You got accepted to Law School! Congratulations! Now, I want you to take a deep breath and buckle up for an information dump, because that is what the 1L Orientation is. Once you get through that, you will go straight into trying to figure out what a case brief is and how you can possibly get through all your reading assignments. You will likely feel as though you cannot focus on anything else because if you do, for even a second, you will forget everything you just learned in class and will fall desperately behind in your reading. So, I want to take a moment to point out some things I missed in my first semester.
Everyone’s first semester is the same to some extent. None of us have ever encountered anything like law school–and we will likely never encounter anything like it again. But law school is not only about learning the law; it’s about networking and building connections, finding out more about yourself, and discovering the type of law you want to practice after law school. I didn’t realize there were opportunities to advance these facets of my life running in the background during my first semester.
To start, let’s talk about an acronym that you will see in early emails that may make no sense to you (Was that just me? Oh well, I’m going to tell you anyway.) “CDO” stands for “Career Development Office” and it was my number one missed opportunity; not that it’s too late–I am still a 1L after all–but I wish I had understood what it represented, not just what the letters stood for, earlier. I cannot stress enough how useful their website is. I highly recommend starting here: Create Your Career Plan. From there you can find awesome timelines to assess what you can do for your career during each year of law school.