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100 Best Lifehacks for Law Students


Whether you’re a law student or plan to become one, you know that you can use a lot of help getting by. Fortunately, there are loads of useful lifehacks out there to make things easier on you. Check out our list of the 100 best lifehacks for law students to find tips, great ideas, and more to help you get through law school.

General

Use these lifehacks for success in law school.

  1. Don’t be a jerk: Keep a sterling reputation by being polite and respectful to everyone you encounter.
  2. Hit the ground running: Your first year of law school is not a time to settle in-it’s a time to prepare yourself early and get started on a summer internship.
  3. Develop meaningful relationships: Be known in your firm, and know who you can count on for help.
  4. Ask for help if you need it: Admit that you’re in law school to learn because you don’t know everything, and ask for the assistance you need.
  5. Overcome any fears of public speaking: In law school and in your career as a lawyer, you will be expected to speak up, so join Toastmasters and get talking!
  6. Learn how to use legal technology: Master tablet PCs, digital organization, mind mapping, and law software.
  7. Learn how to write well: Your writing skills are an essential part of how you will be perceived by professors, employers, and clients, so be sure to cultivate your abilities.
  8. Find a mentor: Find someone that can give you insight into law school, as well as your career as a lawyer.
  9. Join associations: Become a part of bar associations and Young Lawyers to learn about communication, teamwork, organization, and more.

Admissions

With these hacks, you can get ahead in the admissions game.

  1. Do well on your LSATs: It should go without saying, but LSATs can make or break your admissions-and predict how well you’ll do once you get in.
  2. Be remarkable: A high GPA and LSAT is often not enough-to stand out, you have to differentiate yourself.
  3. Study outside of law: One might assume that a Prelaw or Criminal Justice degree would offer you a high LSAT potential, but the fact is that the best scores come from students of science, business, and philosophy.
  4. Participate in extracurricular activities: Show that you can take leadership ability, stay motivated, and more with extracurricular activities.
  5. Apply early: The longer you apply, the smaller your chances are for acceptance, especially for schools with rolling admissions policies.
  6. Emotionally connect in your essay: Think carefully about what an admissions dean really feels like reading in a stack of personal statements.
  7. Get good letters of recommendation: Ask for letters of recommendation from professors, employers, and others who can share a good evaluation of your skills.
  8. Tailor your personal statement: Be sure to tweak your statement for each school you apply to.
  9. Get an advanced degree: With advanced degrees or coursework, you will be able to show that you can succeed in a competitive situation.
  10. Apply to a variety of school levels: Apply at schools that are a bit of a stretch, strong possibilities, and safety schools, so you will have plenty of options, and maybe pleasant surprises, come acceptance time.
  11. Engage in public service: Show that you are ready to make a contribution to society as a lawyer with community service and volunteer work.

Studying

With these hacks, you’ll be able to improve your law school studying skills.

  1. Practice time management: Learning how to effectively use your time will help you as you study, and prepare you for a successful law career as well.
  2. Eat small, frequent meals: Stay away from big meals to keep your body from going into a resting mode.
  3. Turn off email interruptions: By turning off alerts, you can only check mail when you really have time to do it.
  4. Recite: Quiz, test, and recite along to yourself as you work on your reading.
  5. Study at the same place: Help your mind get into study mode by always doing it at the same time and same place.
  6. Let go sometimes: Don’t spend all your time buried in books-give your brain a chance to refresh by taking a break and having some fun!
  7. Do the hard stuff first: Take care of the thing you dread the most early on, and you won’t be dragging your feet later.
  8. Clear your desk: Put away everything you don’t need during your study session to avoid distractions.
  9. Pay attention to your body clock: Study when you’re mentally sharp.
  10. Choose your study group wisely: Avoid groups that become gossip sessions, and be sure to find a group that’s at your level and style of learning.
  11. Don’t forget the middle: Often, students will remember the beginning and end of material, but not the middle-so don’t forget it.
  12. Stretch: Get oxygen flowing to your brain more effectively by taking the time to stretch occasionally.
  13. Drink plenty of water: If you’re feeling sluggish, turn to water instead of caffeine.
  14. Talk to your professor: If you need feedback or some extra understanding, discuss cases with your professor during office hours.
  15. Take regular breaks: Take breaks before you feel tired and lose your concentration.
  16. Sleep on it: Material is best learned when followed by a period of sleep than daytime activity.
  17. Avoid a too-comfy chair: Use a chair that supports your back, but doesn’t put you to sleep.
  18. Connect ideas: Memorize and associate whenever you can so it will have more meaning for you.

Courses

Use these lifehacks to stand out in your courses.

  1. Read intelligently before class: Pick out interesting points that you may disagree with or can discuss, then bring them up in class.
  2. Be ready to discuss the reading material: Know what you’re expected to discuss before class starts.
  3. Take fuller notes: Writing better notes will help reinforce your memory.
  4. Go first: Volunteer to be the first one to present or discuss a case, and you’ll be admired for your courage, and have a bit of an easier time.
  5. Pay attention to the professor’s point of view: Your professor’s point of view isn’t the only one that matters-but it’s likely to be the only one on the exam.
  6. Speak up early: If you’re not one to talk, gather your courage and get it over with early on when the questions are easy.

Organization

Put these hacks to good use for organizing yourself in law school.

  1. Use three collection bins: With an email inbox, a desk inbox, and a small notepad you can take everywhere, you’ll have a place for everything.
  2. Get a calendar and stick to it: Use your calendar religiously and look at it every day.
  3. Use a to-do list: Free your mind and concentrate on the work at hand by using a to-do list.
  4. Create a filing system: Keep important cases, study notes, professional credentials, references, and more all in specific places.

Money

These hacks will help you keep on top of your money while you’re in law school.

  1. Don’t buy every book possible: Many students will have study supplements galore-choose yours wisely, or just take good notes instead.
  2. Cut down on impulse buys: Put your impulse buys down on paper and revisit them a few days later to see how important they really are.
  3. Sign up for odd jobs at the career center: Most college career centers have a few odd jobs that students can do for extra income.
  4. Pay on time: Avoid high interest and late fees by staying on top of important bills.
  5. Eat at home: Make your own meals at home to save on food expenses.
  6. Avoid having a car: If you rely on public transportation, biking, and walking, you can forget about the cost of car maintenance, gas, insurance, parking, and more.
  7. Pay with cash, particularly large bills: Make spending more real and painful by using cash instead of plastic or checks.
  8. Get a job: Build your experience and bank account by getting a job that reflects your studies.
  9. Avoid credit card offers: If it’s at all possible, just stay away from credit cards.
  10. Borrow instead of own: Learn how to share what you have with others, and they will share in return.
  11. Take advantage of tax credits: Save textbook receipts and check out credits to get back all that you’re due.
  12. Learn how to budget: Learn how to balance your checkbook and live within your means.
  13. Stay organized: Make sure you can find information when you need it by keeping your financial records organized.
  14. Take advantage of freebies: You will likely get access to free tours, outdoor music, and more as a student, so take advantage of it.
  15. Start a savings account: Set money aside for rainy days and emergencies in a savings account.

Getting Ahead

Do these things while you’re in law school, and you can get ahead.

  1. Participate in legal clinics: Get courtroom experience and impress potential employers by being a part of a legal clinic.
  2. Thank your instructors: If you particularly enjoy a certain professor’s class, be sure and send him or her an email or note saying so.
  3. Take business classes: Law students generally don’t get much training on running a business, even though it’s an essential skill-especially if you plan to be a sole practitioner.
  4. Reach for a great GPA: Numbers aren’t everything, but a high GPA is generally a good predictor of success.
  5. Join LinkedIn: Start building your online professional network now by joining LinkedIn.
  6. Network. Then network some more.: Getting ahead is often more about who you know than what you know, so be sure to get well connected, even when you’re just starting out in school.
  7. Volunteer: Become a part of a legal aid society for experience and something nice to put on your resume.
  8. Get an intern position: Show that you’ve got experience and know what you’re getting into by completing a law internship.
  9. Follow successful alumni: If you admire certain alumni from your school, ask them to be a mentor and follow their path for success.
  10. Spend time in a small firm: Many lawyers end up in a small firm some day to see the side of law that’s not always highlighted.

Exams

With these hacks, you can do well on the LSAT, law school exams, and the bar.

  1. Make exams a top priority: Be sure to study for what’s really important-the grades you’ll have to show when you graduate.
  2. Get your personal life in order: Make sure that you will be free of distractions by taking care of important personal business.
  3. Stay at a hotel near the test site: Take the guess work out of getting to the bar exam on time-stay at a nearby hotel.
  4. Do not stay at the test hotel: Although staying at a hotel near your test site is a great idea, staying up with stressed out people all night is not.
  5. Learn from past students: Ask alumni for help and guidance in studying.
  6. Always practice your LSAT timed: Train your mind to work as fast as you need it to by always using a stop watch.
  7. Start early: Treat your LSATs as if they were another college class, planning and studying for them over the course of the semester.
  8. Learn how to outline classes: Outlining classes will greatly help you improve your study skills.
  9. Take breaks: If possible, be sure to stop and clear your head during the bar exam.
  10. Pay attention to point values: If a question isn’t worth much, don’t spend a disproportionate amount of time on it.
  11. Don’t cram at the last minute: Surely you’ve been studying for months, maybe years, but in the last couple days before your test, let your brain relax and refresh. Right before the test, do a few easy problems to get things moving again.
  12. Study all the time: You don’t have to spend all of your time studying-but you should keep logic games and logical reasoning questions handy for small bits of down time.
  13. Get packed the night before: Get prepared the night before with pencils, tickets, your watch, and directions to the testing center so you’re all squared away and free from panic on the day of the test.
  14. Study as much as you can handle: Determine your own limits for when you’ve had enough studying.
  15. Make a studying schedule: Set aside a regular time to ensure that you get frequent and regular LSAT study time.
  16. Practice elimination: Always use elimination to determine the best answer, rather than zeroing in on your favorite immediately.
  17. Take a bar exam review course: Unlike law school, these courses are specifically tailored to help you study for the bar exam.
  18. Move on: Don’t waste too much time on one question. If you’re unsure, just bubble in your best guess and hope you’ll have time to come back to it later.

Career

Here you’ll learn how to hack your law career.

  1. Discover your career strengths: Take the time to find out what your strengths are, and make the most of them.
  2. Pay careful attention to your work/life balance: Do your homework on legal firms before you decide to sign on.
  3. Keep a professional image: Dress to support and maintain your credibility as a lawyer.
  4. Take risks: Plan to take some risks in the name of progress.
  5. Don’t get comfortable: Consistently deliver quality every time you work.
  6. Embrace serendipity: Take advantage of small and large opportunities that arise in your career.
  7. Stick to your deadlines: In law, staying on top of deadlines is essential.
  8. Be active: Get active within and beyond your firm to develop a reputation for excellence.
  9. Work hard: Meet or exceed the billable minimums set by your firm.

September 29th, 2009 written by Staff Writers

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