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An estimated 4-minute read

A non-exhaustive list of things I think you should explore in law school

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As I near the fag end of my law school journey, I wrote down a couple of things I wish I had done during college (basically things I wish some senior in college had told me while I got into law school). This is my good deed in order to save a couple of kids from the guilt and regret.

Intern: To gain some practical skills, try to intern for as long and as widely as you can. Only a handful of people enter law school knowing exactly what they want, a few of them switch it mid way. In any case, internships are a way to help you figure it out where you want to be. Apply at NGOs and lower courts in the beginning, moving higher up if you’re interested.  Try to intern during every break for atleast two months because it gives you time to know the office and get some substantial work. You will gain exposure to new fields in law, possible mentors and a chance to probably live in a different city for a bit. In the chance occurrence of you not liking your work AT ALL (which is very rare in my limited knowledge), you should still put up your best work. Some of the bosses at my previous internships were references later on, so make sure to turn in a work you would be proud of.

If you’re unable to intern due to any reason (or want to do something during the semester), volunteer. Organisations like Robin Hood Army, Child Rights and You (CRY) etc. are flexible with their timings making it easy to incorporate it into your schedule.

Network: Since your daily interactions are pretty limited to your college and your internship place generally, try to expand it by attending MUNs, seminars and lectures. Great connections can lead to great opportunities and since law is a field with absolutely no boundaries, you never know who could be your next best friend, boss or co-founder! Try to be a part of some committee which does work you are interested in: it expands your social group very quickly, puts you in contact with your seniors and professors and may even help shape your career in some way. Participating in moots can also be a fun way to network. Mooting teaches you a variety of skills difficult to gain otherwise: team work, research skills and public speaking abilities along with it being an insane way to travel with friends.

Write: Let the medium be no barrier. Put your thoughts into words and unleash it upon the world through personal blogs, student websites, college articles, essay competitions or law journals. Though the amount of research you need to do will vary, they will all end up teaching you the very basic skill each lawyer needs to have: a good writing style.

Read: It is the easiest way to familiarize yourself with the legal world and jargon. Read biographies, books written by luminaries, news, judgments, websites covering law based news, even John Grisham. Staying up-to-date with current happenings is an extremely underrated skill, but an important one. It helps you keep pace with the volatile world outside, giving you an edge when it comes to new breakthroughs.

Certificate courses: While I realize this might not be possible for everybody to pursue along with their intensive curriculum, those with the luxury should exploit it to the maximum. These courses not only give you an edge during placements and internships, but also help you understand the subject better and in-depth; something that usually a lot of schools don’t offer. It will also help you explore new fields and if you are really interested, pick up a diploma on the same.

Study: Marks may be unimportant, knowledge isn’t. As a student from a university that has had more than its fair share of controversies with respect to marks, this is something I lost track of somewhere along the journey. As I look back now, I think marks are a little underrated in colleges, to be honest. They are one of the defining criteria for your university applications abroad, and might affect a couple of placements too. So having a strong grasp over basic substantive and procedural laws doesn’t hurt.

Seek help: From seniors at college and work, professors, random strangers, heck, even juniors if they’re doing something that you think is pretty cool. Reach out for notes, contacts for internships, research help or even to just go through your work. Just make sure that you don’t waste their time, drop a text or e-mail before calling, keep your questions/work ready and call on time. Everyone here has been through the same run and would most likely help you out when needed.

Additional tips: Buy good pairs of formal clothes because you will end up using them more than a couple of times. Try to take time out to do things you enjoy like painting, dancing, singing or even eating. It helps putting things into perspective.

Please keep in mind that I haven’t put in the usual advice about not comparing yourself to others, not taking things too seriously, staying off social media and even having fun. I am assuming you are only too aware of these.

There is an oft quoted phrase at my college which I’m modifying to fit into context: Law school is like an all you can choose buffet. So pick wisely. Obviously, take all my advice with a pinch of salt.

Happy law schooling, kids!

Tagged in: law school advice
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