The Ins and Outs of Law School Extracurriculars: During the second semester of your first year of law school, the “shock factor” of this new environment is finally starting to wear off and you’re beginning to settle in to the routines necessary to succeed. However, contemplating your second year can bring on an entire new set of anxieties. Not only are you on your own for choosing classes, there is a whole new world of extracurricular activities.
The Ins and Outs of Law School Extracurriculars
While your classes can teach you the law and provide you with the tools to analyze and solve the real-world problems you will encounter as a lawyer, participating in a group such as Moot Court, Law Review, or Mock Trial will give you a chance to practice and hone these skills and tools before you go off on your own. Law firms and potential employers absolutely love to see one of these extracurriculars on your resume.. 2L year brings your first exposure to on-campus interviews. A favorite question interviewers ask is whether you participate in any extracurriculars. Extracurriculars make you an extremely well-rounded and attractive candidate for employers.
1. Moot Court
In Moot Court, one of the more popular law school extracurriculars, students improve their research and writing skills by writing a set of briefs based on a set problem. Additionally, students are given a chance to practice their oral advocacy skills by presenting opening arguments, answering questions, and offering rebuttal in front of a panel of their peers. Typically schools organize a series of in-house competitions during the first semester, and then select teams of the strongest students to send to national and international Moot Court competitions. Actual judges typically preside over the larger competitions, simulating the experience students will have when arguing cases in real life. Moot Court is an excellent extracurricular for law students interested in litigation. It offers students multiple opportunities to boost their confidence in oral advocacy and develop their writing abilities.
2. Law Review
Members of Law Review are typically some of the best writers their school has to offer. They become masters of the legal citation system through the editing of articles written by prestigious legal scholars from across the country, and are also expected to conduct an immense amount of research to write a detailed legal article of their own. Students typically spend the entire year writing and perfecting their article. The ultimate goal is a polished piece that is then considered for publication.
There are few higher honors for legal scholars than publication in a prestigious Law Review or journal. A select few students get an opportunity to see their piece in a volume alongside established lawyers, judges, and professionals. Law Review is especially appealing to students interested in writing more than just your typical court documents. It is also attractive to those who want to push the boundaries and investigate a topic of their own choosing.
3. Mock Trial
Mock Trial might be less popular than the other law school extracurriculars, but it still has a lot of value. This extracurricular assigns groups of students a written problem and then asks them to stage an entire trial based on the information presented. Students gain experience in presenting opening arguments, eliciting witness testimony, conducting cross examination, and finally giving a strong closing statement to a judge. Each school holds in-house competitions in a similar format to Moot Court before moving on to national and international competition. Mock Trial might be the best simulation of what a typical litigation attorney will experience in real life. Furthermore, it gives students exposure to trial procedures that are not available in most classes.
While all of the law school extracurriculars presented above require a lot of effort in addition to your classwork, the benefits are invaluable. You develop a bond with your fellow members; you learn how to work as a team to achieve a common goal. Employers love applicants that have done it all – proved that they can succeed in the classroom as well as handle the additional responsibilities and pressures you take on in an extracurricular. Whichever one you choose, it is an experience you absolutely won’t regret!
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