Life in law school

If you’re planning to attend law school, you need to plan your studies at Touro so you can excel during your first year, which for many students is the most important year. This is because those who do well their first year in law school are most likely to win positions on law reviews or moot court, as well as most likely to receive paying clerkships after their second year. Faculty members prefer to hire law review members for research jobs, and judges usually prefer them for post-graduate clerkships.

Not only is the first year the most important, it is also the most difficult. Even if you have read cases before, it is unlikely that you are used to the unrelenting pace of “all cases, all the time.” Most law schools have a standardized curriculum the first year, and students take most or all of their courses with a cohort of 60-120 students. The workload is far more demanding than college classes, although there are relatively few assignments along the way except for legal writing.  Many law school classes still base your entire grade on one long exam at the end of the semester, with a minimal adjustment for class participation.

Law students usually look for practical legal experience beginning with the summer after their first year in law school. The majority of students find internships with firms, government agencies, not-for-profit organizations and judges, although most of these are unpaid. Beginning in the second year, students can work for legal clinics sponsored by their law schools, or intern with outside agencies. These provide important practical legal experience that may make the difference in hiring decisions for post-law school employment.

The second summer of law school is very important for students who want to work in law firms. Many private firms, and some other employers, base their full-time hiring decisions on the work interns complete during the summer. In the best-case scenario, a third year student returns to school with an offer of full-time employment after graduation. However, most students need to continue job search efforts during their third year and even after graduation.

The final hurdle is the bar exam, which is usually given the last week of July. Most states require one day of testing on specific state law, in addition to one day of multistate law. This means it is usually possible to take the bar exam for two states. Students who pass the bar exam usually receive notification in the fall. They must complete additional forms and a character review before being officially sworn in, which usually takes place in the year after they graduate from law school.