What Class is Like on a Typical Day in Law School

As I have said many times before, law school truly is nothing like college. I will be the first to say that I did not participate in class at all in college. I also often would not pay attention, I would never do the reading (nor even buy the textbooks), and somehow I would pass the classes with A's. This is not the case in law school. 

You absolutely have to do every single reading (and take very detailed notes), participate, and actually pay attention in class. It is really important that you are prepared for class in law school because professors remain on a schedule that they often do not divert from. It is really easy to get behind. That is why I thought I would outline what a typical class was like.





My 1L and 2L year I had classes Monday-Thursday. Mondays and Wednesdays I would have class from 10am-4pm and Tuesdays and Thursdays I would typically have one class from 12pm-2pm. This is of course different for every school. In all, I would go to class for 12 hours a week (obviously if you are taking more or less class this will be different). My school also did not have class on Fridays because that is when there would be programs and symposiums that we could go to.

Reviewing last week's material 
Typically, the professor will spend 10-15 minutes going over what you learned last week to refresh your brain and help segway into the next topic. This usually happens right at the beginning of class and is a great time to get yourself organized and ready to discuss the next topic. In other words, this is the time you can actually relax in class without the worry that you will get called on.

Discuss new topic/cases and cold calls begin
After reviewing the material from the previous week, typically a professor will move on to the next reading and this is when the cold calls will begin. I have had professors do cold calls in a few different ways.

 One professor I had went down a class list and would ask you one question and then you were off the hook (this was nice because you could prepare for your cold call and you got off the hook pretty easily). Another professor I had would call on students completely randomly and continue to ask them questions for the entire topic (sometimes 45 minutes to an hour). This was obviously a bit more scary, but it ended up working out in the end because I would come to class completely prepared every time.

 In all, it truly just depends on the professor that you have. This is typically what will go on for most of class time as well as the professor jumping in to explain things in more detail or go over a powerpoint slide. 


Take a break
This all depends on how long your classes are, but typically you will have a break halfway through the class.

 My classes were each 2 hours long so after an hour in class we would take a 10 minute break. This was a game-changer because we were able to eat snacks, go to the bathroom, and really recharge before we had to go into more material. It was also a time that you could talk to your friends and get your mind off law school for even the shortest amount of time. Believe me, you will want to take advantage of the break. 

Wrap up and discuss next week's assignments and topics
Finally, the professor will usually wrap up the lesson and mention the few main points from this week's lecture. He or She will then assign readings/assignments (or remind you of what was already assigned) and quickly introduce you to the next topic. Then, class is over and you are free to go.

Questions and concerns after class
All of the professors that I had would stick around after class to answer different questions from students who needed more clarification. This is a really great way to settle any confusion with the lesson without having to go to office hours. It won't be a long, detailed meaning but if you have a quick question this is a great time to get it answered. 


Office hours with tutors
Immediately following, your tutors for the class will often hold office hours in which they review the material that you just went over. Going to office hours is truly what separates A and B students.

 The tutors typically know what will be on the test and what your professor is looking for, therefore they cater their office hours to these important topic while also answering any questions that you may have.

 Like I said, this is a really great time to review and settle any confusion. I highly recommend going to as many as possible - it typically only lasts an hour or less. 

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