5 Tips For Preparing For Law School Orientation
Every law school has a form of law school orientation but the format it takes can vary from program to program. Law school is a professional school, and your classmates will, one day, be your colleagues. Preparing for your law school orientation is a wonderful way to ensure you make a great first impression. Follow these tips to make sure you have the best possible start to your law school career!
5 Tips For Preparing For Law School Orientation
1. Prepare for Class Ahead of Time
Prepare for class and complete assignments given, if any, before orientation. Alternatively, you might be asked to complete an assignment at some point during your orientation week. Either way, it’s important that you prepare any necessary work ahead of class. Unlike in undergrad or other graduate programs where the professor introduces a new topic in class and follow-up work may be assigned after a class, law school is different. Instead, you should complete all the assigned readings before class begins, and show up ready to discuss. This is a subtle but very important distinction.
Not preparing for law school orientation is unprofessional and your classmates and professors will take note. My week-long law school orientation involved reading the landmark Gideon v. Wainwright decision. Throughout the week we discussed the case in large and small groups. In a group of approximately 200 students, I watched an unlucky classmate get “cold called” to recite the facts of the case. My classmate was prepared, and we were all impressed! Can you imagine if she hadn’t been? It happens all the time. Thoroughly completing orientation assignments is good practice for the start of law school and demonstrates respect for your peers and professors. It won’t go unnoticed!
Remember, no one will expect you to be a legal expert, but do your best to have a meaningful understanding of your reading. Your school may have planned group exercises throughout orientation related to a particular assignment. You’ll want to be able to contribute!
If you have to read cases, check out our tips on creating a case brief!
2. Stay on top of communications from your school.
You will likely receive numerous emails from your law school the summer before your first year. You’ll need to stay on top of these communications to ensure you pay deposits, keep abreast of deadlines, receive your class schedule, order books, and enroll for parking, etc. Law school orientation can be stressful as it is. You don’t want to show up not knowing your student ID number or what classes you’re enrolled in.
In addition to easing any logistical burdens, keep an eye out for invitations to law school events throughout the summer. You may have the opportunity to meet with alumni or attend a social event with your incoming class. These opportunities are fantastic chances to get a step ahead of the game, prepare for law school orientation, and ease anxiety about the start of law school. You may even meet some friends!
3. Determine what you are going to wear.
You’re probably going to be nervous about the start of law school. You’ll want to prepare for your law school orientation, so you can make a good impression with classmates, faculty, and staff. A simple way to take some stress off is by planning what you are going to wear. If you’re unsure about what attire is appropriate, check out these tips for picking out your orientation outfit. Lay out your clothes the night before orientation and make sure everything is nicely ironed. Set aside your books, computer, highlighters, and anything else you may need for the next morning. Don’t forget to pack your lunch if it’s not going to be provided by the school!
4. Map out your commute.
Maybe you live on campus. Perhaps you have to take multiple forms of public transportation. Maybe you drive from outside the city. No matter the length or complexity of your commute, you should know it before the first day of your orientation. If possible, we even recommend going through your commute a few days before orientation.
Rush hour traffic might increase a typical 10-minute drive to a 30-minute drive. A bus on your route to school might always run late. It’s good to know these things because you certainly won’t be prepared for law school orientation if you don’t show up on time! No one wants to be the student rushing in late on the first day.
5. Be social
No matter how confident some people seem, everyone is a little nervous to start law school. Preparing for law school orientation means having an open mind and a willingness to talk to lots of new people. The people you meet at law school will be your colleagues for the rest of your legal career. A little kindness and a positive attitude go a long way! You might even want to think of orientation as practice in networking which will likely be prevalent in your law school experience.
You might meet someone who is in all of your classes, a good friend, or even a future spouse! Either way, having a few friendly faces to turn to at the start of law school is invaluable.