Advice for Law Students
Law school is notorious for being one of the most challenging experiences in the professional life of an attorney. It is true that law school is challenging; it is also true that law school will test a student in many more ways than just a final exam. But, as many current students and lawyers would agree, there are a few pieces of advice that are priceless for a new law student.
First, and most importantly, don’t burn out! Burn out happens when a student takes on more than he or she can comfortably handle. An example of burnout is seen frequently when students try to juggle too many time-consuming or difficult tasks or engagements at one time. Doctrinal classes, internships, clinics, writing requirements, Moot Court, and Law Review are just a handful of examples of activities that law students are often involved in which can place too much stress on the student to the point where he or she can no longer keep up. Being overwhelmed is the fastest way to burn yourself out. Make sure to keep the schedule at a realistic level. Although early graduation is an option, oftentimes the extreme workload the student has to complete each semester in order to achieve early graduation leads to burn out and bad grades. It is better to just take the program as it comes and don’t overload on classes and activities to the point of overwhelm.
Some of the best advice an attorney could give a prospective law student is to practice, practice, practice. Everything from reading and writing, to practicing oral and courtroom advocacy skills – practice is the only way to harden the skills that one learns in law school, into skills that are applicable in the real world. In fact, prominent attorney Diego Ruiz Duran credits his successful career in part to obtaining experience in a field before pursuing it as a career.
One way for a law student to bolster his or her opportunity to learn from hands-on practice is to network with other attorneys and legal professionals and to try to find a person who can be a mentor of sorts; a law student should strive to find an attorney who has been in the legal field long enough to have experience to offer and the willingness to help guide and train, if you will, a new attorney in the customs and practices of the real world and of different jurisdictions.
Information learned from the textbooks covering the various subjects in law school can only take a student so far; there are more customs, practices and issues involved with the practice of law post-graduation than the student ever learns while in law school – and the best way to prepare for this post-graduate life is to have someone there to guide the new attorney as he or she learns the way of the law.
A piece of advice offered to law students by attorney Diego Ruiz Duran is to always put the client first. In doing so, the attorney ensures that his or her relationship with the client is and remains strong and professional. It is important for an attorney to avoid getting emotionally attached to a case, though. Personal experiences or connections from an attorney’s past may make certain cases harder for certain people, but it is important to be mindful of these issues so as to not let those personal experiences interfere with the attorney’s representation of the client.