From the Archives: Should You Take a Law Preview Class?

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Many of you reading this post have either recently graduated from college or will be doing so in the coming days and weeks. While you’re probably concerned with arranging enough tickets for family members you barely know to attend your graduation, the fall season and the beginning of law school have no doubt managed to creep into that brain of yours.

I’m willing to bet dimes and donuts (as my sixth-grade math teacher Mr. Brown once said) that the prospect of your impending matriculation has caused you some worry. How, you ask, will law school be different from undergrad? Do I need to change my study habits? Will I delve ever deeper into an unending caffeine addiction?

Given your consternation, you may have considered taking one of those law school preview classes that seem to be all the rage with the cool kids these days (how do you like my dated slang?). The pros of such classes, when properly run, should be obvious. For one, you get a taste of the type of studying you’ll be doing. You find out how prepared you need to be for class every day and what you need to do to achieve that level of preparation. You get an idea of what sort of writing professors will expect from you. It’s the law school equivalent of “working with a net.” I can see why you’d be interested in a law school preview class.

The cons? For one, you get a taste of the type of studying you’ll be doing. Call me crazy, but I’d want to spend my last summer before law school having nothing to do with a classroom or a casebook. Read the books that you want to, not books that you have to. It’s all well and good to keep your skills sharp, but you don’t want to get a head start on the type of burnout through which so many 1Ls suffer in their first semester. If you want to get an idea of how to study well and succeed in law school, talk to those who have done so. They’ll have much better advice and they won’t require any schoolwork from you during the summer.

Law school preview courses may or may not be worth your while (I didn’t attend one, so I can’t say for sure), but ask yourself this: Do I want to spend part of my summer in class, or do I want to spend my summer in some exotic locale, sipping on a tropical beverage, recharging my battery for the challenging year ahead?

Your call (wink).

An original version of this post appeared on the LSAT blog in 2012.

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