Written by Jennifer Tran, third year student at Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law

New law students often wonder if it’s possible to survive this thing called the 1L year of law school. Be assured, most will survive. As a current 3L student at Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law, I realize now that the following advice would have gone a long way during my own first year. Here are my top 10 tips for new 1L students:

  1. Do NOT procrastinate! Utilize an effective time management system. Keep every aspect of your life thoroughly organized. (I suggest both a paper and electronic calendar.)
  2. “Find a physical outlet to channel your stress, because there will be a lot of it.” – Joshua Strand (JD ’16)
  3. When taking notes in class, pay attention to what the professor says. Think big picture, and place the material in the larger context of the class.
  4. Do not rely on supplements. They are there to reinforce black letter law, but it will not provide the specific details your professors expect come discussion and exam time.
  5. Don’t use social medial, aka Facebook or Pinterest, during class. I know it is hard and tempting, but you will thank me later.
  6. Study groups can be a good tool or a big distraction, so choose well.  If all group members come in with an understanding of the material, it will be AMAZING!
  7. Take advantage of all the resources this law school provides. You should visit Professor Richard Faulkner for practice test materials, or take advantage of your Academic Fellows and the law school librarian for tips on legal research. And don’t be afraid to ask professor or others for help.
  8. You may feel like a tribute in The Hunger Games when you experience the constant grade comparisons, but remember: everyone does things in their own way. Instead of getting caught up in the chaos, do whatever is right for you.
  9. Remember watching out for the dreaded Freshman 15 during your first year of undergrad? Well the same applies to law school; do not let yourself get a 1L lump. Respect your body; it is your temple, so put good things in it.
  10. Last but not least, take a deep breath and work on OUTLINES throughout the semester. Don’t wait until Thanksgiving to tackle four outlines, because you need that time to review and take as many practice exams as possible. Be sure also to spend some time with your family!

If you have any other concerns, feel free to come see me at the front desk in the library. Good luck!

Originally published in
The Chapman Law Courier

Jennifer Tran is in her third year at Chapman University Fowler School of Law. She is expected to graduate in the spring of 2015. She comes to Fowler School of Law from San Jose State University and is from California.