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5 Things a 1L Should Not Do at Law School

By Deanne Katz, Esq. | Last updated on

That first day of 1L year is coming up and that means a whole bunch of new dos and don'ts to learn.

Law school is a social universe unto itself complete with stereotypes and status markers. Each 1L class is subdivided into small sections of 100 students or less. During the first year, you'll spend a lot of time with those people so it's important to make a good impression.

Within the world of law school that means more than looking your best. You'll see what we mean.

  1. Don't get a rolling backpack. Yes, law texts are heavy but unless you have a real back problem you don't need one of these. Plus, you look silly pushing it around the hallways and carrying it up the stairs. If you want to avoid the high school backpack look, get yourself a nice briefcase or a roomy laptop bag.

  2. Don't ask gunner questions. Raising your hand just to show off your knowledge is so annoying there's even a name for it. Gunner. Your classmates will not like gunners. If you want to impress the professor, save up those non-essential questions for office hours and let everyone learn in peace during class.

  3. Don't surf porn or extremist websites in class. During boring classes it's OK to surf the Internet but keep in mind that everyone behind you can see your screen. Some people may be trying to pay attention so keep distractions to a minimum. Avoid flashy sites and definitely keep it within the Safe-For-Work realm.

  4. Don't buy the Bluebook. The law student's bible of legal citations is an important asset for any kind of legal writing but you don't have to buy a paper copy. Chances are they'll publish an updated copy while you're still in law school so consider paying for the online version instead.

  5. Don't be rude to your classmates. The people you graduate law school with could be your colleagues for the rest of your legal career. When your resume comes to the top of the pile for a cushy transfer position at a new firm, you don't want someone to say, "Oh, she was a jerk." Start cultivating a good reputation now.

Law school is after all a professional training ground. Avoid these don'ts and act like a professional from day one of 1L year and by the time you graduate, you'll be ready for anything.

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