Paul L. Caron

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Deans' Advice To The Law School Class Of 2025, Self-Care, Time Management and Typing Skills: How (and How Not) to Prepare for Law School:

Class of 2025First-day-of-school jitters can happen no matter how old you are, but for those about to start law school, the anxiety can be particularly intense.

So how does one prepare to enter the unknown of law school? Turns out, there are several schools of thought on that topic. gathered tips from interviews with law deans and from discussions on social media in an effort to help new law students prepare for the journey ahead. ...

“Some will tell you to just relax. That’s probably not realistic,” Robert “Bobby” Ahdieh, dean and Anthony G. Buzbee Endowed Dean’s Chair at Texas A&M University School of Law, told “But what you can do is try and eliminate ‘unnecessary’ stress—about how you’re doing compared to others, about what your professor might have thought about your answer in class and the like. None of that is going to help you do better.” ...

Erwin Chemerinsky, dean and Jesse H. Choper distinguished professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, told on Wednesday that students should get involved early. “My sense is that students who are involved enjoy law school more,” he said.

Anthony E. Varona, dean and law professor of Seattle University School of Law, told on Wednesday that he has “three big recommendations” to prepare for and excel in law school: “(1) Try your best to master time management. Organize your day as if you were working a 9-to-6 job. (2) Focus on your wellness. Learn mindfulness meditation and practice it daily. … Also, make sure to exercise regularly, preferably daily, and even by taking a brisk walk. And get enough good sleep. Sound body, sound mind.” Lastly, “(3) Start outlining your classes early so that you can get accustomed to synthesizing the material in your own words,” Varona continued. “As you identify areas where you need more clarity, consult with and get to know your professors during office hours. Doing so would be advantageous for many reasons.” ...

Michael Hunter Schwartz, dean and professor of law of the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, told on Wednesday that he suggests students consider taking notes by hand instead of using a laptop because “several studies have suggested that the act of writing notes instead of typing them helps with remembering them.”

Here are the closing remarks I made on Monday to the Pepperdine Caruso Law Class of 2025 (which sadly ended up on the cutting room floor):

The law is the soundtrack of our lives as we get to spend the next three years together. I urge you to take full advantage of your time here. You could learn the law equally well at dozens of other great law schools. But what sets us apart is what happens outside of the classroom – in the relationships you will build with faculty, staff, and your fellow students that will last a lifetime. I urge you to savor each and every one of the 975 days you will be a Pepperdine Caruso Law student.

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