Time Management In Law School

 

          If you want to succeed in law school, the ability to manage your time well is an essential skill to master. Over the next three years, you will have thousands of cases to read, dozens of writing assignments, and many exams to study for; and not a single one of these will be easy. But, by using your time wisely you can be one of the most prepared students in your class and still have plenty of personal time for yourself.


Use Your Breaks

 

          The single most productive time that you will have is the time when you are not in class but have to be at school anyway. I am talking about the breaks between classes. Your first year, you will probably have at least 90 hours of free time between your classes in which you can get a head start on the next days work. If you could force yourself to arrive at school an hour early, use your breaks, and stay until you are prepared for the next day's assignments, you will likely have almost every evening free for yourself and your family. Additionally, when you have more than just daily assignments, such as papers or exams to study for, you could use your free evenings to get ahead on those tasks as well.{loadposition adinarticle}

 

Long Term Management

          While your breaks are great for working on short and log term assignments, there are some other budgeting tricks that can help reduce your stress towards the end of the semester.

 

Start Outlining Early:

          Begin building your course outline on the first day of class. Put everything you learn in class, including cases, important laws or regulations, and class notes, directly into this outline. Halfway through the semester, start reorganizing and condensing this material. By doing so, you will have a near complete outline for the course when exams come along, and will be able to focus all of your time on studying. For more details, see: How to Build An Outline.

 

Begin Writing Papers ASAP:

          When you are given an assignment for a paper that isn't due for weeks, don't put it off. By starting an assignment early, you will reduce your overall stress and write a better paper. 

          First, spend a night or two doing nothing but research, you could even do this while watching TV. Keep your research handy and go over it at least once a day, writing down any ideas that come to mind on how to use these sources in your paper. Keep an eye out for any holes in the research, and then find cases or laws to fill them. By now, you should have a pretty good idea of what your arguments are going to be, and what you are going to write, so, it is time to start writing.

          Break the writing of your paper into pieces by writing your introduction, which creates a roadmap of your arguments (see How to Write a Legal Paper), then work on the paper argument by argument whenever you have some free time. When all the pieces are in place, re-read your paper every day or so and make corrections as needed until you have a refined product worthy of turning in; probably well before some of your peers have even begun researching.

          By breaking the assignment down into pieces and working on them a little at a time, you can save yourself from any "all nighters" before the due date, and will have a quality paper to turn in. For more writing tips, see: Legal Writing.

 

Conclusion

          Whether or not you use my time management tips or not, you should definitely find some way to manage your time. Law school is too densely packed with assignments to procrastinate, and a systematic approach to budgeting will allow you to stay ahead of your work while leaving plenty of time for yourself and your friends or family.