What is an example of a daily law school study checklist? —JD Advising
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What is an example of a daily law school study checklist?

It is important to have an efficient daily law school study schedule if you are a first-year student. What you do every day will ultimately lead to your success (or lack of success) in law school.  If your goal is to be a high-achieving and well-rounded law student, below is what we recommend you include in your daily law school study schedule.

Components of the daily law school study schedule checklist

1. Go to class 

In law school, it is important to go to class! Remember that your professor writes your final exam. And, your professor will test on what they spent all semester talking about. The outline that you spend so much time creating and learning will be composed mostly of your class notes. And, you cannot have good class notes without going to class! So, make sure going to class is part of your daily law school study schedule!

Estimated time per day: 1.5–3.5 hours (depending on the day)

2. Develop your outlines

A lot of law students put off making their outlines until later in the semester. We recommend you outline from week one of law school! It will probably take about 30–60 minutes per class day to condense and organize your class notes into an outline. And, it is a great way of reviewing your class notes after lecture to make sure they stick. By outlining regularly, you will minimize your chances of feeling lost in law school and you will feel more in control of your schedule.

Estimated time per day: 30 min.–1 hour 

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3. Review your outlines

After you organize and condense your class notes so that they can be added to your outline, make sure to review your outlines. Go through your outline section by section to make sure that you have it memorized. We find it helpful to spend some time doing this every day. At the beginning of law school, you may be able to review all of your outlines every day (because they are so short!). As the semester goes on, you will be able to realistically review them once a week. Then, it may move to once every two weeks. Regularly reviewing your outlines is the best way to make sure you are retaining information! Better yet, when you get to your study period, you will already have your outlines made and know them! This will put you far ahead.

Estimated time per day: 30 min.–1 hour 

4. Practice law school exams 

If you do everything above but do not practice any law school exams throughout the semester, you will likely be a “B” student. If you practice law school exams, you are much more likely to be an “A” student. Developing and reviewing your outlines ensures you know the law, but this is what teaches you to apply the law. In the beginning of the semester, you might want to do short practice problems from supplements like Examples & Explanations. Toward the middle and end of the semester, you can start practicing your professor’s past exams or other exams you find online. This will make a huge difference! In the beginning of the semester, you will spend less time practicing exams than at the end of the semester and during your study period. The important thing is that you develop a habit of doing this all along.

Estimated time per day: 30 min.–1 hour 

5. Work on your legal writing assignments 

You will feel much more in control of your schedule—and you will get a much better grade in your legal writing class—if you dedicate time every day to your legal writing assignments. We recommend students work backward—that is, pick a deadline for yourself a few days before an assignment is due and then plan out what you will do every week so that you get your assignment done on time. When all the other students are pulling all-nighters, you will feel great about working ahead and can focus on your classes and putting finishing touches on your assignment!

Estimated time per day: 30 min.–1 hour 

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6. Read cases for the following day and prepare for class

Most law students spend all of their time on cases. But, we believe you need to read cases efficiently, not necessarily thoroughly. So, read your cases in a way that will help you prepare effectively for class. If you have anything else you need to do—like prepare to be on call or review supplements—do that during this time.

Estimated time per day: 1 hour 

7. Other 

Make time for other important activities! For example:

  • Exercise on a daily or weekly basis
  • Destress and take care of your mental health
  • Get involved in law school (don’t overdo it as a 1L, but get involved in at least one activity or club you find interesting)
  • Do something you enjoy—relax, watch TV, cook, hang out with friends, etc.

We talk about crafting a weekly law school study schedule here.

A condensed daily law school study schedule checklist for 1Ls

Here is a condensed version of the list above. Your daily list may look different for certain days. (For example, some days you might not have class to go to. Other days, you might not have class to prepare for. Toward the end of the semester, your legal writing assignments will likely be over and you can focus more on practice exams.) This list is a great place to start, especially in the beginning of the semester, when you are trying to build good habits for success.

  • Go to class
  • Develop your outlines
  • Review your outlines
  • Practice exams
  • Work on legal writing assignment
  • Prepare for class (read cases)
  • Other: do something you enjoy, exercise

Go to the next topic, What are “cases” in law school?

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