Every now and then it’s helpful to take a step back and remember what law school is all about. Law school is about preparing you to enter the legal profession. Entering the legal profession assumes that you’ll be a professional. A professional is someone who is diligent and reliable. A professional treats others with respect. A professional manages their time appropriately and is constantly trying to improve their skills. These aren’t just the qualities of a successful member of the legal profession, they are also the qualities of a successful law student.
Incorporating professionalism into your actions during law school will prepare you to be a diligent lawyer while also promoting your academic success. This is a professional school after all, so it only makes sense to start acting like a professional now!
Just like a lawyer always shows up to court prepared, being a professional student means showing up to class having finished the assigned reading and prepared to engage in the discussion. It means taking complete, accurate notes, and seeking out clarification if there is something you don’t fully understand. A professional law student doesn’t procrastinate, but finishes her tasks on time. Managing your docket is a big part of being a lawyer, and as a student you should similarly be able to manage your schedule so that you have time to read, outline, and self-test each week, while also working on other long-term assignments. All of your activities should demonstrate attention to detail and thoroughness, including something as simple as sending an email.
In sum, start acting like the lawyer you want to be right now! Put the diligence, hard work, and accountability that you anticipate demonstrating as a lawyer into practice as a law student. Not only will it prepare you to be a successful professional, but it will also help you be a more successful student.