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What 1Ls Can Learn from Puppies

By Neetal Parekh | Last updated on

You've read Paper Chase. And watched the movie. You've talked to recent law school graduates. And those who reign supreme with 2L and 3L status. You went to orientation and got more than a couple of earfuls on what this year will be like. But, to add perspective, how about seeking inspiration on getting through the year from an unlikely source.

Yes, puppies.

Some may say that 1L's and puppies occupy completely polar realms. And that's exactly why it may be surprisingly insightful to learn from them. 

1Ls--of the animal aficionado breed or otherwise--enjoy. And good luck.

What 1Ls Can Learn From Puppies

1. Keep it simple. Puppies eat, sleep, play, and expel. Then repeat. They keep their routines simple. And it works for them. Simplify your own life as you start 1L. Identify the main things you need to do to get the job done and cast aside all else. Complicated relationships, unsolved Rubix cubes, Iron chef marathons, and Starcraft parties can wait. 

2. Hang together. At some point during 1L you may feel a little isolated. You'll be studying at odd hours, often at home or the library, and because you're keeping it simple you may not have as many outlets for socialization as during your swinging pre-law school days. Do like a litter of puppies and hang together. Try study groups as a way to get through info and connect with fellow classmates, without missing a beat.

3. Be able to fall asleep anywhere. You may soon find that a well-timed 15 minute nap on a library desk can be sweeter than your favorite double fudge sundae. Being able to sleep when you have time to will make you a much happier (and more-agreeable) 1L.  Know when to schedule a 'last call' for caffeinated beverages so you can get a decent snooze.

4. If something interests you, chew on it.  If you've ever watched a puppy chewing on a bone (or anything else) you'll notice they do it with the zen-like focus of a meditating monk and the hammer-like persistence of a late-night infomercial. They won't leave the job half-done. And that's how you should tackle new concepts in law school. If you don't understand it, find a way to. Go to officer hours, ask classmates to explain it, research it on FindLaw and LawBrain. And only rest when you know it well enough to explain it to someone else. 

5. Perfecting that puppy dog look can go a long way. It may not prevent you from getting called on in class, but it might help ease the situation once you do.  

6. Practice play-fighting with your litter-mates. While you're hanging together in a study group, consider arguing hypos from opposing sides. It will give you a chance to develop your trial skill and be able to come up with cohesive arguments on the spot.  And consider moot court or mock trial in the future for further finesse.

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