The journey of a law degree is considered arduous by many, as it is more than just an educational goal but a transformative path that shapes your mind and the way you think. Therefore, understanding the legal complexities requires commitment, hard work, and zeal.
Moreover, a law school differs from an undergrad school, focusing on developing and exercising your critical thinking skills rather than mere memorization.
So, if you are an undergrad student considering pursuing a law degree, you might want to grab a snack and read this article thoroughly. You need to know about the multifaceted nature of law school, what makes it difficult for some people, and what opportunities are awaiting you.
Similarly, it is better to learn about all these complexities beforehand to avoid going into the wrong field and be prepared and equipped.
How Hard is Law School?
If you are confused about joining the law school, do not stress about it because almost every student will be as nervous and confused as you are. Now, let’s answer the question: is law school and law degree hard? Yes, it can be difficult, arduous, and tiring for most students.
Many students have agreed on 1L or the first year of law school as the hardest year. This is because of the unique methods of teaching implemented in law schools. Moreover, they do not use traditional classroom teaching methods and, therefore, do not rely on lecture methods completely.
You might think, what is so peculiar about law school that it is depicted as harder than other schools? To begin with, it does not allow conventional learning methods, and students find this not-so-subtle transition difficult. So, let’s look into what are some of the aspects that are different in law school.
No More Cramming
To deal with legal complexities, you can’t rely on rote memorization and cramming solely. You need to develop your critical thinking skills and learn to question everything, which is possible only if you give proper time and focus to your syllabus. Moreover, you need to decipher everything in your course and understand it on a deeper level so that you can implement the knowledge in real life.
Active Class Participation
We all have skimmed readings before exams at least once in our lives, but let me tell you, you must thoroughly read and understand your curriculum. Otherwise, you will not be able to participate in class, and you cannot be a good law student if you want to remain unnoticed at the corner of your class.
Active class Participation is one of the requirements that cannot be compromised because the whole point of the degree is to be able to discuss, talk, and implement.
Additionally, case-based teaching is a common method in law class, and it requires students to dig into prior cases and readings and find out the answers to questions to solve cases. Therefore, make up your mind and train yourself to be as actively involved in classroom discussions as possible.
One thing is for sure: your workload will be heavier than the undergraduate studies, where students can take some time off and study during the exams seasons. However, in law school, you need commitment and daily study sessions.
Being consistent will get you through law school because you must study at least 7 hours a week for each subject. Usually, there are five classes, which makes your average weekly study hours around 35 hours. Moreover, you can dissect it this way as well: calculate the class hours of each class, then try to study for at least twice the total class time.
Additionally, it is not very easy to pass law school if you are not ready to be consistent. Moreover, you must do at least 30-40 pages of reading for one class every week. So, if you are not a reader and do not like reading, law school might not work out for you.
The reading helps the students develop the court language by learning all the jargon. Moreover, the reading is equally difficult to understand and extremely tedious because you will get a lot of it.
Is a Law Degree Hard, Too?
It is established now how hard law school is and what are some of the differences between law studies and undergrad studies. It is time to dissect the various learning strategies involved in law schooling. Furthermore, these strategies make it exciting and challenging at the same time.
The Case-Based Study
One of the best ways to learn law is through case methods. This method focuses on the actual cases and takes the classroom as a court to assist students in engaging with prior cases and court opinions. Moreover, this means the focus shifts from lectures to discussions because the lecture method does not promote critical thinking skills.
The laws you learn during your reading and learning sessions will be implemented here in the cases. Moreover, your ability to apply laws and use them as references to defend the case will be graded during the final exams.
Furthermore, through this technique, the teachers encourage students to participate in the discussion and grasp how to do reasoning in the courtroom to sort out verdicts. Similarly, the case method will also help the students professionally. So, if you hate taking part in discussions, you might want to reconsider your career choices.
The Socratic Method in Law School
The Socratic method is another unique law school method practiced by teachers. It involves students summarizing a specific case in front of a teacher and the class, and then the teacher follows it with a grilling of questions. Moreover, this can be exhausting and tedious as you are subjected to intense and probing questions.
This forces students to engage in a dialogue that motivates them to not only read the content of their case but to understand it. Moreover, it enables them to form opinions and defend their point of view with reasoning.
This can make any student anxious, but the best way to deal with it is to understand the fact that it is not to intimidate you but to teach you.
Pressure, Competition, and the Grading Curve
Law school is only for consistent and hardworking students. The students have gone through studying for undergrad exams and then the LSAT exams; this means your peers also have the same goal as you. So, you will surely be under a lot of pressure to do better than others.
The competition will almost always be high because everyone wants to land high-ranking jobs and internships at prestigious clubs and societies. This means name recognition is important, which can only be earned if you are a sharp and witty student with good grades. Moreover, the curving grade also promotes competition, and if you want to stand out among your peers, you need to avoid the mean on the curve.
If you are an average student, your grades will be placed in the mean, which will make you unrecognizable among other students. Therefore, students with low grades struggle with getting a job and name recognition.
Additionally, grade curving is your biggest motivator and enemy at the same time because it pushes you constantly to do better than others. Similarly, this will put you in the average category even if you technically get an A and the rest of the class also gets the same grade. Therefore, your individual performance will not determine your grade, but your ability to answer better than others will.
One Test Shapes Overall Grade Assessment
Usually, there are solo tests that make up for an entire grade or a majority of it. This can be nerve-racking because of the amount of course you need to cover for a single test and the little to no room for mistakes. Moreover, you cannot miss anything because one exam determines your whole grade.
Unlike a system that divides the curriculum into parts to distribute the stress and give more chances to make up for a poor grade, law school exams can be scary. This is because once your grade is put on a low or mean curve, you will be stuck with it. So, while preparing for the LSAT, you need to remember that you will be preparing for multiple of these exams in one semester.
Another terror for those who fear public speaking is getting cold-called. The professor can randomly put you on a hot seat and ask questions. So, you need to prepare yourself for classes and always keep up with the class reading to be able to respond to the cold calling.
Do not Miss Any Learning Opportunities
If you want a law degree with shining stars, you should never be shy about asking questions and making yourself clear on everything. Getting feedback from the professors is hard, so you might want to ask them and take time from them. Moreover, take any feedback given to you as constructive and work on it to improve yourself.
Additionally, do not skip and skim readings. Otherwise, you will be clueless during the class and end up trying to catch up on one thing while leaving another.
How to Prepare for the Law School in Advance?
Every exam and year’s grades matter in law school, so if you do not want to compromise on your grades in the initial adjustment period, it is better to start prepping for law school in advance. Moreover, it will give you an advantage over your fellow students.
Take Prep Courses
There is a lot of content available on the internet that can help you prepare for law school, specifically first-year classes. Similarly, you can learn about the Case Method and the Socratic Method by watching videos and reading books related to your course. Moreover, understanding the basics will help in adjusting to the new school.
Do Light Research on your Classes and Professors
If you can, research your classes and professors. It is better to understand the basic curriculum you will be studying as it will allow you to engage with your professors from the first day of the first year. Moreover, you can check out your college’s website and try to understand how and what to prepare for the classes.
Make a Plan to Achieve Your Goal
Now you know that you will be required to study for at least 3 to 4 hours on a daily basis. So, figure out your daily schedule, and make a thorough plan on how to achieve your goal of passing law school with good grades. Likewise, think about what times suit you for studying, what hurdles you will face during your study hours, and how you will fix them.
Similarly, for reading, learn different techniques for speed reading and look up practices that would help you process a lot of information at a time.
What is the hardest thing about law school?
The hardest part of law school is its competitive environment created by the grade curve. It forces students to perform better than their peers to get good grades.
How long is a US law degree?
Full-time law students can take three years to complete their law degree. However, a part-time student may take up to five years.
In brief, law school can be harder due to the heavy workload, academic pressure, and unique teaching methods. However, if you are committed and truly want to embark on your path to law school, nothing can stop you, and with consistency, hard work, and commitment, you can pass it and make a name for yourself right from the beginning.
Moreover, it is advised to take prep courses for first-year classes if you can to learn about various strategies and the curriculum.
Additionally, after taking your Juris Doctorate (J.D.), you will have to appear for the bar exam to practice law, so if you work hard from the start, you will have a higher chance of passing it on the first try. Therefore, please read this article completely and consider the complexities of a law degree before choosing it as your career.