0L summer: what you should do before you're in law school (from a 2L)

Updated: Nov 12, 2019

before I write this, I feel that I should tell you that I myself am still in law school and still figuring it out. this list is both things I did & liked, and things I should have done but didn't. obviously, you should talk to someone who’s actually been through this all before. obviously, don’t take everything I say at face value, since any lawyer’s favorite answer to anything is: “it depends.” obviously, don’t assume that I am a law school guru (I have survived 1L, about half of 2L, and not always with flying colors. that's it). that being said, here we go with things you should do the summer before law school begins:

  • figure out housing. I have heard a lot of different opinions on what the best option for housing is, but there are deadlines for these things. know those. get your paperwork in early. apartments can generally be pretty easy to find, but you want to get on it sooner rather than later. I lived on campus for 1L and have since moved into a house about 5 minutes from campus for 2L. I loved both. do what works for you.

  • get a summer job. you’re going to want money saved up that can support you during the school year, since most people say that getting a job during 1L (especially first semester) could make or break law school for you. I echo this advice. I worked at least one job at all times from the time I was 15 through my senior year of undergrad, and it is NOT a good idea to have a job during 1L. I'm grateful that I had saved up enough that I didn't have to. but you have to plan for it to make it happen (as a 2L I now have 3 jobs and am busier than I ever really thought a person could be. but that's neither here nor there).

  • put down your seat deposits. again, refer to the deadlines and do NOT mess this one up. if you're waffling between 2-3 schools, I would put down seat deposits for all of them if you need more time to decide, rather than risk losing your spot.

  • find out when your start date is (both orientation & classes) and communicate that to the appropriate parties (parents, friends, significant others, your landlord). move in with plenty of time to get adjusted before school starts.  

  • send your transcripts as soon as they’re available. waiting until the last minute on this is really not a great plan. you may have observed that a theme here is not waiting until the last minute for things (this is a trap I find myself falling into often, including during 0L summer). 

  • read all of the fun books you can possibly get your hands on to get yourself used to reading for, like, 90% of your waking hours. 

  • familiarize yourself with your school’s portal & email system before it becomes paramount that you know how to work with them. It gets to the point where it’s embarrassing to ask. don’t be that person who pays tuition late because you haven't checked your portal.

  • brush up on some law basics, but don’t feel the need to learn the intricacies of the federal judiciary or memorize every torts case ever recorded. you’re going to school to learn; if you were supposed to do it on your own, you wouldn’t be paying so much to have them teach it to you.

  • visit campus once or twice if you can! meet some people, say hi, check out your apartment if you’re able to. figure out where the classrooms are and how they're generally laid out/organized.

  • spend time with family & friends. as much as you can. you’ll probably be falling off the face of the planet in a few weeks so may as well give them something to miss and remind them that you love them while you're still around.

  • establish morning, evening, & fitness routines for yourself. it’ll be so much easier to keep up routines you already have in place than it will be to come up with completely new ones while you’re dealing with so much other new stuff at once.

  • enjoy your last free summer! it’ll go by fast!