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Welcome to Law School, Part I

First of an occasional series of posts for the incoming, and beginning, law student:

You’re going to start law school in the Fall. That seems like a long way off, but for most students, the Fall semester starts in about eight weeks. It’s not too soon to start getting ready.

You may have just finished college. You may have concluded another graduate or professional program. You may be winding up a job, or even a career. You may be headed back to school after time off from the workforce. Wherever you’re coming from, you probably already suspect this: Law school is entirely unlike any experience — academic or otherwise — that you’ve had before.

Most people who wait until the first day of class to get their heads into the legal world find that it takes a good part of the first semester, and sometimes longer, to shake that “deer in the headlights” feeling about law school. I see it every year, since I teach Contracts to entering students and literally see the anxiety on students’ faces. There is no getting around the fact that law school can be profoundly disorienting.

The good news, I hope, is that there are steps that you can take to make the transition less stressful.

Today’s tip: If you are physically able to do so, get fit. Now. Walk, run, bike, swim, hike, climb — whatever works for you, get in the habit of getting out and getting sweaty. Eat and drink wisely. Among other things, law school is an endurance contest. There will be time for playing and partying, but the reading alone is grueling, and the outlining, researching, and writing only add to the burden. It’s a lot easier to put up with the sheer physical demands of law school if your body is up to par.