Things To Focus On During 1L Summer
Congratulations! You have completed your first year of law school! You are now 1/3 of the way through your law school journey. Now the question becomes how to spend your summer before your second year of law school. In this post, we discuss ten things students can focus on during their 1L summer.
Things To Focus On During 1L Summer
Many students choose to complete an internship during the summer related to the legal profession. This allows students to get hands-on experience within different fields of law. Most internships will be in nonprofit or government settings and focus in a myriad of topics. Students learn what these legal environments are like and whether a particular area of the law is something they wish to pursue post-graduation. Many internships focus on multiple areas of the law, which is great for students who are unsure where they want to practice. Even if you think you know what field of law you want to practice in, having exposure to different areas of law can help you better determine if that’s ultimately where you want to spend your time. Some schools may offer credits for graduation for completing an internship. Check with your academic advisor to see if this is an option for you!
2. Summer Job
For students looking to gain legal experience in the private sector, a paid position as a law clerk is usually the route they choose. Clerking at a firm is another great way to get experience and exposure to different areas of law. There are many opportunities available in private practice: from small firms to big firms and from civil litigation to intellectual property and everthing in between! Some smaller firms are more specialized whereas larger firms typically have many different practice areas. Summer law clerkships can even lead to future job opportunities!
Some students can hold onto their clerk position throughout the school year. Other students are welcomed back the following summer. Yet others end their summer with a job offer following law school graduation. Summer clerkships often come with many networking opportunities. Firms have different events throughout the year that invite different people such as local attorneys, clients, or other summer clerks. These events are great time to meet other local attorneys that do not work at the firm and clients that have sent projects your way.
During your 1L Summer is when law school extracurriculars such as law review, moot court, and mock trial hold their tryouts. At the end of the school year, you will receive information regarding these organizations and more about the tryout process. If you are planning on participating in one of these organizations, be sure to prepare for the tryout. Slots are often competitive, and your best shot is showing up with a thorough understanding of the task at hand. Not sure if law review, mock trial, or moot court is something you want to do? Many other student organizations reach out to students during the summer months to gauge interest.
While most students wait to take this exam until sometime during their 2L or 3L year, you could get it out of the way after your first year of law school. Many law schools have summer course offerings, including professional responsibilities. If you elect to take a professional responsibilities course over the summer, then you’ll still be in great shape to take the MPRE in August. Just make sure to keep track of any registration deadlines. These tend to be months before the exam, so it will be something you’ll need to decide early on if it’s something you ultimately want to pursue.
Even if you are preparing for the MPRE immediately following a professional responsibilities course, it’s still a good idea to sign up for an MPRE prep course. The good news? Many bar prep companies (including us!) offer them for free!
5. Summer Classes
This one goes along with taking the MPRE early. If you are wanting to get ahead in your program of study, many law schools offer summer classes. Summer classes can allow you to work ahead so that you can take a lighter course load during other semesters. This might allow you to better balance your time heading into your 2L year, especially if you plan to work! Keep in mind that law schools tend to have much fewer course offerings during the summer, so you might not be able to check off the larger lecture-style courses off of your list.
Summer classes can also help if your university has a joint degree program. If you’re planning on graduating with an MBA (Masters of Business Administration) or an MPH (Master of Public Health) along with your JD, summer can be a great time to get ahead on coursework outside of the law school. If you plan to finish law school with two degrees, be sure to check out summer courses available in your masters program. It might be the perfect time to complete some of those courses so you can focus on law school offerings in the fall!
You might be simply cringing at the word “read” given all of the reading you had to do during your 1L year of law school. Here, though, we’re talking about reading or enjoyment! With your free time off from school, now is the time to make a dent in that list of books you want to read for fun. Check out your library or stop by a local bookstore and pick up that novel you’ve been meaning to read. Join a book club or a summer reading program! There are so many options in the world of reading that most can’t take advantage of during the average law school semester.
7. Catch up on TV shows
Let’s be honest, law school can be grueling. With the amount of time law school takes away from our free time the idea of binge-watching a new Netflix series is almost laughable. Summertime, though, is a great time to catch up on your favorite TV shows! With all the streaming platforms available, the variety is endless. Many platforms also include a free trial period, so if there’s a show you’ve been itching to watch, testing out a platform for free can be a great option!
8. Hangout with family and friends
Law school is very time-consuming and sometimes even geographically distant. Summer can be a great time to spend some time at home, catch up with loved ones, and meet up with friends you haven’t seen in a while. So, say yes to the family reunion, morning coffee, or evening happy hour without thinking about what you should be reading or working on. Reconnecting with loved ones not only lets them know what you’ve been up to, but it’s also good for the soul. Reconnecting is an important part of recharging and will allow you to walk into your fall semester with just a bit more perspective.
9. Pick up a new hobby or restart an old one
Summer break is a great time to pick up a new hobby that you always wanted to try or resume an old hobby that you haven’t done in a while. These could include picking up a new sport or joining a summer softball or golf league. Your local parks and recreation center might even offer dance or exercise classes you can take advantage of during the summer months. Many law students pick up running as a way to manage stress, and training for a race can become a great summer hobby. If arts and crafts are more your style, sewing, quilting, scrapbooking, cross-stitching and painting can all be relaxing. Check out your local craft store for ideas or kits to get started!
10. On Campus Interviews
While you may not have taken a job for your 1L summer, or even if you have, you can begin preparing for your 2L summer by participating in on-campus interviews. Larger firms in the area are looking to hire their summer law clerks for the following year. The firms will visit law schools toward the end of summer and in the early fall. If it’s been a while since you’ve worked on your resume and cover letter, take some time this summer to get everything up-to-date. If you know who might be participating in your law school’s on-campus interview program, the summer months are also a great time to research law firms.
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