Friday, July 20, 2012
Are you about to begin law school? Do you want some advice about how to succeed?
Here it is: Focus on learning, not grades or class rank.
I know, that sounds easier than it is and may even strike you as a little trite; but it is the secret to success in law school. If you focus on learning and compete only with yourself and the material, you are likely to do the one thing that is most important -- prepare yourself to serve that first client.
Three years from now, grades and ranks notwithstanding, some client is going to come to your office and place in your hands something critically important to her. It may be a liberty interest, a property interest, or even her life or the life of a loved one. She may not say it aloud, but by showing up at your door, she will be asking you, begging you, not let to her down.
Your only real job over the next three years is to be ready for her. Keep her in your mind's eye as you study each subject, since you cannot know now what she will put into your hands. Let her face drive your preparation for class, your research and writing projects, everything you do in law school.
Whether that first client is what you imagined will not matter; he or she will be real, and the matter placed in your hands will be critically important. Worry about that over the next three years, and the grades and ranks will take care of themselves. You focus on being ready to take care of that client.