December 27, 2017

Time Balancing in Law School

How to juggle your time as a law school. How to balance your time in law school. How to manage your time in law school. Law school time management. law school blog. law student blogger |

I sent out a calling the other day for post requests from y'all and the overwhelming theme of every request I got had to do with managing your time in law school, which I totally get because that's one of the things that can be the most overwhelming to figure out as a 1L and also one of the things that I feel like all law students complain about.

Manage your expectations

College did not prepare you for law school, time-management wise, at all! In college, your day was like 3-4 hours of school and then 20-21 hours of free time. This led to lots of parties and opportunities for part-time jobs and just a whole bunch of Netflix. Coming from this to law school can make you feel like you have no free time at all when suddenly you realize you're spending like 14 hours a day either in class or reading for class or preparing for class. It's a big life-style change! So if you're not in law school yet, you might as well go ahead and accept your fate that your daily schedule is going to change.

Your free time isn't really free time

Another big change is how you actually spend your free time. In college, in between classes gave you plenty of time to go out and be social with friends or run errands all over town. In law school, by the time you are finally done with class and reading, you're exhausted. Mental exhaustion is a totally new feeling that probably up to this point you've only really felt after you're finally done with finals and therefore a string of all-nighters. But in law school it can be like an every day thing. So instead of being productive when you finally have nothing to do and cleaning your apartment, or being social and meeting up with friends, all you have the energy to do is just lay on your couch for like an hour and stare at your ceiling, not really thinking about anything because your brain is exhausted (this literally happens to me). All this to say that it just gives this allusion that you have no free time in law school because you never feel like you have free time to get shit done.

Make your time efficient 

I will preach time management as one of the keys to sanity in law school until I am blue in the face. I'm telling y'all if you aren't good at time management before law school, you'll learn fast. This is kinda a trial-and-error thing because what works for one person might not work for you and what works for one semester/year might not work for the next. Whatever system works for you, if you schedule out your day you will feel like you have so much more free time because you will get a block of a solid 6 hours or whatever of free time to truly relax instead of an hour here and 30 minutes there, which will feel like you never actually have time to just take a break.

Study smarter, not harder

Speaking of time efficient, here's the thing I'll let you in on... it's literally not worth your effort to spend 5 hours preparing for one class. Yes you should be be reading for class, and book briefing will help, and making a case brief (IRAC) will help, and there's always more that you can do. But once you get down the basics, you can slowly stop doing so much because it doesn't take as much effort for you to understand what the legal concepts are. I'm not saying start slacking, but I am saying start figuring out what gives you the most help and stick with that. If you start to feel like you're slipping behind, just use some supplements to fill in the gaps to make sure you're fully understanding what's going on. I promise you that if all you do is kill yourself trying to study every waking moment, you're going to end up burnt out on law school and hate yourself.

Tackle things in pieces

You will basically have two assignments your 1L year of law school— readings every day and then a big memo or brief (an appellate brief, not a case brief) for your writing class. Some people prefer to get their readings out of the way on the weekends and some people prefer to do a little reading each day. Try out both and don't just assume that one is better than the other because reading is your life for 3 years. Just whatever you do, don't get behind on your readings!! 

Which brings me to the big writing assignment. Start early because this is seriously harder than anything you've ever written before. I don't care if you whipped out a 30-page paper one time in college by pulling an all-nighter and still got an A. This has lots of case researching, argument brainstorming, argument organizing, and lots of citing to figure out and you will have a full panic attack if you wait. Plus, it's easier to squeeze in just a little extra work on top of your every day assignment for a few weeks instead of being that person stuck choosing between reading for class or working on your paper. 

let's be friends!


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