Law School 1L Class Visit Do’s and Don’ts
In this post, we cover what you should and shouldn’t do if you schedule a 1L class visit.
Law School 1L Class Visit Do’s and Don’ts
1. ARRIVE EARLY AND CHECK-IN.
Arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the start of class. Make sure you give yourself enough time to find parking and the law school building. Check in with the admissions office and ask for directions to the classroom.
2. DRESS APPROPRIATELY.
For a 1L class visit you should try to blend in. Be comfortable but appropriate. This means no suits and no sweatpants. It doesn’t matter if you see other law students that clearly rolled out of bed minutes before class started. You are a visitor for the day and should be dressed respectfully and appropriately.
3. INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO THE PROFESSOR, IF POSSIBLE.
If the professor is already in the classroom when you arrive and class has not yet started, go down to him or her and briefly introduce yourself as a visiting student.
Let the professor know that you plan to sit in the back corner if that’s okay with them during your class visit. This is important because many professors have seating charts and you don’t want to take the seat of a current student. The professor may suggest you sit somewhere specific so there’s no confusion. If you aren’t able to speak with the professor before class for some reason, ask students near you if anyone regularly sits in your selected seat. If so, move to an empty spot.
4. DO NOT PARTICIPATE.
Feel free to take notes and actively listen but do not participate. You are not a member of the class and you did not read the cases beforehand. It doesn’t matter if you’re familiar with the topic of discussion, refrain from participating during your class visit.
5. SILENCE YOUR PHONE AND KEEP IT OUT OF SIGHT.
Make sure that your phone does not go off during class. This includes any alarms or reminders you may have set. Place your phone out of sight so that you’re not distracted by it or distracting others around you. Do not go on your phone and play games or go on social media no matter how bored or confused you may be. It will be distracting to students sitting near you that actually need to learn the material. Even though you are just doing a class visit, other students are paying a lot of money to learn what the professor is teaching. Be respectful of this.
6. OBSERVE OTHERS.
As a future law student, try to observe how other students and the professor are engaging with the material. Is the professor dull or actively engaging students in the material? Is he/she asking thoughtful hypotheticals? How are the students taking their notes and reacting to the professor’s questions?
7. THANK THE PROFESSOR & TALK TO STUDENTS.
Not all professors allow visitors to sit in on their classes so after the class is done, if time allows and there’s not a lineup of students, go down and thank the professor for allowing you to sit in on the class.
Also, take a few minutes before or after class to talk to students around you. Ask them how they enjoy the program and what they think of their law school experience thus far. You’re taking time of your day to visit the school, make an effort to learn as much as you can to make a more informed decision about what law school is right for you.
8. MIND YOUR TIMING.
The day or time of year that you visit a school may influence your experience. Try to avoid the days or weeks leading up to exams. The mood and overall feel in the school understandably shifts. Class visits might also not be as insightful for visitors if professors are reviewing material rather than discussing new cases. Note that some schools have a “reading week” between the end of classes and exams, so a school visit during this time is obviously not ideal.
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