Law School

Summer Series: Prepping for the Marathon

Another Summer Series story! Summer Series shares stories all summer long from Lawtinas all over the country. We get to hear from pre-law students prepping for their upcoming year 1L year; students in different internships; and law grads prepping for the bar exam. Today we hear from Danielle Taylor, a Texan who has moved to the Windy City to start law school. Danielle breaks down all the things she’s focusing on to put herself in the best position for a successful fall semester!



Who can serve as an authority on the best way to prepare for law school? Could someone have enough perspective on if they prepared correctly after one semester of school or would they have to actually have graduated into the field to know? Would grades be an indicator of who prepared correctly? Is there a right or better way to prepare for a specific school different from other schools? 


I had a lot of questions when beginning to prepare for my 1L year. I think the biggest challenge for me this far has been letting go of what is “best” or “right.” I have, and I suspect most law students have, a compulsion to optimize. I’m always looking for the very best, so it’s hard to accept that sometimes there just isn’t an obvious, prescribed “best.” Think about the advice you get like a buffet. Take what looks good, skip what you’re certain isn’t for you, but stay open to trying new things. Preparing looks different for everyone and should above all else start with some serious self reflection. Where are your strengths and weaknesses? What will your challenges be and how can you shore yourself for what’s ahead? 


If I knew now that in six months I was going to be forced to run a marathon, what would I do to prepare? Surely I would do running drills and practice running, but there’d be a lot else to do too. I’d have to buy shoes and stretchy shorts, and make a diet plan. I’d do visualization exercises and make really bomb running playlists. 


Law School will be the biggest challenge most of us have faced yet. It’s our metaphorical marathon. So while some bits of our preparation are obviously more important than others; we should consider everything and take the time to plan and practice what will work for each of us specifically. So, in no particular order, here’s what I’m doing: 


  • I got established with a therapist ASAP and have kept regular weekly appointments with the intention of keeping this habit into the semester.


  • I moved to the school’s city as soon as I could to get used to my surroundings, get comfortable, and to start building my routines. (Shout out to my super understanding boss for allowing me to tele-work the final months before school!) 


  • I watch law school Youtube vlogs and browse Reddit to imagine myself as a 1L student.  


  • I’m revamping my wardrobe to suit my school’s climate (Texan in Chicago) and to reflect the fancy law-tina I’d like to be. (Don’t sleep on Goodwill, y’all!) 


  • I try to do the things now that I know I won’t have time for later like updating my resume, checking in with extended family and friends, and clearing out my tiny/tedious to-do list. (i.e. organizing my teas, and changing the batteries in my ring keychains)


  • I bought some vintage sweatshirts/shirts for my law school and bought the school supplies suggested to me. (Book stand, highlighters, flashcards, organizational tools)   


  • I reached out to my future school and joined the “Academic Skills Program” social media groups and email list to take advantage of all the resources my school has to offer early and often. I also signed up for a law school prep class given by a bar review company.      


Finally, most everyone agrees that trying to pre-read for classes in the summer before is a waste of effort, so I’ve elected instead to just practice reading a lot, focusing on texts that I’m excited about, or that I think will help make me a better advocate in the future. My summer reading list includes: 


I hope this has been helpful to you in making your own plans. Good luck & chingale mija!