How to Prepare for Law School the Summer Before
Here we tell you how to prepare for law school the summer before so you go into law school ready to excel in law school and on your exams! So here is our best advice distilled down to help you maximize your preparation time before law school. If you take all of our advice, you will go into law school already knowing the strategies and skills you need (outlining, exam-taking, taking good class notes, etc.). You will have a primer on the law you will learn in all of your 1L classes (complete with lectures and “one-sheets”—all for FREE!). You will develop good habits, like exercising, eating well, and sleeping well. And you will also have some fun while you’re at it! Lastly, you will prepare for your personal law school experience ahead of time. We are excited to share our tips with you!
Learn strategies to succeed in law school
You have probably heard that law school is different than undergrad. The assignments are different, the exams are different, and grades are allocated differently. So don’t wait until your first day of law school to figure out what it’s all about! Instead, learn some critical strategies before you even start! This will help you confidently walk into law school with a gameplan on how to tackle your classes!
The JD Advising law school prep course teaches crucial law school skills like:
- How to outline
- How to prepare for class
- How to efficiently read cases (i.e. “speed read” cases!)
- How to prepare for law school exams
- Useful law school vocabulary
It also covers the substantive law for each of the classes you will take your 1L year (Civil Procedure, Contracts, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, Property, and Torts). And we cover vocabulary terms you will want to be familiar with ahead of time. Lastly, we’ll teach you how to make a law school study schedule so you feel more on track and less overwhelmed when you start law school. You can do this right over the summer.
It is designed by an attorney who graduated #1 in her class. Learn from the best!
Pick up some helpful law school books.
There are three books we highly recommend:
- Our first must-read recommendation is Getting to Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams written by Richard Michael Fischl and Jeremy Paul. (Commission earned when you click on the link. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.) This is written by two amazing professors that we interview in our free law school prep course! Their book discusses how to excel on exams. Exams make up the vast majority if not all of your law school grades. So this book is not only one of a kind, but it is also a great primer on how to succeed on the one thing that actually matters.
- Our second must-read recommendation for the summer before law school is Law School Done Right: Proven Tips for Success from Recent Grads who Killed It. (Commission earned when you click on the link. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.) Law School Done Right is written by two impressive authors who excelled at top schools. And you can read it in less than an hour! This book is one of the best and most practical law school books you can read, especially if you are a first-generation student who lacks the institutional knowledge other students may have. It goes beyond exam advice and gives you real-life tips to excel both in and out of law school. Truly, is one of our most highly recommended books. (Note – we also interview these amazing individuals in our free law school prep course!)
- Lastly, although not directly related to law school, we highly recommend Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. (Commission earned when you click on the link. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.) This is written by James Clear, a leading expert on habit formation. Atomic Habits lays out useful strategies for how to build habits that can help in any area of life. Since law school requires such a focused approach to succeed, we recommend reading it not only for establishing habits to support your physical and mental health, but also to build a great habit-based study schedule!
Get into good habits now!
After you get your copy of Atomic Habits, put the information to good use! Start building some good habits now. Examples of habits we highly recommend you build before law school starts:
- Exercise regularly (at least a few times a week). Exercise is a great stress-reduce and can help you focus and do your best work so you’ll want to keep this up in law school!
- Eat healthily. Try to eat a well-balanced diet involving fruits, vegetables, and “brain food” (like walnuts).
- Get into healthy sleep habits. Work on setting up a good sleep environment (a dark cool room!) and sleeping an appropriate amount each night.
- Do your best to eliminate any bad habits (like excessive alcohol intake).
Setting up good habits now will set the right foundation when you get into law school. If you are eating well, exercising, and sleeping enough, you will be better able to focus, learn information, and retain information once you learn it! In other words, you will be putting yourself in the best position to maximize your success in law school! Not to mention, these habits will help you study for the bar exam and will also serve you well after you are a licensed lawyer!
We highly recommend you enjoy your summer before law school as much as possible! Consider doing the following:
- Spending time with your family and friends
- Taking a vacation (or a “staycation!”)
- Watching your favorites shows
- Reading books for enjoyment
- Spending time outdoors
Taking a break and having fun before law school will make it easier to buckle down and work when the time counts! So please take our advice and take a break!
Prepare for your law school experience!
A few things you may want to do are the following.
First, pick up some supplies! Read our “7 essentials to add to your law school shopping list” blog here!
A few important notes:
- Make sure you have a good, working laptop, and download Microsoft Word and other programs you will likely need
- A practical backpack can go a long way in law school!
- A good high-quality suit can also be helpful. You may need it for law school oral arguments or when you participate in interviews. Buy a well-fitting suit (and shoes!) now so you don’t have to worry about it later.
- Pens, pencils, and highlighters may all seem obvious supplies to purchase but you will likely want a lot of these! You may also find page tabs to be very useful!
Next, if your professor has made your booklist available, get your law school books early! You may even be able to find them used on eBay or Amazon if you are looking to save money!
Lastly, if you are moving to a new location, consider moving a bit early so you can get to know the city, the libraries, the coffee shops, etc. This will make heading into your law school orientation a bit easier, as you will come back to something you find familiar! You may even want to try to get to know a few of your classmates ahead of time if your law school offers any opportunities to do so (or by social media platforms, such as LinkedIn).
Preparing for law school the summer before is a good idea! If you follow all of our advice, you will go into law school with a good understanding of the skills you need (and a primer on the law!), good healthy and nutritious habits, and you will feel ready to work after relaxing and having some fun! We think this is the best way to prepare for law school the summer before!