Do #1: Complete your first day assignments before classes start!
There is no such thing as syllabus day in law school. Some professors will use the first day to make examples out of students who aren’t prepared, while some will dive right into the material. Don’t be the unprepared example. Actually read (and brief!) and understand the cases before class. Worst comes to worst and you’re the first one called on, you’ll have a basic understanding of the case and can ask your question to the professor when you get stuck.
Don’t #2: DO NOT BE A GUNNER!
Think Hermione Granger in the first few Harry Potter books. The definition of a gunner is this:
“A person (usually a medical or law school student) who uses over 3 different colored highlighters, tabs every page in their notebook, and raises their hand after every question asked by their professor, regardless of if they know the correct answer or not. Gunners like to hear themselves speak. They use complicated words to make themselves sound smart even though they have no idea what’s going on in class- they pretend they do. They are trying to intimidate you and eliminate competition.”
Shout out to Urban Dictionary for this great definition! Nobody likes the class gunner, nobody. If you see people roll their eyes, snicker to themselves when you speak, or avoid you in the hallways, congratulations, you’re the gunner. Focus on making friends, getting the work done, and not being a giant pain in the ass and you won’t be a gunner.
Do #3: Treat law school like a full-time job!
You can’t just leave work during the day because you finished your work, can you? Treat law school that way. Once your class is finished, go to the library and get your work for the next class done. Read through your crunch times, E&Es, or just find somebody in your class to ask questions. If you’re able to, try and outline.
Don’t #4: Stop bragging about how late you stayed at school the previous night!
Nobody gives a shit. Nobody. Let me say that again, just in case you didn’t hear me, NOBODY. Lw students who do this look like (and pretty much are) giant douches. Bragging about how long/late you stay at school is a one way ticket to not having any friends, so just knock it off.
Do #5: Go talk to your professors!
I promise, most of them don’t bite. Getting to know your professors will be so beneficial to you! You can ask them questions about their class, law school in general, extracurriculars, or even questions about other classes. By doing this, you’ll create a professional rapport which can create a mentor/mentee relationship, tips for job hunting, and even a friendship. Please, just go talk to them!
Don’t #6: Try not to surf the internet during class.
I get it, sometimes it’s really hard to pay attention in class because the cute guy you went out on a date with finally added you on facebook and you really want to creep on him to find out more about him before your date on Friday, but dicking around on the internet is very distracting for other students around you. Do you really want the weird kid behind you knowing where you like to shop? What about the gunner next to you, would you like to hear her sighs of discontent because she’s annoyed? I didn’t think so.
Put it this way, during my first semester there was a girl who was ALWAYS online shopping and completing online bill pay. Everybody around her knew where she liked to shop, how past due her cable bill was, and what her credit card info was because she would pull it out during class. Oh, I forgot to mention, she sat in the second row, so EVERYBODY behind her could see this.
If you have to go onto the internet during class, dim the screen brightness, make the screen smaller, and finish quickly, or just sit in the back. Beware though, professors can always tell when students aren’t paying attention and will call you out in front of everybody.
Do #7: Talk to and make friends with upperclassmen
Upperclassmen were once clueless 1Ls, too, and remember how difficult the transition can be. Ask for advice, tips, or outlines. Most of the upperclassmen I know are really friendly and will go out of their way to help out 1Ls, especially during the first semester.
Don’t #8: Don’t wear suits to school, and definitely don’t wear heels
Enough said. You’ll look like a Minkus and everybody will look at you like this: