The article, “First Year of Law School” authored by Vidhi Birmecha, a second year law student from Amity University, Kolkata has 5 most important suggestions for every first year law student. And all this she is sharing comes from her own experience; if you get a grasp now, you will learn in a much better and productive way.
Be Active in Class
Yes, being active in class takes you far ahead than you even think. I cannot begin to emphasize how important this is. We have heard this from our childhood to be “ACTIVE” in class, but do we implement it. No! But make sure, you do this from the very 1st day of your law school.
It does not only help you in being focused, productive rather it has an added advantage – you network! Professors, classmates, seniors get to know you and what you are capable of. It is not always about giving the correct answer, sometimes, you get points for just trying.
Trust me, at the beginning of my law school, I did not emphasize much and missed some opportunities that I could have grabbed at the first go. Make sure you are punctual to every class, taking down notes and asking questions/volunteering, or simply replying to all your professors’ questions.
Don’t Just Collect Certificates, Learn Skills
Being from a non-NLU adds more pressure of missing out but that doesn’t mean, you’ll pursue internships or courses just to collect certificates and fill up the CV. At the end of the day, it really matters the skills you learned and how you can use them to the best of your capabilities.
So, my focus from the very beginning was to gain skills but yes, I did not stop doing internships which in turn has now helped me understand what fits well and what I want. So don’t be afraid to experiment. Your journey will be different from others.
Choose what’s best for you.
Quality over Quantity
As mentioned above, focus on learning skills but with that also understand from where you are learning. Filling the CV with courses/internships etc. won’t help you or won’t influence the recruiter to select you.
Your internships might be more but the quality of the same was low which in turn makes your learning mediocre or below average. Focus on quality.
It doesn’t matter if you interned at only two places for the year but if it was of utmost quality, it will help you. It doesn’t matter if you were able to write one research paper and get it published in UGC recognized journal rather than getting 10 articles published in lesser reputed journals.
Any day focus on quality. If you work/learn from the best minds, you will automatically become the best. Now the question would arise, “How will I get the opportunity to even intern with the best?”- LEARN SKILLS.
To become a decent advocate, there are three skills which matter – Researching, Drafting and Pleading. The fact is these skills come with practice. You won’t become good at this in one night, it’s a constant practice. Keep learning.
Academics > Internships
When you’ll enter law school, you will notice there would be many who have started interning. They are doing internship work sometimes when class is going on. NEVER DO THIS.
Internships are necessary but only to understand the practical application of the theory. If you don’t focus on theory when it is taught in class, you will never be able to land good quality internships nor will you be able to deliver good work.
Academics matter the most. The marks you score in your semester will matter the most. Consider, you are the recruiter. In the CV, you mentioned, you have done 10 internships in a year, but the semester result is not good. The impression you leave is more devastating.
Internships are secondary. So focus and be active in class.
Network in First Year of Law School
Lastly, what I have learned throughout my 1st year is to NETWORK! Networking gives you opportunities which at the end of the day we all are looking for. While networking, don’t be intimidating. Take things slowly, ask genuine yet good questions, be patient and you will gain good results.
For me, LinkedIn changed my journey till now so much. I have got to talk to some good mentors, understood what I was doing wrong and rectified it.
“Your Network is your Net worth.”
In the end, what matters most is to believe in yourself and your journey. You might make a lot of mistakes which I think you are supposed to but then learn from them and never repeat them.