Preparing for Law School Orientation

The start of the school year is quickly approaching and for rising 1Ls that means orientation is just around the corner. Orientation can be a scary thought for a lot of students as they don't know what to expect. You may compare it to college or high school orientation and it really is pretty similar. All law schools do orientation a little bit differently, but I am going to share a little bit about how my orientation was and how you can prepare for it. 

When you first arrive at orientation you will likely get a name tag and have a little bit of time to talk and get to know other students. I will be honest, I was a little bit late to my orientation so I pretty much got my name tag and sat down in the auditorium. A lot of my classmates told me that this time before orientation was great for getting to know their classmates, but even more so, the faculty. This is the perfect time to talk with some of the people that may be your professors, career counselors, or leaders of organizations around school. 

Once we were in the auditorium we heard from the dean of students who pretty much introduced us to law school and what we could expect during our first year. We then had a mock class in which students were actually cold-called. Over the summer we were assigned a book to read and this is what some students were cold-called on. Going in, this is something that I was most nervous about - but, the professor asked pretty simple questions so it wasn't anything to stress over.

After the mock class, we saw a presentation on professional responsibility and accountability. It was pretty straightforward and honestly at this point, I was starting to get kind of bored. 

Once the presentations were over, we split up into our sections (the people that we would be in class with all year) and had lunch. This was a great time to get to know who you would be spending every day with and this was how I met some of the friends that I am closest to today. At this point we also met our tutors for each 1L class and got to ask them questions about school, life, and career paths. If I have one piece of advice for orientation - it is to ask questions, especially to upperclassmen. They will be honest with you and give you really great tips to start off the year strong. 

Orientation also gave us the chance to find a locker (yes - we had lockers in law school), get our ID cards, tour the school, meet our career counselors, and get free study aids that our school offered (like Barbri outlines). Your school might also offer information on different societies, clubs, and teams that you can join. Make sure you inquire about these extracurricular activities because this is what will bulk up your resume!

All in all, it is a pretty easy and straightforward day. The staff at your school simply want to get you acclimated for your first day so that you know what to expect.

So, my advice for preparing for orientation?
  • Complete any assigned readings or homework that you may have.
  • Ask as many questions as you can think of. 
  • Reach out to other students and get to know who is in your section/classes. 
  • Get as many free study aids and books that you possibly can. 
  • Get to know your school and take a tour, if possible. 
  • Meet with your professors and career counselors and introduce yourself.
  • Try to enjoy yourself - this is the calm before the storm.