First of all, if you have some free time, enjoy it! While my time at BC Law has been a lot of fun, it is also been a lot of work and I often feel like I’m going from one thing to the next without much of a break. So if you have some down time before law school be sure to hang out with your friends from college and high school, and go on that family vacation your mom keeps bugging you about. Try the new restaurants you’ve been wanting to try, grab drinks with your friends, and do some reading for pleasure before you’re consumed by casebooks!
2. Build your network
The one thing I hear over and over again from the career center here is the importance of networking and making contacts for getting a job. If you have family members, family friends, or acquaintances who are judges or attorneys reach out to them! A short email saying “Hi [name], I hope you’re doing well. I wanted to get in touch because I just got accepted to Boston College Law School! I know you’re very busy but I’ve heard a little bit about your career in [x legal field] and if you have the time I would love to grab coffee or chat on the phone about the work you’ve done and your thoughts on working in [x legal field].” At the very least you’ll get some advice on law school and practicing, and who knows, you may end up finding a connection for a summer job.
3. Do some relevant volunteer work
If you’ve already worked as a paralegal or a similar position you’ll have an idea of the type of work you’ll be doing. If not, however, think about using some down time to get a taste of what you’ll be doing once you’re in law school. Government and public interest organizations are good places to start looking. Reach out to organizations like your state’s commission against discrimination, the Attorney General’s and District Attorney’s offices in your area, or search online to see if there are relevant internships you would be interested in. You can also reach out to friends and family in the legal profession to see if they have advice on finding an internship or volunteer position. It doesn’t have to be a full time position- any exposure you can get will help you narrow down areas of interest and give you something to talk about when you are applying for jobs in law school.
4. Meet your classmates
Most law schools create a Facebook group for their admitted students. If you’re in an area where some other incoming 1Ls live, why not see if some of your future classmates want to grab coffee or drinks before you start school? Having some familiar faces around when you start school will make the process much easier, and as a bonus you might find someone you want to look for housing with!
5. Get your finances in order
Law school is expensive. Even students who have generous scholarships still need to pay for rent, books, and other supplies. If you’ve been working before coming back to school, try to put a little extra into your savings account every month. If you are coming straight through from undergrad consider getting a part-time job during the school year, and think about whether a summer job fits into your plans. Trust me, you’ll be grateful for anything extra you can put away! In addition, plan on having a frank conversation with your parents about whether you’ll be completely on your own, or what (if any) support they might be able to give you. The more information you have, the better you’ll be able to plan for the next three years.
I am a 3L here at BC Law, as well as being in my final year of a Masters in Higher Education. If you are thinking about coming by BC for a tour you’ll probably see me at my job in the Admissions Office. I’ll be posting every week about an aspect of life as a student at BC Law. If you have any questions comment here and I’ll answer for everyone!