How to thrive during 1L year and beyond

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Whether you’re feeling anxious or excited as you start your 1L year, BARBRI has your back. We’ve gathered some tips from law school students on how to thrive during your 1L year and throughout law school. Let’s dive in.

Time management

Though you may think that you have perfected your time management skills, law school requires a different level of commitment than anything you have experienced in the past. Time management is crucial as you balance classes, studying, reading, outlining, extracurriculars, jobs, family, friends and life. It’s essential to refine your time management skills (think mapping out a plan, holding yourself accountable and knowing when to ask for support).


For most 1Ls, the first year of law school is filled with seven specific required foundational classes. These classes are structured much differently from what you’re familiar with in undergrad. Preparing for classes, including case briefing, note-taking and outlining, will be a key to your success. If you’re looking for a place to start or need some 1L aids, look no further than our BARBRI 1L Mastery complete first-year resource.

In your 2L and 3L years, you’ll have a little more freedom regarding class selection. If you want to jump ahead and start mapping out ideas for 2L and 3L classes, take the time to understand your graduation requirements and then talk with your peers to see their recommendations. You’ll also have the opportunity during interviews and OCIs to ask potential employers what they might want you to take. This could range from doctrinal to more practice area-oriented classes that provide practical research and writing. Don’t be afraid to experiment with things you know you will love as well as subjects you might not. You never know what might pique your interest and help you discover the right career path.


Whether you work at a firm, a government agency or a public interest organization, don’t be afraid to voice what practice areas you’re interested in. Broad exposure to the legal field is valuable to help you learn more about your potential future path and yourself.

As you work through your research, interviews and internships, consider whether an organization will be a good fit for you. Remember, both you and the organization are looking for the right fit. Learn more about how to stand out to future employers and what you might expect of internships, clerkships and clinics.


Law schools are home to many student organizations with various purposes, and new student groups are continually forming. Student organizations and extracurriculars provide a wealth of opportunities to pursue your interests, improve your skills, serve your community and enhance your law school years.

Explore your options by checking your school’s website for information on student organizations, setting up a meeting with your office of student affairs, and talking with 2Ls and 3Ls about their experiences. Student organizations add significantly to the quality of life in law school by providing access to speakers and debates, outreach events, volunteer hours and programs with area practitioners. You’ll be able to dedicate time to brush up your leadership skills, develop lasting relationships, and explore personal passions and interests.

Building relationships

Remember that the people you meet now will be your future colleagues, peers and mentors. In addition to getting to know your professors, branch out and get to know people outside of your section. Utilize your classes, extracurriculars and jobs to make connections and network. This will not only help you build valuable relationships (remember, you’ll need bar recommendation letters), but will also enable you to further expand your knowledge and interests.

Your first year of law school is exciting and challenging, and we know you will do great work. Good luck!

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