Scheduling in Law School

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Register — To enroll formally as a student.”
-Oxford’s English Dictionary



I am the type of person who plans everything out far ahead of time.  Like make a plan of your entire law school courseload before you even start law school.  Yes, I actually am that organized.  But I recently just registered for my last year of law school (seriously, how is that already around the corner??).  But, I thought I would share what classes I think are a good idea to take in your three years, and my opinions on the classes.

Bar Related Courses

When it comes to law school, one of the things people always talk about is the bar.  It is a very daunting event that looms over your head as soon as you go to law school.  However, most of the material that appears on the bar is taught in law school classes, and the best part is most of them are graduation requirements at most schools.  The following are the typical topics covered in most if not all of the states’ bar exams:

·         1L Classes and Constitutional Law
·         Corporations/Partnerships/Agency
·         Evidence
·         Wills, Trusts, and Estates
·         Criminal Procedure
·         Conflict of Laws
·         Federal Income Tax
·         Family Law

Finally, one very important class that your school probably requires is Professional Responsibility.  This class focuses on the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which is the main focus of the MPRE.  The material also appears on state’s bar exams as well.  Even more important than these tests, this class lays out the boundaries of how to act as an ethical lawyer in your actual career, which makes it more important than pretty much any other class in all of law school.

Practice Area Specific

Probably as important as the bar courses are your elective courses related to your intended practice area.  If you’re not sure what you want to do, elective courses are a great opportunity to discover what areas of law interest you.  Even though the bar is a big deal, having a good base knowledge in a certain area makes it easier for you when you get to practice and you already know the basics of that particular area.  My school has a suggested course list for every different practice area, and when I made a list of what I wanted to take, I looked to this list and made a list of interesting classes.

Practical Learning Courses

One of the most important skills an attorney can have is the ability to communicate effectively in writing and in their speech.  Practical writing and communication classes help to develop these skills while applying the information you learn in substantive classes.  If you want to become a litigator, courses that help you develop trial skills are definitely for you.  These classes focus on the art of opening statements, depositions, and examining witnesses on the stand.  If transactional law is your thing, classes that focus on negotiating, contract drafting, business planning, etc. 

Internships

One of the easiest ways to learn what really practicing law is like is to intern with a law office/DA’s office/PD’s office/company/etc.  It gives you an opportunity to put your legal writing and research skills to good use in real life.  Also, from experience, I can say you can actually learn substantive law while honing your skills.  For example, from my internship last summer, I learned a lot about the rules of Evidence from observing court hearings and trials.  Now that I’m in Evidence, learning how to apply the rules in an academic setting is easier since I have seen the rules in action and how a judge rules on objections.

Registration is always a stressful time, trying to pick out what classes are best, but I wish you luck and hopefully you will get in all of the classes you want!

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