Seven Habits of Highly Successful 1Ls

By Deanne Katz, Esq. on August 21, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you haven't been living under a rock you're probably heard of the famous 'Seven Habits of Highly Effective People' by the late, great Steven Covey. The book is good general advice but when it comes to 1L year there are some specific things you need to know to succeed.

Below are the seven we think should be top of your list.

These aren't the only things you need to know. After all, it doesn't contain any actual legal information. But you still don't want to leave home without it.

  1. Treat it like a job. Don't wait three years for your legal career to start. Treat law school like it's your job now. Get up in the morning, work hard all day, stop work in the evening. Law school is the beginning of your career as an attorney so treat it that way.

  2. Prepare to outline. It's hard to keep in mind that everything is building to the final exam, but everything is building to the final exam. Take notes smartly so you can find the information later on. That way you can spend more time actually learning.

  3. Find your best study method. Maybe you take better notes by hand than by computer. Maybe you learn well with flashcards. Maybe you need to talk it out to yourself while walking around your desk. 1L year is the time to figure that out.

  4. Ask about study supplements. Study aids like Nutshells and Roadmaps are encouraged if they add to your understanding and help you on exams. But remember that they are supplements and not a substitute for actually doing the work.

  5. Talk to your professors. Your professors are a great source of information on how the test will work since they wrote it. Stop by office hours or schedule a meeting just to talk some the current material or go over specific questions. Not only will you learn more in a one-on-one session, you'll likely get a better reference for job applications.

  6. Network, network, network. You will never be less intimidating to potential employers than you are as a 1L. Get in touch with attorneys, ask for informational interviews, and go to networking events (student discount!). Come application time those contacts may help you get your foot in the door.

  7. Keep up with non-law activities. If law school is going to be your job, you're going to need some work-life balance. Take time in the evenings and weekends to have non-law fun. Exercise, grab a drink with a friend, talk a walk, or watch a movie. Succeeding in 1L doesn't mean working harder, it means working smarter.

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