Six Easy Steps to Fun and Profit in Law School and Life

Hello 1Ls! You all have just entered a strange and wonderful world, and I hope each one of you has an amazing time. That said, I’d like to give y’all just a few tips to help you make the most of your time in law school.

  1. Go to class

It’s true that a lot of things can be learned directly from your casebooks. But sometimes professors say things during class not covered in the casebooks or talk about what they like to emphasize on exams. Sometimes somebody in your class says something smart, and you’ll want to know who the smart people are so you can ask them for their outlines. And sometimes a professor does a one-person reenactment of The Hangover and everyone has a nice laugh. I’m not saying that the last thing has ever happened to me, but if it did, you wouldn’t want to miss it.

  1. Find time for yourself

Let’s say one of your hobbies is making candy necklaces or prospecting for oil. You should continue to make time for alternately threading Smarties and caramel corn or fracking for some sweet Texas tea. Everyone needs a hobby so they’re not boring people who can only talk about the latest Supreme Court docket. Having a hobby also gives future middle-aged you a good excuse to disappear for a few days so you can frolic in peace with your much-too-young paramour in an attempt to relive the youth that you squandered at law school and a BigLaw job.

  1. Take good notes

Notes are like baby aspirin. You don’t need to take them, but they may reduce your risk of a second heart attack if taken in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Talk to your doctor before starting any medical regimen.

  1. Meet new people

You’ll meet tons of great people, at least some of whom are not secret gunners or future corrupt politicians. Many lawyers are depressed or alcoholics, and making more friends will increase the number of people who might stage an intervention for you.

When your spouse finds out about your not-so-secret paramour and leaves you for their personal trainer, it will also come in handy to have a friend on whose couch you can crash while you look for an apartment.

  1. Write for The Record

This is definitely an important and good thing to do that will improve your law school experience and future job prospects. My job as editor-in-chief definitely does not involve dealing with dumb emails from random strangers complaining about Iran, socialism, and broken links.

  1. Have fun

Believe it or not, some people find law school to be a stressful experience. I don’t really understand those people, but do try to have fun. You’re at a place with terrifically smart people who sometimes turn out to be not quite as neurotic as you might imagine.

Plus, you’ll want to maximize your fun memories now because it will be a lot harder to make new fun memories once you are hospitalized with liver failure, your paramour leaves you, and even your kids won’t visit you out of resentment from all those years when they were younger and you never saw them because of your constant late nights at the office. When the light starts to fade while you’re sitting at the bottom of the transplant list, you’ll want some good times to look back upon.

Anyway, welcome to Harvard! It’ll be a great three years!


This piece was a part of the 2016 orientation issue. To read more, click here.

Jim An is the editor-in-chief of The Harvard Law Record and a member of the Harvard Law School Class of 2018.

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