Tuesday, June 27, 2006

 

A-B-C 1-2-3

Thought I'd put in a quick post about what the difference is between the three years of law school (or four years if you're in an evening program).

FIRST YEAR - As you can see from the posts below, first year is almost certainly the worst year in any law student's career. You are basically learning a brand new language in a very competitive environment, all without knowing where you really stand and always wondering if you are doing the right things to get good grades. First year is also the year where you take many of your "core classes": contracts, torts, criminal law, civil procedure, constitutional law, etc. (sidenote: these are all of the courses that I am presently relearning for the bar examination). First year is also the year where people are the least likely to be involved in student organizations or have a job (unless they are an evening student). Law Review and various law journals are reserved for 2nd and 3rd year students. Following first year, most students use the summer to work at a law firm as a clerk or work for a non-profit in a legal position or just do whatever they want.

SECOND YEAR - This year is a breather when compared to first year. Most students take a few of the remaining required courses (like evidence, criminal procedure, and legal profession/ethics) and fill up the rest of the courses in one of two ways (or a combination): subjects that are on the bar exam that are not required (e.g. secured transactions, corporations, wills, etc.) or subjects that the student finds interesting or finds will be helpful in his/her career (e.g. entertainment law, law and pop culture, trial advocacy/mock trial, etc.). Most students from the day division will retain the jobs that they had the previous summer throughout the school year, possibly search for a new job through off-campus or on-campus interviewing, write on a student journal or Law Review, or become more involved with student organizations. Sidenote: right now I’m glad that I went with the “bar courses” route second year, but even if you don’t you should be able to be okay for the bar exam.

THIRD YEAR - Basically third year is the same as second year except that students usually do a senior seminar during third year. A senior seminar is usually a class where a student writes an extensive research paper on a specific topic. Additionally, some people might be involved in a clinic (e.g. a death penalty clinic where students assist in an appeal for an inmate on death row), though many clinics can also be taken during the second year. Third year is usually the least stressful, up until the time that you start thinking about the bar exam. Also, during third year some people might be seeking out the job that they will plan on having following the bar exam.

That’s a real broad overview of the three years, but should give a basic idea of what’s involved. Any questions or comments - post away!

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