BEFORE STARTING LAW SCHOOL
Relax and enjoy yourself-Yes, law school will be much more stressful than your current life, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. Nevertheless, use your current free time wisely and go to the beach, go out with friends, do whatever it is that you enjoy.
Stay healthy-get yourself in a healthy routine that involves some type of physical activity. Getting yourself in a rhythm prior to law school will greatly aid in coping with stress during your time in school.
Take at least one week before the start of the fall semester and do something you enjoy that isn’t law related every day that week. The worst thing you can do is start off your semester stressed and burned out. There will be plenty of time for that once exams roll around.
WHILE IN LAW SCHOOL
In law school, do not expect straight A’s. The fact is, only 10% of you will be in the top 10%, and even the top 10% are pulling a B+ or A- average, so be realistic. Just try your best, and if at the end of the semester you have no regrets about how hard you worked, than just be glad you go to a school that doesn’t require a certain number of people to fail, and move on with your life.
Get to know 2L’s/3L’s – not only will these people be valuable resources when looking for a job later down the line, but they will also be able to provide you with old outlines and study materials and may also be able to clue you in on what certain professors mainly test on.
Go to Office Hours with your professors – building relationships with professors is critical. They can be used as references to write letters of recommendation and may prove extremely helpful when searching for jobs.
Remember why you applied to law school in the first place. Everyone has a reason, so keep your goals in mind and that will help you keep law school, studying, and job searching in proper perspective.
Keep track of your progress – this will make you feel better about what you have accomplished and it will keep you motivated.
Use past exams to study – this is the KEY! After you are done with your outlines, study by taking past exams. This way you will get accustom to the exam style of the professor. Most of the professors have their past exams available to be printed (for free) in the Research Center.
Highlighters are your friends. Use them well and often.
Do not neglect the things that are most important to you while in law school. Whether it’s spending time with friends or playing a particular sport or calling your mom every night, make time for the things you enjoy. Just because you’re in law school doesn’t mean you should stop living, and taking time for non-law-school things will help you to do better in school.
The people you go to school with will become some of your best friends and will be your professional peers for years to come. Be nice and don’t create a bad reputation for yourself.
Take classes you aren’t sure you’re interested in. Sometimes the random classes you take to fill up your schedule are the ones that end up being most interesting and may lead you to a career you never would have thought of.
Do an externship or clinic. The hands-on legal experience you gain not only makes law school more exciting but also looks great on your resume and will give you a leg up in the job application process.
Try to gain experience in a variety of legal areas. While you might be set on one specific type of law, you never know what jobs will be available when you graduate and it is good to be marketable in various fields.
Take your upper level writing before your final semester – you will be over it by then and it’s hard to focus.
Enjoy your time here! It will fly by and before you know it you’re heading out into the real world.
Don’t take your Legal Writing and Research classes for granted.
Don’t be afraid of criticism or the word “No”.
Don’t pass on a job opportunity while in school just because it does not pay: that experience can either turn into a job opportunity or help develop transferable skills and knowledge that can be used later on in another job.
Get to know the law librarians: they are super helpful and great assets for your research projects.
Get involved in the school’s co-curricular originations (Mock Trial, Moot Court, Law Review, etc.).
Turn disappointments into character builders.
Find a mentor: many organizations on campus offer mentorship programs that will allow you to have a lawyer and/or judge help you throughout law school and even later on in your professional career.
Always be yourself.
Come with an open mind: you may find out that you are interested in subjects you never thought you would want to pursue.
Find your own way and do what works for you.
Get to know (and be nice to) your classmates: you never know who is going to be a future judge or on the hiring committee for a firm that you want to work for.
Take advantage of being in a state capital. Go watch the legislature or visit any of the numerous courts in town to hear cases.
Do a grad check at the end of every year that way you won’t miss a requirement and have an issue with graduation!
Most importantly, have fun! Law school can be extremely stressful at times but in the end it’s worth it.
Learn more about the College of Law and hear from some of our students why we were the right choice for them!
We have an exceptional group of students who serve as Student Ambassadors to the College of Law. Check out our updated Ambassador page that now showcases videos of advice to prospective students. You can also feel free to email any of our Ambassadors to ask additional questions. We hope that one day you might decide to come tour the College of Law and meet them in person!
When I enrolled at Florida State University College of Law I knew the location of the school would provide me excellent opportunities to gain valuable legal experience. Last spring, I had the opportunity to be a law clerk at the Office of the Attorney General of Florida. There, I researched case law and legal issues, wrote briefs that were submitted on behalf of the state, and attended oral arguments at the First District Court of Appeals. This spring, I’m working in the state capital at the Governor’s Office, assigned specifically to the Office of Policy and Budget.
What I didn’t know was how limitless the opportunity could be. During an extremely competitive application process, among many qualified law students across the country, I was fortunate enough to receive an offer to be a legal intern for the U.S. Army JAG Corps 4,750 miles away in Kaiserslautern, Germany for the summer of 2012. Since my internship I have received an offer to be an attorney and officer in the U.S. Air Force JAG Corps.
Law students that join any branch of the JAG Corps, whether the Army, Navy, Marines, or Air Force, will be directly commissioned as a high ranking officer with a quick promotion schedule and will incur a four-year commitment to the Armed Forces. Expect your day as an attorney to be interrupted by workouts, as they’re mandatory. And once or twice a year, a physical fitness test will be required.
Judge Advocates frequently rotate among different areas of law. Even if you’re the best prosecutor that has ever tried a Court-Martial, expect to see yourself at the other table as defense counsel within a few years. Other than Military Justice, Judge Advocates will also give Legal Assistance at some time in their career, which will involve a lot of family law. If deployed, there’s an opportunity to practice Operational Law and be responsible for abiding by the Rules of Engagement, Geneva Convention, and Law of War.
Administrative Law is an area that requires Judge Advocates to give legal review of torts (such as negligently wrecking a Hummer) against the government. And in Claims, Judge Advocates will evaluate whether an Armed Forces member is due compensation because of government negligence. Other areas of law include Labor Law and Fiscal Law.
My experience with the JAG Corps has been nothing but positive and it’s a fun way to “practice law,” if you call flying in a Blackhawk practicing law. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. I look forward to hearing from you and Go Noles!
Nelson Faerber, 3L
With each new year comes new opportunities. The College of Law Admissions staff is back on the road and hopefully heading to a location near you. Below you will find our spring 2013 recruitment schedule. If you would like to set up a time to meet with us please email email@example.com.
Over the past five months representatives from the College of Law have had the privilege to go on the road and meet with many prospective fall 2013 law students! We have been all over the US in search of those who would be a good fit for the Florida State community. From New York to LA and Miami to Wisconsin, we met with over 1,200 of you. We have received applications from many of you and look forward to receiving applications from the rest. We apologize if we were unable to meet with you this fall, but hope that we can do so in the spring or we would love to have you visit Tallahassee and the College of Law.
From January to April we will be traveling regionally giving presentations and meeting with individual prospective students. Specifically, we will be visiting schools throughout Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Be on the lookout for specific dates and locations at http://www.law.fsu.edu/prospective_students/index.html under the Recruiting Calendar link.
If you would like to schedule a visit to the College of Law please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office at 850.644.3787. We have opportunities available Monday through Friday for you to tour the school with a Student Ambassador, observe classes and meet with an admissions representative.
Best regards and happy holidays! We will see you on the road!
When applying to law school you will often times seek advice from those you find to be “wise” such as your parents, friends, siblings, mentor, or psychic. Here at the College of Law we find that the best advice about applying to law school comes from those who have dominated the dreaded application process and come out fighting with not only letters of acceptance but the opportunity to attend the Greatest Law School Ever (in our humble opinion). We have asked these students to grace you with their sage advice so that you too may find the law school that is perfect for you!
1Ls have their schedules set by section. There’s no decision involved, and the schedulers space classes through the course of the week to keep loads manageable. 2Ls are able to select their own schedules, and the first thing that disappears is Friday class—there just aren’t many that are scheduled. You can get into a different productive rhythm when you have the 3-day weekend block to manage on your own.
By this semester, my first of 3L year, I was confident enough in my time management skills to take on a class slate that falls exclusively on Monday and Wednesday, with an occasional weekend seminar. I like having entire days of the week open to self-schedule reading, work, and assignments on my own time. It does lead to a true full Monday, where I remain at the law school from 9 to 5.
I begin my day in Patent Law, taught by Professor Abbott. The subject is one in flux after a major revision enacted in the past year, so as we march through the cases, the professor continually brings the discussion back to how the new framework might affect outcomes, and how rules from other jurisdictions will affect the actions taken by sophisticated international actors.
I then go directly to Criminal Procedure, taught by one of the strongest lecturers at FSU law, Professor Logan. The class is in one of the smaller rooms, but every seat is taken. Criminal Procedure is largely about your rights in interactions with police. It is one of those courses that answers the questions non lawyer friends will be asking you forever, and it reveals how well or poorly done a lot of popular law and cop shows are produced.
By the time Crim-Pro is finished its 12:30 and I usually stay on campus and get lunch from one of the many student groups that bring in speakers each week. My next class of the day isn’t until 3:00, but it is a writing seminar so often I need the time beforehand to review the articles for that day’s discussion.
The final class of the day is Emerging Issues in Energy Law, taught by Professor H.Wiseman. It is a fundamentally different type of class than the earlier lectures. Every student needs to take a course to fulfill an upper level writing requirement (ULWR) before they graduate. This one is mine. ULWRs are smaller classes that let you explore a topic of law more deeply. Each class some small facet of the topic is up for discussion—for example we may focus on regulation of offshore wind turbines and oil platforms—but the lion’s share of the grade comes from a legal research paper developed throughout the course of the semester.
By 5 my full Monday is finally completed. It is a long stretch, but I have no classes Tuesday or Thursday, and I am done by 12:30 on Wednesday. The work that goes into all these Monday classes is spread out at my convenience for the rest of the week. I just get the flexibility to work at home, in our research center, in the reading room, or at a park or café around town.
David Henning, 3L
Each year the College of Law hosts a “Rivalry Week” leading up to the much anticipated Florida vs. Florida State football game. For those who are Florida natives or did their undergrad at a state institution, the UF/FSU rivalry is one you know all too well, but for those who are just arriving in the sunshine state it is a concept that bewilders many. In honor of this year’s rivalry week here is a brief history:
The rivalry originated in 1958 between the only two state of Florida institutions at that time - University of Florida and Florida State University. Since then the two teams have meet on the football field a total of 56 times with the University of Florida leading the series, 33-21-2. Currently Florida State University holds a two game winning streak.
Rivalry week is a big deal each year here at the College of Law. Below you can enjoy some photos of this year’s festivities. No matter if you are a FSU fan, a UF fan, or an LSU fan – rivalry week is a great time for all of the students and staff!