February 12, 2017

A Law Student's Study Schedule

As a law student, I spend 7 hours every day either in class or reading for class... | brazenandbrunette.com

To be honest with y'all, last semester was probably the easiest semester I'll ever have in law school. For two of my classes there was practically no reading. If you're a 1L, you'll know how amazing and rare that is. And for the other two classes, the reading was very light and only took about an hour and a half each day. In case you don't know, that's way below normal. On top of that, I didn't even have Friday classes at all. It was so easy I kinda regret not saving it until my last semester, but I was grateful to have this as an easy transition semester into my new school.

This semester is completely different. I realize that the "work you to death" of the saying is referring to more extra circulars than classwork. I know a girl who is on a journal and in a clinic. And another girl who participated in a national competition for the Board of Barristers and also is on a journal. How they do it, I have no clue but I feel bad for their sleep schedule/social life. But my semester is still kicking my butt. I'm taking two procedure classes and just like Civ Pro all class consists of is rules, rules, rules. And I have two other classes that are really rule heavy. Only one of my classes is just a normal, read the case and find what you should know. In case you're keeping track, yep that's 16 hours that I'm taking.

So all of this has made me into a more responsible person. I am now one of those people who gets to the library at 9 am and reads before class, then spends her lunch break in the library eatings and reading before my next class, and then staying after my last class to do a little more reading. For the past year and a half I just couldn't stay at school and focus on studying for so long at once and instead would go to class, come home and have a break from the law, and then would study before going to bed. But now as a 2L, professors expect me to cover a lot more readings each night. One of my Tuesday/Thursday classes goes through a chapter a class! On top of that, all of my classes but one require me to have a statute book and a case book so this semester I'm lugging around 9 books!


snapchats of a law student | brazenandbrunette.com

snapchats of a law student | brazenandbrunette.com


New semester, new study habits

I realized that I had too much reading to use my old study schedule so I switched it up to fit this semester and I'm very happy. Here's why I'm glad that I switched from class-relax-study to study-class-relax. First off I've noticed that once I just accept the fact that I'm a nerdy try hard and embrace the library, I get a lot more done because my motivation is higher when I just keep studying rather than allow myself to slack and then try to find motivation again. Also I can enjoy my chill time a lot more when I know that I'm not about to have to start reading again. I also sleep better now because instead of procrastinating and staying up late reading, as soon as it hits my bed time it's lights out. For sure tho the best part is just being done in the afternoons and not having to think about school for the rest of the day!

Since this is an update, I decided to show y'all what my typical day is now because it's changed a lot since I was a 1L. Specifically, because I get to the library early and read during my breaks, once I leave the school I'm usually done with studying for the day and have the rest of my evenings to myself. If you're curious how my daily schedule was when I was doing a class-relax-study schedule, here's my previous post A Day in the Life of a Law Student. And since I haven't posted a "snapchat of a law student" in a while, journey with me through this Wednesday and see what it's like to go from 9-4 without a break. Studying = major key.

Reading - Trial Procedure

snapchats of a law student | brazenandbrunette.com

Even though my first class isn't until 11, I try to get to the library by 9 and get to going. For my Trial Pro class I had to read pages 115-136 and 170-174. My readings still take me a while, mainly because I have to take a lot of notes about the steps for a part of trial from the book so it slows me down.

Reading - Evidence

snapchats of a law student | brazenandbrunette.com

As for evidence - I normally have that class on Monday's and Friday's and during this time I'll do my reading. Since I don't have it on Wednesdays but I'm at the library anyways, I use this time to type up my notes from my book and class notes since my evidence professor doesn't allow laptops in her class.

My local book store sells notebooks with an extra-wide margin and I'm really starting to love it because I can use the "Cornell method" to take my notes. The bookstore calls this "law margin" but you can find them as Cornell notebooks if you're interested in getting one. On the left side I'll put the black letter law and on the right side I'll elaborate more and add cases and examples.


a law student's study schedule | brazenandbrunette.com

Related: How I Take Notes

Class - Trial Pro

snapchats of a law student | brazenandbrunette.com

One thing that I've noticed that I like about reading an hour or so before class is that all of the information is still fresh in my mind so if I get cold called to go over a case, I'm not as likely to get it confused with any of the other cases.


Lunch/ Reading - Criminal Procedure 

snapchats of a law student | brazenandbrunette.com

I used to drive home for lunch since I get an hour and only live a few minutes away from school, but I've gained like 30 minutes back in my day since I'm not walking to my car and driving home and then driving back and walking back to school. It's a little thing, but I'm glad I'm not wasting time anymore.My school has study carrels in the library so I have my own that I share with 3 other transfer students. I bring my lunch and then will just hole up in my carrel and read for later that day. For my crim pro class I had to read pages 199-232. 

Last semester when I was studying mostly at home, I just used my study carrel as a locker to store all of my statute books. Now that I spend all day at the school, my carrel has become my own little room so I've started storing the essentials there. Here's what I keep in mine (besides the obvious 20 books) -

Book stand - after reading for a few hours in a row, my neck will start hurting from looking down so this sets my book up so I can read without straining my neck
Travel lotion - some law books have this weird paper that dries out my hands
Travel Tylenol - for the rough days
Jacket - I made sure to get one that's a full zip instead of a pullover so that it won't mess up my hair. I also went ahead and got one that's a size too big so that I can use it as a little blanket when I don't want to full on wear it
Small hair brush - since I'm at the school all day I always end up needing this. I also keep a spare hair tie and a few bobby pins as well
To-go eyeshadow and travel-sized mascara - ok not going to lie already once this semester I was running late so I had to quickly do my makeup at school since I had a meeting with a professor and didn't want to look like I just woke up. This eyeshadow is surprisingly good!
Snacks - I usually alternate between trail mix and peanut butter crackers for the days when I'm extra hungry

Pro Bono/ Reading - Professional Responsibility 

snapchats of a law student | brazenandbrunette.com

On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays I normally have Evidence at this time, but that class doesn't meet on Wednesdays. Since I had an hour break, I signed up to get some pro bono time in. I'm not sure if other states have it, but in Texas how I get my pro bono is through volunteering for a legal help website

What it is is a website where people can find forms to do legal work for themselves for free if they can't afford a lawyer. I'm basically like customer support where if someone can't find what they're looking for they go to this chat and I find it for them. Like for example, they're wanting a divorce but don't know where to start so I'll send them links to our information sheet on how to file a divorce yourself and send them the forms they'll need to fill out. It's pretty easy because all you have to do is listen to their problem and then figure out what they're needing and connect them with it. Also, it's an easy way to get a lot of pro bono hours because for this semester and last semester I've been getting in two hours every week so that adds up fast.

Related: 8 different ways to get pro bono hours

I also get some reading in while I'm doing this. Usually while I'm waiting for them to type out what they're looking for or whatever, I have time to read a few paragraphs. I do my professional responsibility (it's an ethics class that's required by the ABA) reading during this hour because the reading is easy. On this day I just had to read pages 185-196 and then IRAC out a problem issue.


Class - PR

snapchats of a law student | brazenandbrunette.com

I have the same professor for evidence and PR which I don't mind because my professor is great, but unfortunately she doesn't allow computers in this class either. PR is my favorite class this semester because most of the time we'll read a hypo and then people will debate over whether this lawyer broke a PR rule or not, and then discuss what we'd do in this situation. It's a lot more relaxed than your typical cold calling or going over cases in a lecture. Last semester I was in a group project for my Wills class and now 2 of the members from that group are in my evidence, PR, and crim pro so on Mondays and Fridays and we have 3 hours worth of class in a row together. This just goes to show you to always try to get along with your group!

Class - Crim Pro

snapchats of a law student | brazenandbrunette.com

My latest class this semester is my Crim Pro and if my professor wasn't so engaging I know I'd be falling asleep during it just because it's right there at the mid-day slump. This professor in particular is very traditional and when he cold calls on you, he still does a full socratic method. The socratic method has gotten easier for me after my 1L year because now I know what professors mean by their questions so I spend less time trying to figure out what they are asking and can just go straight to thinking about what the answer is. But I still pull up the case briefs in class just in case.


snapchats of a law student | brazenandbrunette.com

And finally by 4 I'm done for the day. Since I'll get to the library early again the next day, once I'm out of my last class then I'm done with reading for that day and have from 4-10 completely free (on my Tuesday/Thursdays I get done at 4 but stay at the library to work on anything that I didn't get done that morning or get started for my Wednesday/Friday assignments). I've found that I like this so in the evenings I don't have to be stressed over needing to read and doing chores around the house. I also like that I can just mentally check out from the law and return to a normal civilian life instead of having to be a law student practically all day every day.

Weekends - Review

snapchats of a law student | brazenandbrunette.com

I started out this semester again trying to read a little on the weekend so I don't have to read as much during the week, but now that I'm better about working my reading in throughout the day I no longer do that. However I will admit that the one downside that I've found about only reading before/in between classes is that sometimes there's a time crunch to get the reading done in the allotted hour. The times that I've had this problem was when the material was particularly tedious.

Now what I do on the weekends just depends on what all material I've gone over during the week. Since 4/5 of my classes are heavily dependent on memorizing codified law, I usually will make flashcards for the rules I just learned. Later, I plan to switch to spending some weeks doing this and on other weeks I'll just simply review the flashcards. Since half of my classes are core classes, I usually try to watch a video from Quimbee if they have one about whatever we went over in class this week. I also will eventually get started on my outlines and updating them, but it's too soon for me to get started on that yet. 

Related: How I Study on the Weekends


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