Matt's Blog

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Matthew just started law school. Find out how he survives his first year.

Matt's College Blog

Settling In
Sept. 26, 2006

For first-year students (commonly known in law schools as "1Ls") at my school, the entire year's curriculum is set. On the first day, we were handed our schedules, which cover all the basics -- criminal law, contracts, torts (think lawsuits), the constitution and more.

Law touches almost every aspect of our society in some way, so our courses are broad enough for everyone to find something they're interested in.

While the material is interesting, the work is already starting to pile up. For each class, there are pages upon pages of dense reading to do, probably between 50 and 100 pages per day. And we're still in the early stages -- I expect it will get heavier as the year goes on.

We've also handed in our first assignment, with another due very soon. These aren't too bad -- just case briefs, summaries of legal cases in our textbooks. And while we have to finish them, they aren't too important because of the way our marks are determined. In almost every case, our final exams, next April, are worth 100 percent of our courses. While we're not under much pressure yet, we certainly will be by then!

That's why it's so important to keep up to date with all those readings. We need to be prepared for each class, when the professors expand on the ideas in our books. Already, it's obvious that if we fall behind, it will be almost impossible to catch up!

The First Week
Sept. 13, 2006

Welcome to law school! That has certainly been the message of the first week. While we were all eager to begin, our legal education was put on hold for just a few days longer, replaced by orientation and social events.

As I have told anyone who would ask, so far, law school is all about speeches and barbecues.

We had speeches from lawyers, judges, professors and even prominent politicians. They all had their own words of wisdom to add, and all were quick to tell us how lucky we are to be starting a career in law.

The days have been packed with activity, from clubs fairs encouraging us to get involved in dozens of social groups, to information sessions presenting us with a wide variety of law-related volunteer opportunities. Everywhere I look, there's another great extra-curricular activity I'd love to try -- time management is definitely going to be key to success.

The first week wasn't entirely fun and games. We did spend a few sessions discussing a Supreme Court decision from earlier this year -- kind of an introduction to studying law, with no pressure.

Also important, we met our professors, who quickly shattered any illusions that law school would continue to be all fun and no work. We had a couple hundred pages of assigned reading before we'd even been to a class! The work load is definitely going to be heavy, but for now, I just can't wait to get started!