Going to Law School? Exams Are The Key To Your Future
Law school can be a daunting three years of your life. Not only is it a major investment of your money, but also of your time and future. Meaning, if you’re going to do it, make sure you do it right!
What does this mean?
Well, everyone has their reasons for attending law school, the majority of them being to practice law. But regardless of your motivation and the career path you wish to take afterwards, be it in the law or an alternative law-related career, the advice is simple: study study study and get top notch grades.
Grades tell it all. They are the measuring stick by which you will be judged when it comes to life during and after law school. During, because you will be competing for prestigious summer clerkships – judicial or private – that will place you down a strong career path in the law. Then there’s law review, the highly-prestigious note that attorneys and judges crave for in an associate or judicial law clerk. Generally, there are two paths to making law review – you can grade on or compete for a position through a writing contest.
Law schools are divided into tiers, the best ones being tier one schools. The problem is that there are only so many spots in each school, and with so many people competing for law school admission, the majority are not going to find themselves studying at tier one law school. But fear not, it’s not the end of the world.
Remember, it all boils down to grades! This is your gateway to success, no matter what tier your school falls in. Take this analogy for example: Every year, the National Football League holds a draft, in which the top collegiate players are chosen to play professional football. And if you know anything about this, you know that players from top college football programs generally have a greater chance of being drafted simply because of the strong reputation their program carries. Does this mean that a talented player from a relatively unknown, small college has no chance to break the first round? Not at all.
While the reputation and prestige of your school will land you more job interviews, it will be your grades, participation on law review and/or moot court and summer clerkship experience that will land you the job. But it’s the grades that will help you join law review and also help you land the top clerkship opportunities.
That said, you need to understand law school exams. Not only are law school exams nothing like you’ve ever come across, they will, the majority of times, be the sole determiner of your grades. The worst part being that generally most classes will only offer one exam per semester, which will be the final exam. Generally, there will not be midterms, graded assignments or credit for class participation.
Law school exams are for the most part entirely composed of essays. They present long, convoluted hypothetical fact patters full of legal issues. Your job will be to simply spot the issues, state the law and analyze the facts. Many times professors aren’t looking for an exact answer, rather, your analysis in reaching your conclusion based upon the facts and the law. To succeed on law school exams, it will be imperative that you understand the law, but just as important, how to analyze issues and organize an argument.