The start of university and freshers week is just around the corner, so here are 5 things you need to be doing as a first year law student to maximise your chances of success.
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The best way to get ahead as a law student is by building connections, which is often best done by networking. Your university may run a law networking event where they invite barristers, solicitors and other people in the legal profession. It is a great idea to attend these events in order to meet new people, ask questions you may have and to start building your contacts list early on.
Aside from this, many law firms may run exclusive insight events for first year law students. These will almost always build in a networking session within the program. As someone that attended an insight event in my first year, I can honestly say that the networking session was by far the most enjoyable part as I could get professional answers to all of the questions I had.
Networking is something you need to prioritise in your first year as it is an important skill for any aspiring lawyer.
For my course, first year did not count towards my final grade. If yours is the same, use first year as a period of experimentation.
Try taking handwritten notes in lectures instead of typing them out or try recording lectures instead of endlessly taking notes. Moreover, test your ability to learn visually using mind maps as opposed to always writing notes verbatim.
If something worked for you during A Levels, by all means keep it up.
From personal experience, I can attest to the fact that Law requires a different kind of approach to A Levels as it is so content heavy. Essay writing is another thing that you can experiment with during first year. The point is to spend first year trying out different things in order to find what works for you so you can apply it to second and third year when it counts.
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As a law student, you’ve got to make a habit of being punctual and attending everything that you are supposed to. If you miss one lecture, you’ll find that catching up is very hard and not something that you can simply do by looking at the PowerPoint slides.
First year is most certainly not the time to be getting into bad habits as it can become easy to continue these into your next years. Make sure you attend everything that you are timetabled to during your first year.
Going to Cambridge? Why not read our Expert Insight on reading Law at the University of Cambridge? >>
This can include anything from holding a position in the law society to serving as a course representative. These all equip you with transferable skills that will come in handy when you become a lawyer, such as communication, teamwork and leadership.
It may be no surprise that positions like these can be competitive, so you may want to consider becoming a campus ambassador, which you can do for companies like The Lawyer Portal. Something of this nature will also allow you to later demonstrate the skills you’ve acquired during your time at University.
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Whilst at times the workload may be overwhelming, law is an incredible subject. It teaches you about society and how the law governs everyday life. It also teaches you how to think on your feet and produce cogent arguments.
At the same time, it is also a practical subject that teaches you how to draft client care letters, deliver presentations and develop business skills. Law is commonly thought of as a difficult degree, but many law students love it because of how it combines many academic disciplines.
Enjoy your degree and develop an interest in something. For me, it was contract law and for friends it was criminal law. It’s the things you find enjoyable that help you sustain yourself for the remainder of your degree.
If you do all these things during your first year, you will find that you are ready for when it counts during your second and third years.
Find out more about The Lawyer Portal’s Ambassador Programme.
For more advice on law school, check out the links below:
Author: Ali Chaudhry
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