Law School Time Management 101:
How to Manage Your Time in Law School
Ok, so you’ve finished applying for law school, made it through your law school interview, and have now been accepted into the law school of your choice. Now there are classes to choose, books to be purchased, and an entirely new environment to prepare for where you’ll meet new people and begin your journey toward your JD.
There are many things you’ll have to do in order to prepare for law school, but one of the most important is to learn how to manage your time in law school.
Like everyone else, you’re given 24 hours a day to do with what you choose. Law school is majorly time-consuming. Between classes, studying, and any extracurriculars, volunteer work, or jobs you may have, it can be difficult being able to balance it all.
The last thing you want is to be so overwhelmed that you resort to the measures of one law school student who actually faked her own kidnapping to get out of taking final exams.
Understanding how to effectively balance all your work and manage your time properly will be the difference between graduating at the top of your class, and finding yourself struggling just to get by.
Today, we’ll cover tips on how to manage your time in law school and ensure you stay on top of your law school courses through effective time management.
5 Tips on How to Manage Your Time in Law School
1. Learn About Your Professors & Exams
Some professor’s focus more on case studies; others are more interested in how you can apply the information critically to real world situations. Regardless of your law school professor’s exam methods, find out their preference.
Ask students around campus or in class if they know anything about the professor. Also check RateMyProfessor.com and see if anyone wrote about your professor’s on the site.
Also take mock exams to get a basic understanding what a law school exam is like. First exams may be somewhat nerve-racking as you may not know what to expect. Taking law school mock exams makes the first exams far less daunting.
One of the most important things to do in law school is prioritize. Law school work loads are excessively high. Along with keeping up with lectures, it’s important to stay on top of all your work. The last thing you want to do is fall behind and enter a downward spiral.
Let’s say you fall slightly behind in one lecture. Instead of taking the day to catch up, you put if off for a few days. The next lecture becomes more confusing, and the next thing you know, you’re now completely behind, and continuously attempting to play catch up, all while attempting to maintain and understand the new information being taught.
It’s a vicious cycle and not a situation you want to find yourself in.
Prioritize your work.
Prioritize your schedule.
Prioritize your activities.
Break down the material to make it easier and more simple to understand.
Write out a list of the courses you find most difficult to the easiest for you to understand.
Take care of the work and readings for the difficult courses first. This way, in the off-chance if you do fall behind in a course that’s easier for you to understand, it’s easier to catch up.
3. Focus on What Matters
Law school time management is a matter of understanding what to focus on. While it may be tempting to read every single assigned reading in detail, there just may not be enough time.
Skim through the readings first. Read the first and last sentence of every paragraph, as well as the general summary and any outlined points. Then, prioritize which assignments you feel should be read through more thoroughly first.
Decide which readings may need more reading in detail than others. Even if you don’t finish all the readings in detail, you’ll at least have a general idea of all the readings, and will be able to keep up in class and class discussions.
4. Work Smart, Not Hard
This plays into the last point. Just because it feels like you’re doing a lot more work by reading through every single chapter and case study does not mean you are doing what is most effective. More time spent studying does not always equal better grades. Using effective studying strategies do.
5. Get Friendly
Make friends with some second or third year students. Find out if they have any outlines or notes saved from their first year of law school. Also, ask their advice on preparing for exams. Obviously, everyone has different study methods. Take the advice that what works for you, forget about the advice that doesn’t.
5 Tips on How to Manage Your Time in Law School: Recap
Ok, so hopefully now you have a few new tips under your belt to make sure you stay on top of your game your first year at law school.
- Learn About Your Professors & Exams
- Focus on What Matters
- Work Smart, Not Hard
- Get Friendly