What to Do the Summer Before Law School

The summer before law school can be stressful for some students as they try to prepare for the most difficult 3 years of their lives. I often asked what I should be doing before I started in the fall. The short answer? RELAX. The long answer? You should try to do some of the 9 things below the summer before your 1L year.

1. Read an introductory book about the law. 

I read a very short and easy read about the basics of law school and how to successfully brief a case. It helped me start to read cases easily and made me feel prepared when I walked into school the first day. It was not anything super technical but helped me brush up on some of the things that every young law student needs to know. Here are some of my favorites:

Law School Confidential
1L of a Ride
One L
2. Work at a Law Firm

If possible, try to get a job at a law firm. I don't necessarily mean clerking - even being a secretary or assistant will help you prepare for school. I was lucky enough to get a clerking job the summer before law school and I truly believe it helped me a lot in school. It helped me especially with civil procedure which some consider to be the hardest 1L class. I recommend working part time so you can still relax and not overwork yourself before school starts. (Tip: I just emailed the firm I worked at directly seeing if they needed any help during the summer and sent them my resume.)

3. Go on a Vacation

Even if its just a small road trip - go on vacation. You deserve it after all of the hard work you put in to get into law school. Now is the time to take some time for yourself (before you get too busy) and really enjoy being around family and friends. If you can't take a vacation, try doing a staycation with some friends for a weekend or plan a day trip to a fun local gem!

4. Shadow an Attorney

If you don't work in a law firm, I suggest you shadow an attorney - especially if you have a certain type of law in mind. I shadowed an attorney in criminal, personal injury, and real estate law. It helped me to see what these types of lawyers actually do and helped me figure out which type of law I wanted to engage myself more with. (Fun fact: I decided on personal injury)

5. Go Shopping

Make sure you have a nice suit and professional clothing as you will need it for job interviews and oral arguments. You don't need to go too crazy but make sure you have a few staples in your closet that you can wear when you need to. It also doesn't hurt to get some school supplies like folders, highlighters, and a new backpack.

6. First Class Assignments

I hate to say it, but you will most likely have reading due on your first day of class. Start these assignments early because they might take you awhile. Most of the time these assignments are introductory and won't be too hard, but nonetheless there might be a lot. I also had to read a novel over the summer that was discussed at orientation.

7. Spend Time with Family and Friends

You may not see your friends and family as much once you start school because you will be super busy throughout the school year. Make sure you spend time with them and really enjoy this time! It will help you relax and they will all appreciate it.

8. Polish Up Your Resume

Once you are in law school, you will be sending out your resume constantly for scholarships, jobs, executive board positions, and fellowships. It is crucial that your resume is clean, up-to-date, and lists the important aspects of your work and education history that will catch the eye of employers and committees. Spending part of your summer doing this is well worth it.

9. Start a New Show on Netflix

Yep. You read that right. This was one of my favorite ways to relax and take it easy. You should spend your summer before not only preparing but giving yourself a much needed break. Find a good show and watch it during your downtime. Maybe even watch a legal show (How to Get Away with Murder, Law and Order, Suits, etc.) as it will entertain AND prepare you ;).