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3 Pieces of Advice for Incoming Law Students

JD Suffolk University Law School

“Are you sure?” That’s usually my response when I hear that someone wants to attend law school. Not because I had a bad experience. In fact, I actually loved law school. (Words few law school graduates will utter.) I have that response because it’s not a decision that should be entered into lightly considering the intense daily workload, 3-4 year time commitment, debt, and job market. But if someone is committed, I wish them the best, and impart a few pieces of advice that helped me really enjoy my time during law school.

First, socialize. (You though I was going to say study, right?) In all seriousness, though, it’s tough to get through law school on your own so having a group of friends you can vent to and commiserate with is extremely important. Plus, it’s hard to understand what law school students go through, especially when it’s time to study for the bar exam. Within the first couple of weeks of school, I met four great women. We took the same classes, ate lunch together, and socialized outside of class. On more than one occasion a study session turned into drinking margaritas on the lawn. We stayed close after gradation as well. We’ve been to each others’ weddings and met the children we subsequently had. Our annual Christmas party, complete with a Yankee swap and prize for the best holiday outfit, is something I look forward to all year.

Second, take classes that interest you. You may feel you need to take every criminal law class available to you if that’s what you want to practice. Or you may hear that there are certain classes you must take if you want to pass the bar exam. I say phooey to both of those. For the most part, employers care about your GPA, not the classes that got you that GPA. Also, if you need to know it for the bar exam, the bar exam review course that you take will teach it to you. It’s as simple as that. For me, although I knew my focus would be intellectual property, I took a wide variety of classes, including employment discrimination law, children and disability law, antitrust, and international business transactions. By choosing classes that you’ll enjoy, rather than for an arbitrary reason, you have a better shot of doing great in it, which, in turn, will lead to a higher GPA, and hopefully more job opportunities.

Third, take advantage of your school’s internship program. At Suffolk Law, the internship office had a list of placement options, organized by topic, which had worked with the school in the past. It was then up to me to contact the company or agency. If the pairing worked, I received class credits for the internship based on the number of hours I worked. Plus, it was relevant, legal experience I was able to list on my resume. You can’t say that about a regular class you would take. It really was a win-win situation. So much so that I participated in three internships during my time at Suffolk Law. One led to a paid summer job in the legal department at a very well known company and the other led to my first job after law school.

Now, I can’t guarantee that following my advice will result in an entering law school student loving the experience as much as I did, but I’m pretty sure that it will make it a little more enjoyable.

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