School’s Out for Summer
In the words of Chicago, “everybody needs a little time away.” Even us. And that’s why here at TeachLawBetter.com, we’re huge supporters of summer break! So we hope that wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, you’re getting some well deserved rest and relaxation! In other words, have an amazing summer! We’ll see you when we return this fall.
The TeachLawBetter Team (more…)
Getting Them at Hello: Creative Teaching Techniques and Exercises to Engage New Law Students
The first few weeks of law school can be both thrilling and terrifying—an avalanche of reading, Latin lawyer lingo, and exacting methodology for thinking and writing about the law. This world of intellectual challenges takes place in an unfamiliar setting. Not only are students meeting new people and getting accustomed to a rigorous academic schedule, but many have also left behind the comforts of home, relocating to a new city, state, or even country to embark on the study of law. Forging into the unknown is fraught with great possibility and a bit of trepidation.
Because they are on the frontline of teaching first-year law students fundamental lawyering skills, Legal Writing professors can work to capture students’ imaginations and demystify the law school experience. Legal Writing is likely to be the course with the lowest professor to student ratio in the first year of law school and typically continues for two semesters. Teaching small groups of first-year students for a full year, Legal Writing professors are uniquely well positioned to ease students’ transition. (more…)
Maintaining Humble Confidence in Law School
By: Brandon LaRose (WFU Law ’20) with contributions by Professor Abigail Perdue
If I could give one piece of advice to the person I was on the first day of law school, it would be to remain humble and be confident. One’s mental state plays a heavy role in ensuring a positive law school experience. Confidence anchors this idea of mental wellness, the importance of which is emphasized from day one. There is a fine line, however, between confidence and cockiness. (more…)
A Letter to my 1L Self
By: Thayse M. Almeida Wall (WFU Law ’20) with contributions by Professor Abigail Perdue
If I could give one piece of advice to the person I was on the first day of law school, it would be to keep in mind how lucky you are. For me, the law school application process started with the infamous LSAT. You might think this test is no big deal, but as a native Brazilian, I only started learning English during college. So I could barely understand the questions when I first read an LSAT exam let alone answer them correctly. But after a year of studying reading comprehension, logical reasoning, logic games, and taking too many practice exams to count, I finally got a score that would allow me to apply for a “well-ranked” law school. (more…)
A Letter to my 1L Self
By: Kylie Hamilton (WFU Law ’20)
If I could give one piece of advice to the person I was on the first day of law school, it would be to ask more questions. Ask more questions to my classmates, both in my class and the classes above me; to my professors, and not just the ones on my schedule; and to the staff who help make Wake Law what it is—a real community. (more…)
Everyone Cried, But It Was All Okay: Part Five of a Student-Authored Series
By: Megan Grier (WFU Law ’20)
If I had to sum up my 1L year in 750 words or less, it would go a little something like this…Undoubtedly, being a 1L is very different from being a freshman undergraduate student, but there are many similarities. In both cases, everyone gets to campus feeling scared. And anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying or inhuman. You’re (probably) in a new place where you (probably) don’t know many people. And just like freshman year, you show up to that first class bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with your shiny new notebooks and fresh highlighters, only to feel like you’re drowning within 10 minutes of listening to the professor. And then, you get cold-called for the first time. If you’re lucky, you nail it and your 1L year is off to a great start. If you’re not so lucky, like me, you get it wrong and call your mom after class, crying about how you’re never going to succeed here. But eventually, you muddle through the school year and your exam grades aren’t that bad. So, after an entire winter break spent figuring out if you’re going to stick it out for another two and a half years, or drop out and work in retail for the rest of your life, you decide you kind of like making enough money to live on, and your English degree will probably get you nowhere, so you might as well go back and give it another go. And then, you hit the ground running and just. Keep. Going.
Law Student By Day, Daddy By Night: The Balancing Act of Being a Parent in Law School – Part Four of a Student-Authored Series
By: Noah Hock (WFU Law ’20)
One of the most important lessons I learned over the first year of law school was that to succeed in law school, a student must find a healthy balance between his personal and academic life. One valuable way to achieve this balance is to find something unrelated to schoolwork that is more important to you than professional success. Before returning to school, I worked full-time as an academic administrator and held down performance contracts with three part-time symphonies. As such, my time commitment did not change appreciably as a student, in spite of the colossal amount of work required. What did change was the level of stress I experienced.
Finding Purpose in Every Day: Part Three of a Student-Authored Series
By: Cassidy Webb (WFU Law ’20)
When I decided to attend law school, I never expected to find purpose in every single day. I knew with confidence that there was great purpose in my long-term goal: to provide valuable legal services to those who otherwise could not have access to it. But I never anticipated loving (or at least tolerating) reading the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, feeling such pride when editing my brief for the twentieth time, or forming close relationships with classmates from incredibly different backgrounds than my own. Yet every time I learned a different duty of care in Torts or finally “perfected” my Contracts outline, I was reminded how much I love this experience. Even during the most mundane parts of law school, I have constantly been encouraged to persevere.
Three main aspects of my 1L experience have cultivated my continual feeling of purpose: the passion of my classmates, the inspiration of guest speakers, and my repeated exposure to pro bono service. (more…)
Channeling My Inner Elle Woods: Part Two in a Student-Authored Series
By: Shameka Rolla (WFU Law ’20)
“You must always have faith in people. And more importantly, you must always have faith in yourself.”– Elle Woods
If I could give one piece of advice to the person I was on the first day of law school, it would be to listen to my inner Elle Woods and always have faith in myself. On a Wednesday afternoon in early August, I received an email stating that I had been accepted to Wake Forest University School of Law. Classes started in two days. I was overwhelmed by self-doubt. Was I prepared for law school if I got off the waitlist two days before classes started? Was I good enough? Would I do well? Ultimately, after some hard nudges from my parents, and despite my self-doubt, I decided to go to law school. (more…)
Reflections on 1L Year: Part One in a Student-Authored Series
By: Drew Winslett (WFU Law ’20) with a brief introduction by Professor Abigail Perdue
I’m a strong believer in the popular saying, “Don’t ever look back except to see how far you’ve come.” That’s why at the conclusion of each semester, I invite my Legal Writing students to complete a reflection, considering which academic strategies worked well and which did not.
This year, I did things differently. During our final Legal Writing class, I provided students with ten different prompts from which to choose. Each prompt invited a different kind of focused reflection. One asked students to discuss their favorite exercise, while another asked them to consider five things they would have done differently this year if given the opportunity. Students had the remainder of our 1.5 hour session to reflect, write, and revise. I invited the authors of the most insightful pieces to publish them here in a student-authored series. So without further adieu . . .
If I could give one piece of advice to the person I was on the first day of law school, it would be to know that you deserve your spot in law school. The first day of law school was more stressful to me than my first cold-call or my first final exam. This was the day that I realized law school was more than just an answer to “what are you doing after graduation?” Law school had officially begun, and all the horrors and bad experiences that I had heard from others came flooding into my mind. More than anything, the burning questions that had always been in the back of my mind suddenly came to the forefront – “Do I belong here? Can I handle the pressure and the high stakes of law school? Will I succeed?” (more…)