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Picking The Courses Right For You In Law School

Post Authored By: Hannah Werner

Arguably the most important skill a young attorney will garner in law school is the skill of selecting the right courses. Picking classes that interest you but will still help you in the long run is difficult, but mastering it will lead to even easier success. Here are some thoughts that will help you determine if ‘Marijuana Law’ is the course that will help you be the best attorney you can be:

1. Will you use it in practice?

There are tons of interesting courses in law school, but if you won’t use the topic in your actual practice, is it really worth the effort? Sure, most of us want to take ‘Sports Law’ or maybe ‘Blockchain and the Law’, but will you really use these things after you’ve graduated law school?  The reality is that you go to law school to become a lawyer – so remember, taking those lighter classes that are fun to learn about aren’t the reason you’re paying thousands of dollars each semester. You should take classes that are a mix of those that are interesting and those that are likely to benefit you in your practice.

2. Is it on the bar?

Probably the most-cited reason why people select classes they aren’t interested in is because the topic is covered on the bar exam. Everyone wants to be as prepared as possible for the bar exam, so picking the classes which are most often tested is always a great idea. While Business Organizations, Family Law, or Estates and Trusts may not be your ‘thing’, knowing that these areas are likely to show up on the bar exam, is reason enough to select these courses. Pro tip: space these courses out, if possible. You don’t want to load up your entire semester with all bar exam courses – instead, throw in one or two courses that genuinely interest you or are likely to be used in your future practice area to break them up and make your course load a little less stressful.

3. Are you interested in the topic and/or considering practicing in that area of law?

Finally, sitting in a class for 15 weeks that is equivalent to watching paint dry can be painful. Not to mention the long hours of reading that accompany the course. The best way to avoid these classes? Drop out of law school. The second-best way? Take classes that truly interest you. This is the best way to make your course load more manageable and the semesters move by more quickly. However, it does take time to figure out which courses or areas of law are interesting to you. If you have even a glimmer of interest in a topic, law school is the time to explore that interest. It is because of this I have learned that my personal bread and butter is estates and trusts or business law.

Take it from someone that just dropped a course that was “practical”, just because something might be helpful in the future doesn’t mean that it is the right time for you to take the class. For instance, maybe next semester I’ll feel more motivated to learn about the North American Free Trade Agreement (probably not). But, in my opinion, staying in a class that may or may not be helpful to my future is not the best way to approach law school. 

At the end of the day though, all law students have to take classes that we don’t want to take (hello, contracts!) But knowing that these courses will be beneficial to our future practice areas or passing the bar should be the motivation to work towards that “A” and ultimately crossing that law school finish line.

About the Author:

In May of 2020, Hannah graduated with a B.A. in Public Relations and a B.A. in Psychology from Auburn University. After working at Ankin Law Office for almost a year, Hannah discovered an interest in law and joined the Chicago-Kent community. Hannah is currently a 2L representative for the Society of Women in Law, as well as a member of various organizations matching her passions, such as the First-Generation Law Student Association and the Chicago Kent Animal Legal Defense Fund. Following graduation, Hannah looks forward to a career in estate planning, real estate, or business law.

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