepare?!

Certainly it doesn’t need to be as hard core as a boot camp! But while there is a lot of advice to just relax and have fun, I’m always hesitant to give that advice. Not because you shouldn’t relax and have fun—you should! But because law school is complex, it’s purposefully difficult, the rules and customs obscure, and you’re competing with many other intelligent people. I don’t want to create a false sense of ease when it may not be that way.  So what can you do to prepare?

1. Know your schedule/calendar. I know that sounds basic, but it will be helpful for you to have an idea of what your study calendar will look like (even if you don’t know the topic), the commute, other life responsibilities you may have and how it all intersects with each other. It’s better to prepare a plan ahead of time then when you’re in the midst of the first weeks and everything feels unsteady. That’s what happened with me—I didn’t take into account my long commute. Yes, you’ll have to adjust once you actually start but it’s easier to adjust.

2. Read a little. Read the classic, Getting to Maybe, to get a sense of what the heck a law school exam is trying to get to. And hello, while you’re ready peruse the pre law and law school tags on this site! A little reading will go a long way in getting your mindset right.

3. Save some money. I was broke as a joke my last summer bc I couldn’t work due to the boot camp, so I went into law school without a lot—I couldn’t afford all my books (because you have to buy them often before your law school loans drop), I couldn’t afford some of the extracurricular activities that happen at the beginning (which I encourage you to attend because making friends in law school is a life line). I can go on and on. Save as much as you can so that you can go into your first few weeks with as less stress as possible.

and yes, the bonus—do have fun! Go out with friends, enjoy time with family, read fiction! Take naps! This is really the last summer before everything changes. Take it all in, but like the badass Lawtina that you are—also prepare!