For those of you who know you are going to law school in Fall 2012, this time next year will look and feel very different than it does now. Some of you are wondering where you’ll be accepted. Others of you are figuring out where you’re going to attend. Whichever type of stress you happen to be under at the moment, I can guarantee that it’ll be a completely different flavor of salsa next year (Confession: I didn’t want to use “ball of wax”).
Why the alteration? One word: grades. To be more specific, the grades that everyone will tell you are the most important of law school. 1L grades. Why are they so important? Firstly, this initial set of grades will play a major role in the type of employment you can expect to find in the summer between your 1L and 2L years (fair or not).
Also, no matter how you slice it, your first set of grades can’t help but put more pressure on your second semester of 1L year. Did you do well? You’ll want to keep those grades up so you have something impressive to show potential employers during OCI (On Campus Interviewing) in the week before your 2L year. Did you do poorly? Then you had better pick up the pace in your second semester or you may end up on academic probation, out of school or at the very least dissatisfied with the prospects for your post-2L summer.
What to make of all this? Do well your first semester of law school. “Duh,” you say. “But I’m not finished,” I say. Seek thee out those who did well during their first year of law school (bonus points if you can figure out which Disney movie I’m referencing with the first three words of this sentence). You’ll know who they are because they’ll be talking about how they got an offer to work at [insert name of big law firm here] during the summer between 2L and 3L year. When you find them, ask them about their study habits. Ask them how they approach writing essays on finals. Ask them if they have outlines for any of the professors you’re
stuck with taking your first year. And best of luck to you all.