If you’ve completed the LSAT, applied to schools, and accepted an offer of admission, congratulations! This post is dedicated to answering a very common question from rising first-year law students—how should I spend my summer before beginning law school? My answer, in a nutshell, is: “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you may die.”
The summer before I started law school, I went on vacation. I busied myself with watching movies, playing videogames, exercising, reading, and fishing. I tried to spend as much time as possible with my brother and my best friend, and I tried to put the thought of law school out of my mind entirely (with a couple exceptions that I’ll get to later). And I have no regrets.
At this point, it is too late for you to change your mind, so I won’t sugarcoat anything. Law school is hard. You won’t get to socialize or go out very often, and you will experience a tremendous amount of stress—that is simply the nature of the beast. With that inevitability in mind, I would absolutely recommend trying to enjoy yourself as much as possible before you start school. Once you begin your legal education, and thereby your legal career, you will almost always have things you “should” be doing with your time. Take this opportunity to enjoy a relatively stress-free window in your life.
Of course, if there are things you need to take care of, do so before you begin law school. I distinctly remember someone telling me that I should go to the dentist, get a physical, and tie up any loose ends in my life before the school year began, and I think that was probably the best advice I received regarding how I should spend my summer. You just won’t want to deal with the minutiae when you’re in the trenches of law school.
With all of that said, there are a couple things I would recommend if you get tired of having fun. The first is to read a book called Getting to Maybe. Most people don’t have a really clear perception of what a law school exam actually entails (and you probably won’t really have an entirely clear perception until you actually take one). Getting to Maybe helped me get a little more clarity on the challenges that awaited me in law school, and it is the best resource I’ve encountered for prospective students. Second, I would recommend simply reading in general. Unless your job involves poring through pages of complex literature, you probably are not accustomed to the significant amounts of reading that will overtake your life. The more you read before school, the more ready you’ll be for your law school experience.
Now, as a closing word, I want to address 1L prep courses. I would recommend steering clear. As a caveat, I did not take a prep course myself. But everyone I’ve talked to has said they are basically a waste of money. My anecdotal, secondhand information on the subject suggests that they do not prepare you for the rigors of actual law classes. As I said before, law school is hard enough—you don’t need to stress over an additional course that probably won’t do you much good. Instead, enjoy your last few months of freedom!