9 answers

What should students take away from law school?

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Interested in legal affairs, and wanted additional information! #law #lawyer #law-school #attorney #law-practice #law-school

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9 answers

Eric’s Answer

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Law school for me was mostly about developing the soft skills to being a lawyer—writing clearly, writing persuasively, speaking logically and concisely about an issue, to name a few. Also, you learn some version of the REAC method of legal reasoning at most schools: Rule, Explanation; Application, Conclusion. While I did learn substantive law, learning how to think, write, and speak like a lawyer was more important.
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Xiao’s Answer

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Looking back on my law school years, I realized that the soft skills, the friends I made and honing the ability to think critically and logically were the most important things I got out of the experience. If I can change on thing - I would say that I would tell my former self that grades and rankings didn't matter as much as I thought they did (or others made them out to be)!
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Joseph’s Answer

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Learn to identify issues with a scenario or situation - this is known as "issue spotting." Network with your classmates and build great relationships with them. I was able to start a great career working as in-house counsel at a large corporation by getting connected with a law school classmate!

Joseph recommends the following next steps:

  • Continue to build relationships and network
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Richard’s Answer

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When I think back to my wife being in law school, the main thing I remember isn't the law she learned: it was the way she learned to think like a lawyer: Spending hours studying cases, spotting issues, and learning how policy decisions are made. When you finish law school, you don't necessarily know the details of working in your field despite the hours of law you have spent studying. You do know how to research and write, and find your way in the new area of law that will become your focus.
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Donna’s Answer

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This seems to be an odd question to me. If you are going to law school, then upon graduation, you should have the skills to start practicing law. While law school might teach you civil and criminal procedure in general terms, you will have to learn specifics for your state and county. And you certainly would not be ready to actually try a case unless you have had those classes in law school. So, you have tools but you need real life experience to actually practice law. You could also apply your knowledge to other fields, such as business, contract negotiation, etc. If you are not interested in being a lawyer, then maybe a business degree would be a better choice.
Hi, Donna. While it is true that you acquire practical skills that will help you try cases, were there any major things you learned from your time in law school that you found to be particularly important or helpful when you were first starting your career? Gurpreet Lally Translate
Law school did not prepare me for practicing law. It gave me tools, but you really learn through doing. Get involved in one of the clinics in law school and try to get some real world experience during the summers as an intern. Arm yourself with knowledge and real world experience as much as you can because it will help you get a job out of school. Experience is everything! Jackie Stringer Translate
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Jackie’s Answer

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My biggest takeaways from law school were the friendships that I have made, how to organize and communicate effectively and how to time manage. In the intense environment that you find yourself in, you will become very close with those you are in school with. A lot of your classmates will be just like you and you will find a ton that you have in common. I am still friends 20 years later with my closest friends from law school, and we've seen each other through everything (births, deaths, marriages, divorces, opening companies, losing jobs, everything...).

The content that I learned in law school is not overly relevant to me working in corporate contracts, but it did give me a basic understanding of construction and rules to follow when drafting. I wish I had been offered or had taken a practical course in drafting (other than what you have to take). Business law or contract drafting would have been super helpful, so if your school offers it, jump on it.

You learn to time manage by deciding what is important and what can wait. Prioritizing things in school and in your life will become very evident in your daily habits. How long should I study? Should I call mom/dad now or later? Do I need a break? Do I need a beer?? Do I need to update my outlines? Just take good notes, review as you go (and re-review what you may not understand), and start your course outlines with key terms early because if you wait until you are studying for finals to do them, you will scramble and spend so much time on the outlines that you don't actually study.

Law school was a huge commitment, personally and academically. If you are on the fence, don't do it. Find something that you are truly passionate about. We all don't make $100,000 right out of law school. Trust me. Find what you like and make a career out of it, or pursue something else. Just take care of yourself and make yourself happy. It's all you can do these days! A degree and education are something that no one can take away from you. You never know when you might need to pull out something cool from your Contracts class at a dinner.
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Andrew’s Answer

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One of the biggest things I took away was finding the problem or "Issue Spotting". Learning to identify the issue has come in handy throughout life and my career outside of just practicing law. Ultimately that biggest take away was building a foundation in law that would allow me to pursue a career outside of the legal field but still have the practical knowledge as needed to run a business. Learning more about employment and labor laws helped in establishing my business.

There are plenty of other soft or peripheral skills you pick up depending on the courses you take. I learn better negotiation and communication skills. As well as critical thinking to achieve one's objectives when coming to the table with another party.
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Andrew’s Answer

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One of the biggest things I took away was finding the problem or "Issue Spotting". Learning to identify the issue has come in handy throughout life and my career outside of just practicing law. Ultimately that biggest take away was building a foundation in law that would allow me to pursue a career outside of the legal field but still have the practical knowledge as needed to run a business. Learning more about employment and labor laws helped in establishing my business.

There are plenty of other soft or peripheral skills you pick up depending on the courses you take. I learn better negotiation and communication skills. As well as critical thinking to achieve one's objectives when coming to the table with another party.
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Jorie’s Answer

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I agree with many of the other responses above. Law school teaches you more of the soft skills of the legal profession--research, writing, identifying issues, etc. , but it doesn't necessarily prepare lawyers for actual law practice. Law school is more of extended preparation for the bar exam. That being said, there are some incredible outside-the-classroom opportunities in law school to learn more of the hard skills through externships, internships, and moot court programs. I became involved with my school's trial advocacy program early on, and that program provided me with invaluable experience that has helped me in my litigation practice. If litigation isn't your thing, there are also programs that can help prepare you for a career in transactional law. I strongly recommended participating in such programs in addition to the required courses. They also look great on a resume!
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