This post is part of the "Advice for Starting Law School Series." This series of posts contains advice and opinions from current and former students at BYU Law School, and the ideas represented herein are not the official views or positions of BYU Law School.
Click on a name below to read their advice for 3L year.
Advice from Aline Longstaff, '16
What three pieces of advice would you give a 3L?1. Say "yes." It is your last year, so say “yes” to co-curricular activities, classes you find interesting but have not taken yet, attending noon-lectures or events, or even spending time with law school friends. Although you've become acquainted with the law school over the past two years, there are still lots of new things to learn that can shape the way that you plan for your future. Take advantage of the various opportunities associated with the law school community. 2. Get out of your comfort zone. As a 3L, it is easy to get comfortable at the law school. This may be a relief, because if your law experience was like mine, this is the day you never thought would come. However, it is important to also continue to challenge yourself. The lessons I value most from my 3L year come from situations where I was out of my comfort zone. Write a paper, take a difficult class, or find ways that allow you to tune skills that will make you a better attorney and person. 3. It is okay not to have every detail of the future planned out. Post-law school life can seem overwhelming, especially if you are not entirely sure what you will be doing directly after graduation. The good news is that there is still time to figure this out. Take advantage of the resources available at the law school to explore different employment opportunities. Be creative in how you think about your career path. Talk to professors about your goals and lean on their experiences.
Advice from James Grossman, '16
What three pieces of advice would you give a 3L?1. Start searching for work early. If your 2L summer work experience doesn't land you the job you were hoping for, start looking for employment now. Most of my contemporaries believed that job hunting would be best during the second semester. However, to their dismay, they soon discovered (as did I) that most, if not all, of the employment opportunities had been taken. Thus, start your employment search at the beginning of the school year. 2. Get involved. My favorite year at BYU Law had to be my last. It wasn't because classes got easier or the work became lighter. To the contrary: I took 17 credits, worked three jobs, was part of three club boards, and participated in three (and ran at least one) co-curriculars. I loved it. Sure, I was tired, but the rewards of getting to know my faculty and fellow students on a more personal level made up for any lack of sleep. Getting involved helped me become a better person and future lawyer. 3. Don't take yourself too seriously. Sometimes we want the job, the grade, the prestige, the fame, the honor, or the award, and we want it right now. We can even get down on ourselves when our plans don't turn out as anticipated. In these tough times, just remember that you are already an incredible individual by virtue of who you are and the school you attend. In the eyes of everyone around you, you are the cream of the crop. So don't take yourself too seriously.
What should a 3L expect in the coming year?Expect to see the fruits of your labor. After two years of slaving, sewing, and enduring, now is the time to reap. Whether it be in a job offer, making and sustaining eternal friendships, or finally understanding the rule against perpetuity, the fruit of success and knowledge of which you have been waiting for is now yours. So enjoy it and don't squander it.
Based on what you've learned, what would you advise 3L's to do differently than you did during 3L year?Take non-bar classes. I took mostly bar classes. Bar classes are the classes that teach the specific subjects that will be on your bar exam. Of course it is not a bad decision to take them; however, if your passions lie elsewhere, enjoy your remaining year by taking subjects and studying under professors that bring you the greatest sense of joy and satisfaction. Any bar class not taken in law school will be made up for in your subsequent bar class.
What fears and misconceptions did you have about law school when you started?Fear of not having a job and having student loans. If anyone has this fear, then I have two pieces of advice: first, take a deep breath; and second, go to work! It's your future employment. BYU Law's career services can help in every way, but at the end of day, you are responsible for your own employment. So get to work by networking, applying, and being in locations where attorneys will be. Lastly, if you don't have the dream job (or a job for that matter) by the end of the year, like me, it is not the end of the world. Again, take a deep breath, say a prayer, ask for help, and don't give up. Sometimes you will have to take steps back in order to take steps forward. But in the end, you will make it. I know you will.
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