Stephanie Baldwin, University of Arizona Law School
The time has arrived my fellow 1Ls. We finally have some freedom, and we get to pick our 2L classes. I cannot believe how fast this year flew by. My class registration day is just around the corner, and I am sure yours is quickly approaching too. So here are a few tips to help you as you delve into choosing 2L classes for both the fall and spring semester ahead.
Talk to current 2Ls and 3Ls
Sometimes multiple sections of a class are offered, sometimes in the same semester, but usually in fall and spring. As you are aware, teachers often take a very different approach not only in teaching styles but also in grading. For instance, at my school, one section of a class has a multiple-choice exam as the final, and the other has the option of a paper instead of taking a final. Depending on which you prefer, this could be a deal breaker.
Learn as much as you can as you plan your schedule. The BEST resource for information is the people who have gone before you. They can provide you with insight into class structure, professor demeanor and more. That way, you won’t look back and wish you’d known something of importance before making your class picks.
Take classes related to your focus
One of my professors talked about how if you’re interested in Immigration Law, you should also consider taking Administrative Law — which may seem obvious. However, they also suggested considering classes like Family Law and Employment Law, since they share similar elements. This attention to the larger picture will help you be a well-rounded attorney in your field.
Plan beyond the fall Semester
I am very excited to be participating in the very first Phoenix Externship program offered by UofA, so I need to be really focused on completing as many of the business litigation certificate courses I can in the fall.
Maybe you plan on doing study abroad or will be participating in an externship in another city as a 2L or 3L. Although you might not know exactly what the spring semester will bring, it’s good to keep various possibilities in mind to ensure you’re on track for graduation requirements. Here are a few class ideas for the 2L spring semester to think about:
- Advanced Legal Research:This is a great opportunity to supplement your legal education with practical skills, as there are not a lot of research opportunities outside of the first-year required course.
- Business Associations:Although specific to Corporate Law, this can provide useful knowledge and is a bar class.
- Constitutional Criminal Procedure:This is highly recommended if you’re interested in criminal law (and is also a bar class).
- Evidence:If you’re interested in being certified as a law student to appear in court, Evidence is the way to go (and is another bar class).
- Professional Responsibility:This is required in most schools, so be sure to fit it in (but check on requirements — different states have different requirements on the ‘right’ amount of credits).
Talk to the Registrar
In addition to planning ahead, you may also want to stop by your Registrar’s Office to find out when certain classes are offered. For instance, if a professor is visiting and hosting a special seminar class, it might be your only chance to take that class.
Some people plan their entire class load based on if the class is tested on the bar exam. This might be a good approach for some students. For others, it might mean taking a class they will have to relearn during bar prep anyway, and perhaps those credits could have been spent elsewhere.
What 2L classes you choose will really depend on your personal preference. Ultimately, you know what will work for you and your end goals. Here’s to a stellar 2L year!