It’s here! It’s finally happening! I’m in my LAST year of law school. Sometimes (actually most times) I still can’t believe it. I remember my first day of law school as if it were yesterday. I actually look at the selfie I took that day to admire how far I’ve come since that day. Not only have I accomplished different goals I set out to accomplish over the years, but my overall confidence in being a law student has grown as well. It’s actually been amazing for me to witness and experience.
One exciting part of law school (for me) is picking my classes. This was the first year that I was confident I was going to get every class that I wanted and not have to be on a waitlist or pick a different class. I’m happy to report that this was true and I got every class that I wanted. This upcoming semester my class schedule will be as follows:
- Criminal Procedure – Adjudication
- Civil Rights
- Advanced Legal Analysis and Writing: Making Law, Writing, & Interpreting Legislation
- Family Law
I’m super excited as I know all of these classes will be extremely beneficial to my legal education and I’ve interested in majority of the topics. There are many debates about whether or not to take bar classes in your 3L year and while I’ve taken most of the Bar Classes already, I still had a few I could have taken this semester. I chose against it, although sometimes Family Law is on the bar. I decided to write this blog to tell law students how I choose what law school classes I want to take and the different questions I ask myself that go into those decisions.
Do you want to take all bar classes, no bar classes, or a healthy in between?
This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you want to take mostly bar classes than it will be easier for you to decide which classes you want to take as your options will be limited. At my school we are only required to take certain bar classes (Torts, Contracts, Civil Procedure, Legal Writing I, II, II, Property, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law I & II). The rest of the bar classes are offered as electives so we pretty much have free reign. There are pros and cons to taking non-graduation requirement bar classes. One pro to taking a bar class in law school is that you will be familiar with the topic as opposed to seeing it for the first time when you start bar prep two or three months before the bar exam. On the flip side, bar classes can oftentimes be harder than non-bar classes and if you want to raise your GPA, bar classes might not be your best way to do so. As a 2L I took a healthy mix of bar classes and classes that I was interested in and I did pretty well.
What type of law are you interested in or maybe want to learn more about?
I think it very important to not only take classes that may be on the bar but also to take classes that interest you (if they aren’t also bar classes, which they can be). This was very important to me because I came into law school with tunnel vision about practicing Criminal Law. I wanted to make sure to take other law classes not necessarily related to criminal law but still something I was interested in like Resort Hotel Casino Law and Education Reform. Taking these classes allowed me to see if I would ever be open to practicing a different type of law or if it was strictly Criminal Law for me. If you relate to my tunnel vision, I would recommend trying different types of classes.
Which professors have you enjoyed taken classes with in the past and what’s the word around the law school about the others?
Listen! When it comes to law school classes, the professors can often make or break the class. Law school is hard enough without having to deal with difficult professors or professors who mean well but their teaching style just doesn’t suit your learning style. I always try to take classes with professors who I have before because I know what to expect and have grown accustomed to how they teach. This is very important since most law school grades are based off of one exam that the professor is teaching you for.
These are just some of the questions to ask yourself when taking classes as a 3L. Choosing classes is very important in law school and you don’t want to just choose whatever. Make sure you sit and think about it for a good minute before registration day. I may write a post similar to this before the spring semester to help 1Ls choose their elective class. Let me know if that would be helpful.
How do you decide what classes to take? What’s more important: the professors, the time, the subject, or something else? Let me know in the comments.