I Need Help in Law School. What Should I Do? Realizing you need help in law school, and then acting on it is difficult. However, the speed of law school courses and the volume of material that you learn daily is too great to sit on the fence about getting help. If you wait too long, you might find yourself extremely behind. Not to mention, overwhelmed! So, if you are reading this post—Congrats! You’ve taken the first step to getting help! Here are our recommendations for what you should do:
5 Steps to Take if you Need Help in Law School
1. Set up an appointment to talk to your professor.
Almost all professors keep regular office hours. Usually during this time you can simply drop in and chat. However, we recommend that you send a quick email to let your professor know that you plan on stopping by. Sometimes they will give you a specific time so you don’t get stuck waiting. You should come prepared to this meeting. We recommend that you try to articulate what it is you are having trouble with. (Read this tip on how to make the most of your professor’s office hours.)
Professors are busy people, and they will be able to better help you if you can tell them what is causing you difficulties. If you simply walk into their office and expect them to explain the major concepts from the whole semester, you will find yourself disappointed. This is another reason it is helpful if you visit your professor when you first realize that you are struggling and that you need help in law school—that way you don’t fall too far behind.
2. Meet with your teaching assistant.
Teaching assistants are an invaluable resource for those who need help in law school. They can shed insight into how to do well in the class, as well as helping out with substantive law. Many students report feeling more comfortable discussing their difficulties with a teaching assistant than with a professor. However, we recommend that students treat their meetings with teaching assistants the same as with their professors—come prepared and have questions ready. Teaching assistants will be able to better help you if you can discuss your concerns and issues. Making these meetings regular is a great idea!
3. Attend an extra study group. (However: use caution!)
Not all students benefit from study groups. (Read this post if you are wondering if a study group is right for you.) However, if you find a good one, it can be worth it!
The one unfortunate reality of a study group is that many times not a lot of studying gets done. If you are fortunate enough to find a good group of people that can be productive during their planned times, a study group is an excellent idea. The study groups that tend to have the most success are the ones that have plans on what to discuss at which meeting, and the students prepared to discuss the relevant topics. A study group is a great option to discuss the law and class material on a more regular basis than with a professor or teaching assistant. You may get a lot of your questions answered during a study groups meeting. Then, you can take your more unanswered substantive law questions to their professors and/or teaching assistants.
4. Read some of our blog posts on how to excel in law school.
We have many blog posts on how to excel in law school. If you need help in law school, you may find that some of these posts help you! Please check this post out on how to succeed in law school. Please see these additional posts as well:
- An in-depth post on how to make a law school outline if you don’t know where to start.
- Some tips to actively reviewing your law school outlines.
- An in-depth guide to answering law school exam questions.
- We have a detailed post on how to create a good law school study schedule here.
To read all of our law school posts, please see this page.
5. Get a law school tutor.
If you feel like the above options didn’t work, or you are looking for a blended approach, getting a law school tutor is a great way to go. Check out our law school tutoring options here.
We have helped many students succeed in law school (and succeed in and transfer to) prestigious law schools, such as the University of Michigan Law School, Cornell Law School, Duke Law School, New York Law School, Wayne State University Law School, among others.
Most tutors are equipped to focus on what you specifically struggle with or they can help you figure out what you do not understand. Tutors are also an excellent resource for exam prep—as many professors, teaching assistants and study groups are not the most effective route for obtaining higher than average grades on law school exams.
Like with the other above options we recommend that once you decide that you need a tutor, you get with one soon. That way the tutor can is more likely to be able to help you catch up, than if you wait until the end of the semester.