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Priorities During Your First-Year of Law School

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You’ll hear a lot of talk about priorities once you get to law school.  Prioritizing your workload is an important way to stay ahead of the game.  With other students talking about extracurricular activities and summer legal jobs, it’ll be beneficial to avoid getting sidetracked by other students endeavors.  I’m here to show you how to keep your eyes on the prize.

Health.  This blog post could begin and end with health.  Health is always, and I mean ALWAYS #1 priority.  Too often do we overlook our health in striving for our goals.  But please, I beg of you, devote significant time to maintaining both your mental and physical health.  This means working out and eating healthy.  Regular visits to the doctor, getting enough sleep.  I’ve met a lot of people along the way with deteriorating health that resulted from poor lifestyle habits.  It’s really as simple as small daily decisions.  Instead of grabbing a soda, grab a water.  Instead of ordering out, stay in and cook something healthy.  If you have to order out (I mean come on its law school who doesn’t right?), then choose something healthy on the menu.  In fact, simply remain health conscious and everything else will fall into place.

Grades, extracurricular activities and legal jobs.  This is really the focal point of the blog.  It seems everyone has an opinion on this matter—including me.  When it comes to your first-year of law school and deciding where to focus your time, the obvious answer is grades.  But, what about all your other time?  Many ask, “should we spend our time on extracurricular activities or finding a legal job?”  Unfortunately, I cannot give you a black and white answer because the right choice depends on each individual student.  I can, however, tell you that legal experience in your first year of law school is NOT necessary.  You will have plenty of time to get experience under your belt.  Heck, the first job I worked in a personal injury firm was no longer on my resume by the time I graduated law school.  Why?  Well because it got bounced off the list by extracurricular activities and other work experience.  Thus, you must ask yourself, “are my grades worth sacrificing for a legal job that might not even appear on my resume?”  The answer to that question is almost invariably no.

Family.  I urge you to keep your family close to you as you make your way through law school.  Family members and friends are going to wonder, without exception, “will law school change my little _____?”  Answer that question for them, every single day.  Stay true to your roots.  Focus your efforts on maintaining relationships with those people who are always there for you—your family.

Girlfriends and boyfriends.  I’ve seen a lot of relationships fail at the hands of law school, and most regret the decision.  Why?  Because it’s often the result of placing too much pressure on  yourself and thinking you’re too busy.  If you’ve found someone who loved you before becoming a lawyer, hold on to them.

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