So, the deed is done. You have finally chosen law as a career, made your parents proud, and landed yourself in a Law School. Currently, you must be brimming with adrenaline, motivation, and all the synonymous things. You have promised yourself to do the necessary smart and hard work to become the best lawyer you could possibly be. But now the time has come to actually get started with the daunting academics. You feel clueless about how, to begin with, this mystified 5-year Course. Law is one of the most intensive courses with its horizons extended to every field that one can possibly think of. It is an unceasing depository of knowledge waiting to be learned, mastered, and utilized. Therefore, it may seem quite frightening and impossible to comprehend how to go about in this situation. This would be an apt time to enter the picture with all the required arms that I have come to realize, as a student entering the second semester, to be highly valuable in Law School. Hence, the following are the 13 crucial tools to use that a Law Student should make sure of:
“You must keep your mind on the objective, not on the obstacle.”
By: William Randolph Hearst
1. The correct mindset
Our Brain is a significant tool that should be utilized as a tool. The correct mindset for Law School is to be ready to put in the effort, have confidence, believing in oneself, and staying alert about the surrounding supply of various information from several sources. One should be interested in the subjects and ready to accept failure. The competition is with ourselves rather than with others, analyze your own mistakes and learn from them.
2. Communication Skills
Making connections is an integral part of Law School. Connections with classmates, students from different universities, teachers, seniors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, advocates, reputed institutions, law firms and anything or anyone related to or have some knowledge in this field. Nobody knows when they will land us great opportunities and life-long friends.
Yes, I know you have heard this a thousand times before but that is for a reason. It is impractical to think that you can wake up one day and finish off the whole course, or at least a major part of it. Law needs understanding, questioning and analyzing; a time-consuming process which should not be compromised.
4. The enthusiasm for reading
Reading is one of the most (or some will argue the most) pivotal segment of studying law that needs thorough dedication, devotion, and time. Libraries should be your second home and your brain the kitchen, fishing out information from various sources to cook the ultimate notes.
5. Organizational Skills
Law means numerous materials, numerous subjects, and numerous sources, something that can be messed up very easily. The schedule will be tight and filled with various activities, some exciting some boring. Now the task is to fit everything in 24 hours while making sure to relax and rejuvenate the brain. You will finally get the hang of it eventually after many failed attempts (a little too many sometimes). Hence, a to-do list will come at your rescue. Make sure to note down each task you have to undertake in the whole day. (Read: A Guide For Law Students To Stay Productive During The Lockdown)
Are you ready to be chewed out by a particularly unimpressed Judge in front of everyone in the Moot Court Competition that you prepared for months? Are you willing to do it all over again despite the embarrassment? Well, sometimes you just have to. Patience is a key helper to this process, which makes it a key tool of maintaining consistency and not give up. (Read: How To Ace An Online Moot Court Competition)
7. Getting over FOMO
You read that perfectly right. I am referring to the popular slang “Fear of Missing Out” which social media seems to be obsessed with. Now courtesy to every other over-the-top Instagram posts, people have genuinely started believing their life is bland and boring (just like the food in Kitchen Nightmares). But as law students, you can argue that we barely get the time to sleep, let alone have time to do fun stuff. But maybe we need to change our perspective and shift our beliefs on what is actually worth missing out. As law students, we will encounter some rather unique and fascinating experiences which will ingrain themselves into our minds permanently. So maybe we will not get to a party or go on trips as much as we would have liked, but getting everything would be mundane in itself.
8. A reliable computer with a stable internet connection
Now will be a good time to shift our track from psychological preparations to substantial ones. A computer, preferably a laptop (portability is key) is the need of the hour. Especially taking into account the pandemic situation, most of the classes, competitions, research work, and everything in between will be done virtually. And also, a computer without internet is as good as a wet matchstick. So make sure to invest in a trustworthy laptop with net connection before beginning law school.
9. SCC Online and its siblings
Researching is an inescapable part of law school no matter how much you hate it. If you love it then congratulations, it is one of the best aspects of studying law. SCC Online, Manupatra, Casemine, Indiankanoon and similar portals have distinct features designed to be handled in their own way. So, make sure to get help from seniors, teachers, webinars, articles or anything you can get your hands on and learn to properly utilize these gems beforehand.
10. Office 365
This is a subscription-based service offered by Microsoft for accessing its tools. These tools are MS Word, MS Excel, MS PowerPoint, MS OneDrive and another five. Many a time, the University offers a free subscription, but if that is not the case, it will be a good investment. It will assist day-to-day needs of making presentations, doing assignments, drafting legal documents, maintaining notes and more.
11. A planner
It goes without saying how crucial a planner is (be it Google Calendar or Bullet Journal) for any profession that demands both time and high efficiency. This could be viewed as an extension of the previous point made about organizational skills. So do not get intimidated and get started with it.
12. Social Media
What? Studying and Social Media? Even though our parents have hammered in our minds that Social Media will ruin our studies if rightly used it can accelerate and ease the process. This point again is related to an aforementioned assertion of making valuable connections. Sites like LinkedIn are of utmost importance and should be utilized smartly.
13. Anti-Glare Glasses
A little taken aback? Understandable. Even though there is a lot of contention surrounding their utility, we can still take that extra measure and try them out for precaution. The screen-time of a typical law student especially in this age of lockdown is off the charts. So, a little investment should be worth it in the end.
At this point, I think I have exhausted most of my knowledge regarding the right equipment required to face Law School. I wish everyone all the best with their journey, even if they decide to stray from the law in the future and discover something else more suited for them.
About the Author: Madhuja Chatterjee, a 1st year Student from the School of Law, CHRIST (Deemed to be University), Bangalore. She has always been young at heart, curious and eager to explore the fascinating subject of Content Writing.