101 things to know before coming to law school

Members of the First Generation Professionals organization meet in Green Hall. Photo by Ashley Golledge

(Front row) Peter Qiu, Professor Jean Phillips, Ashley Reece, Marisol Garcia, Misbah Karamali, Adeline Tolle, Mary McMullen, Saber Hossinei. (Back row) Michael Tuttle, Nancy Donahue, Zachary Beach, Valeria Carbajal, Kristen Dvorak, Claudia Chavarria, Austin Stout.

First Generation Professionals seeks to promote a positive atmosphere at the University of Kansas School of Law for law students who are first generation college students or first-generation law students. Our objectives are to build community among aspiring first generation legal professionals, promote strong ties between the organization, other student organizations, law faculty, students and staff and the legal community at-large through outreach and networking events, and to provide members with professional etiquette and to encourage members embrace their unique background.

Congratulations on beginning or continuing your journey towards becoming a lawyer! We hope this list and our presence in Green Hall can help alleviate some of the stresses associated with law school. Good luck with the semester and Rock Chalk!

  1. Don’t rent your Bluebook! Go ahead and buy it. You’ll use it throughout your time in law school.
  2. Most events during the lunch hour offer free lunch.
  3. Come in with an open mind.
  4. Get involved with organizations you’re passionate about.
  5. Get to know your professors, staff and the Office of Career Services.
  6. Go to office hours!!
  7. Don’t be afraid to talk to upperclassmen (they were once in your shoes).
  8. Bring ALL your business casual clothing with you to law school.
  9. Have a nice suit for interviews and networking events.
  10. Go to Student Bar Association sponsored events — you’ll get to know a lot of your peers!
  11. No one knows what they’re doing either.
  12. The open-door policy is REAL.
  13. If you don’t know what imposter syndrome is, look it up and know that EVERYONE feels the same way.
  14. Go to networking events.
  15. It’s okay to take a night off.
  16. Watch your drinking at events.
  17. People will have different political opinions than you … and that’s okay.
  18. You don’t need to feel obligated to state your opinion on everything.
  19. This is a competitive environment, but not everything needs to be a competition.
  20. Be cautious of your reputation in the law school — it sticks with you.
  21. Green Hall has a Keurig, so you can bring K-Cups.
  22. Highlights are your best friend.
  23. Get to know your peers … it could potentially be very helpful when looking for a job in the future or with life.
  24. Don’t feel down if you don’t have a job for the summer. Classes are just fine.
  25. Make sure you have extra headphones in Green Hall.
  26. HIGHLIGHTERS
  27. Make sure to buy ear plugs for finals week.
  28. Find something that helps you de-stress from law school (working out, coloring, talking with friends, etc.)
  29. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand in class … chances are there are more people with the same question.
  30. The DeBruce Center is tempting …
  31. Try to meet someone with the same laptop charger as you because you might forget yours at home.
  32. Beware of the Starbucks vending machine.
  33. Make sure to buy your parking pass as soon as you are able to!
  34. Don’t be afraid to turn people down.
  35. It’s helpful to review outlines from older students, but you learn more when you make your own outline.
  36. Some people like studying for finals in groups. Some people do better on their own. Find what works for you.
  37. You don’t need to dress up every day.
  38. Try to get a hold of an outline early in the semester to review.
  39. Reading cases DOES get easier.
  40. You don’t need to buy supplemental books, free access online.
  41. Do your best to not procrastinate.
  42. DO take breaks and find a balance for yourself.
  43. Take advantage of extracurriculars early.
  44. Do traffic court early on. You tend to have more time first semester.
  45. Be on time to classes. Professors notice when you are consistently late.
  46. Don’t get discouraged.
  47. If you want to save money on books, try buying used books from upperclassmen or online.
  48. Try to review exams with your professors after first semester.
  49. When the weather is nice outside, try to find a table on campus and do some homework. (This gets you away from Green Hall for a while and you still get to enjoy our beautiful campus!)
  50. Participate in class! Professors will notice and appreciate when you do.
  51. Participate in the Bluebook Relays!
  52. Keep a planner (electronic or paper).
  53. PAY ATTENTION IN RESEARCH LAB!!
  54. Read the notes after the cases (they’ll help you understand concepts, give you some more insight).
  55. Keeping a baby stapler in your backpack helps (and will make you a very popular person, especially when everyone has to turn in assignments).
  56. TABS (from Amazon, Walmart and Target).
  57. SBA sells some really cool KU Law swag.
  58. Take notes in class! It will really help when you’re reviewing before your exam and in making your outline.
  59. If you like coffee shops, Mass Street is the place to go.
  60. Time blocking/to-do lists help, especially when you have a really busy week.
  61. The Lawrence Public Library is a really cool study spot and super underrated.
  62. Keep an extra pair of headphones in your backpack, locker, etc.
  63. Take a walk on campus if you ever feel like you need a break from the building (it’s a good workout too!)
  64. Don’t forget to treat yo’self.
  65. Appreciate your TA’s! Especially in Lawyering Skills.
  66. Go to the exam reviews!!! Seriously, can’t stress this enough.
  67. You can reserve study rooms for yourself or if you have a study group getting together.
  68. Bring some extra dry erase board markers (the ones already in the room aren’t always reliable).
  69. Be nice to the library faculty! They can be a huge help.
  70. If you have an upcoming meeting, make sure you set a reminder on your phone so you don’t forget.
  71. Brush up on your grammar.
  72. Color code your highlighting, so it’s easier to pick out relevant information during class.
  73. Buy your favorite pens in bulk.
  74. Don’t forget to check out Course Reserves before your exam (they have a lot of test prep materials).
  75. If you want to look at supplemental materials, some professors will have some that students can check out so you don’t have to buy them.
  76. You don’t have to do your studying at Green Hall! A change in scenery can really help.
  77. Take advantage of the other libraries at KU.
  78. The School of Engineering, Watson Library and Anschutz Library also have study rooms you can book.
  79. Watson is quieter than Anschutz.
  80. If you’re willing to make the trek, “The Underground,” located in Wescoe Hall on Jayhawk Boulevard also has multiple food options.
  81. Take little breaks!
  82. Do traffic court.
  83. If you have a pet, invest in them.
  84. Buy scrunchies (very popular in Green Hall).
  85. Pantyhose are your friend (for on-campus interviews or when you have to dress business professional).
  86. Invest in a steamer!!
  87. Get a lint roller.
  88. Put big events/final exam times in your planner.
  89. As you approach finals, make a study schedule and stick to it.
  90. Check your email!
  91. Keep an extra sweater at the school (it gets chilly sometimes).
  92. Layers are the way to go. Some rooms are hot, and others will be freezing.
  93. Pay attention to the orientation events during the school year because it will give you a lot of useful information for interviews (and there is food).
  94.  Keep track of deadlines.
  95.  Get a head start on revising your resume over winter break.
  96.  Go to McLain’s when it’s nice outside!
  97. When you start studying for finals, find a way or someone to hold you accountable to your schedule.
  98. Don’t buy a physical Bluebook. Buy an e-version, so you can Ctrl-F.
  99. Don’t get caught up in the competitive aspect.
  100. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask.
  101. YOU WILL MAKE FRIENDS!

— List compiled by the members of KU Law’s First Generation Professionals organization.

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