The Wisdom of 1L: Early law school lessons from an alum

Lilian Chukwurah graduated with a degree in Legal Studies from UMass last May.  She’s now a first year (1L) at New England Law | Boston. She has a few tips for those of you contemplating law school.  If you have more questions, feel free to email Lilian.  She’ll get back to you right after she finishes that 10-page brief.

Okay, I have been in law school for a whole two months and I can tell you that two months in law school is like a semester in undergrad. One thing that I have learned that I did not believe before I came to law school is YOUR MAJOR DOES NOT MATTER. I have people in my class that were Engineering majors and Chemistry majors. Nothing prepares you for the type of work that is expected from you. I was a Legal Studies major at UMass; I thought that this would give me a leg up on other people in law school. Law school puts everyone on an even playing field because no one is prepared for this level of work. The only advantage I have seen is that I can handle the reading load because that is what I did in undergrad.

If you have the opportunity to do a senior thesis at UMass, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT. Learning how to research is very important in law school because your legal research and writing class requires you to do research and be able to synthesis what you have found in your research. Make sure to take the thesis seriously because the skills you gain from doing your own research can be helpful in law school. However, do not assume that being able to write a 40-page thesis would prepare you for a 10-page paper in law school. The writing process is completely different and the format of the paper is different as well. The expectation is high because at the end of three years you would be in a position to write the briefs and memos, in a real world situation, to judges and other lawyers, so schools take legal writing very seriously.

On a brighter note law school is AWESOME; I would not change my decision for anything else. It is hard to adjust to the work load but I leave class everyday learning something new. I get to see the laws that control human interactions and I love every second of it, even though it does get overwhelming at times. I came straight to law school from undergrad and I have not seen any disadvantages to that decision.