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Overcoming Burnout In Your Second and Third Year of Law School

By the time you reach your second or third year in law school, you are probably on the edge of burning out. It’s to be expected, considering that you’ve spent the last one or two years in class and studying several days a week for several hours each day. If you were previously working a 9 to 5 job like me, the rigors of law school can be a shock and take some getting used to. But you can’t let yourself slack off quite yet. If you thought studying during law school was demanding, wait until you study for the bar exam! But I digress. Here are some tips I found useful during my second and third years that may help you get through the law school slump.

First, stick to your study schedule. I know how tempting it can be to want to slack off a bit in your second or third year, but resist the urge. With all of the work you need to do in order to stay on top of your classes, trying to fit in additional studying to catch up is nearly impossible. And getting behind in more than one class is exponentially difficult to resolve. So while it can be tedious and inconvenient, stick to the study schedule you created as a 1L. Those good study habits (including outlines) will serve you well through law school and the bar exam.

Second, make an effort to have a social life. I know, this may seem contradictory to my first piece of advice, but being social is important during law school. Just remember not to be “too” social that you have trouble waking up the next morning and getting to class on time. But having a social life is necessary for your well-being and will allow you to be a better student because you’ll be less likely to burn out far in advance of the bar exam. So allow yourself a free night during the week and maybe limit your weekend study time to 5 hours instead of the usual 10. And, if possible, incorporate exercise into your study breaks. It’ll help clear your head, relieve some stress, and get your back out of its slumped-over-the-books position.

Third, take classes that interest you rather than for the bar exam. If the topic is interesting, you’ll be more likely to want to read the textbook and cases, and therefore, it will be easier to stick to your study schedule. In addition to taking classes of interest, be sure that those classes are highly rated. You know those class surveys you take at the end of each semester? Well the schools actually compile them and make the information available to students. I always checked student feedback on classes I was interested in before registering for them. If the class received low marks, I did not take the class even if it sounded really interesting to me. A good professor can make a boring topic interesting, but you can’t say the same for a bad professor teaching an interesting topic.

Above all, remember that the end is in sight! Law school is a marathon, not a sprint. Hopefully the above tips will keep you excelling in your studies during your second year and beyond.

About the Author

Gayla Langlois is a graduate of Suffolk University Law School in Boston and Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts where she concentrated on intellectual property and finance, respectively. She currently works in Boston for Alvarez & Marsal Global Forensic and Dispute Services, a global consulting firm, where she focuses on analyzing damages related to intellectual property infringement matters, assessing license and contract compliance, and valuing intellectual property. Prior to joining A&M, Gayla was an attorney with a full service intellectual property firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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