Resources Law Schools Offer Beyond the Classroom
Law school is primarily about learning the law, attending classes, and studying for exams. However, there are other important resources offered at almost all law schools to help students thrive while enrolled and succeed after graduation in a career. This article explores various services offered by almost every law school to help you also succeed beyond the classroom.
Resources Law Schools Offer Beyond the Classroom
Your law school will most certainly have a Career Services department that can assist you with summer internships, clerkships, and post-graduate judicial clerkships or jobs. Make sure to take advantage of the career services – it’s part of what you’re paying for in law school! So, what can your law school’s career services department do? Some law schools host career workshops for first-year students. They can chat with you about different career options. Additionally, they can help with your resume, cover letter, or even do a mock interview with you! And, their assistance doesn’t end once you graduate. Often, the career services office is available to alums post-graduation. If you find yourself working through a career change, whether expected or unexpected, the career services office can be a valuable resource as you work through that transition!
It is essential to build a law school budget and to prepare for life after graduation when student loans might hit. Check with your registrar or bursar’s office to see if your law school partners with a financial planning service to start working on this area. After all, graduation (and student loan repayments!) will kick in before you know it. Getting a head start on how to incorporate your student loans into your budget can be invaluable once those due dates start arriving.
Also, you should be aware that your credit score and debt can be flagged with you attempt to gain admission to the bar. Although a poor credit score will not automatically mean you won’t be able to practice law, it is something that might be flagged in your admissions process. Also, failure to pay debts, if habitual, can also hold up your application. This is because the mishandling of client funds is such a big ethical issue. Therefore, it is imperative to stay on top of your budget from the get-go.
A law school library is full of resources beyond case books and textbooks. Your library should have technology and printing services for you. Also, ask your librarian about memberships to various online resources besides Lexis and Westlaw – such as Bloomberg Law and Hein Online. Additionally, befriending your law school librarians will serve you well if you have a research project or law review article to write. After all, they are there to assist you. The overwhelming majority of those working as law librarians have a graduate degree in library and information science.
Some are also former attorneys! Finally, ask your librarian if there are any free online services for students, such as the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (CALI).
Bar Exam and MPRE Services
You should ask your professors or academic deans if there are free Bar Prep and MPRE Prep resources through your law school. Some law schools start preparing students for these exams starting their 1L year. Law schools sometimes partner with various bar prep companies in order to provide free resources to students. Other law schools provide bar support internally through a variety of programs. And don’t forget: If you are signing up for your 2L or 3L classes, you may be wondering what law school classes will prepare you for the bar exam. It is wise to take classes that will prepare you for the bar exam as it maximizes your chances of passing the bar exam the first time you take it. Chances are, there is someone at your law school that can help you plan for and assist you throughout the bar exam preparation period.
It is imperative that you learn to IRAC and CREAC while in law school. Learning these writing techniques will assist you on your final exams, writing assignments, and the bar exam! However, most, if not all, law students struggle with these new ways or organizing writing. If your law school has a writing center, this is where it comes in! Some law schools have a writing center where you can meet with writing coaches, other students, and professors to practice your legal writing. Usually, during the academic year, students may attend workshops and/or make appointments for one-on-one consultations to improve test performance and writing skills. Additionally, law schools often have a lot of regulations regarding how students can obtain assistance in legal research and writing course, and writing centers are well aware of these restrictions!
Student Mental Health
Attending law school is an exciting, but often times stressful process. Unfortunately, substance use and mental health issues represent a significant challenge for the legal profession. These setbacks can begin in law school (or before!). The American Bar Association works with law schools on meeting the “ABA Well Being Pledge.” Check to see if your school participates. Also, do not hesitate is asking about free counseling sessions. Almost all law schools will have mental health resources for you, especially if they are part of a larger university network. And there is absolutely no shame in seeking assistance! Mental health is integral to and inseparable from overall health and wellbeing. One of the biggest challenges the legal profession faces is erasing the stigma of addressing mental health – your law school is a good place to start getting on the right track with your mental well being! See more resources here from the ABA, and be sure to check out what your law school has to offer!
Many law schools offer health insurance plans for students who might not be insured. You might even get a notification for this before you begin law school. Some school automatically enroll full-time students in health insurance programs, and you may have to opt-out. If you qualify, you can also look into your state’s public health insurance options. The ABA has insurance options as well, so that’s another option that might be available to you.
A notary is a person authorized to perform acts in legal affairs, in particular witnessing signatures on documents. You will likely need to have a document notarized at some point during your law school career, especially when you prepare to apply for admission to the bar. There should be several notaries on staff at your school. They might be part of the administrative team, or you might have to find services elsewhere in the university network. Utilizing this resource will save you a trip to the bank or elsewhere when you need to get your applications or paperwork notarized, especially around graduation time. Many law schools offer this service free of charge, too!