f you’re anything like I was as a 2L, you might be thinking you can relax a bit now that you have more control over your law school schedule. But, while it might be tempting to take it easy when you return to school, the truth is that your 2L year is the time for you to begin to chart a course for your future success. And that means working even harder than you did your first year.
Even though you’ve already registered for your fall semester courses, that doesn’t mean there’s no room to switch things up. Some classes might have re-opened, so check back often to see if you can nab a spot. Remember, even though some classes are very popular, they might be infrequently offered, or the professor might go on an unexpected sabbatical, so if there is a course that you are dying to take or need for the completion of a certificate program, don’t put it off.
Also, don’t be lured into the trap of easing back into law school by taking fewer credits. You will find that your 3L year affords less time to study as you begin working, participating in legal clinics, editing journals, or traveling across the country for moot court competitions. Your 2L year is the best opportunity you will have to load up on credits so that you will be able to comfortably balance your 3L coursework with a job and extra-curricular activities.
Now is the time to begin to develop your professional resume, and that means selecting activities and joining organizations that will help you hone your skills and allow you to nurture important relationships with your future colleagues.
Writing for a journal, especially Law Review, is undoubtedly, one of the more prestigious law school activities to consider, and, naturally, an excellent addition to any resume. Many schools also offer journals that specialize in different areas of law such as Health Law, Intellectual Property, Human Rights, even Sports Law, so there are many opportunities to distinguish yourself and improve your research and writing skills along the way.
Moot Court is another great way to develop your courtroom prowess, and most offer opportunities to compete in a variety of ways, whether it be the Trial Team or Appellate Advocacy. Another great thing about Moot Court is that you will get extra practice writing briefs, which is helpful for legal writing and drafting classes. Not to mention that being part of a Moot Court team will stand you in good stead to ace your Trial Advocacy classes!
If neither of these options appeals to you, consider seeking leadership opportunities in one of the various campus student organizations. Being active on an executive board will afford you many opportunities to plan events, mentor incoming students, and, most importantly, network with alumni. Many such organizations will even fund board members’ trips to national conventions—another great way to grow your professional network and meet potential employers.
Tell us how you are spending your summer! Are you taking it easy, or already preparing for 2L? And 3Ls, what advice do you have for your 2L brethren? What do you wish you had done before beginning your 2L year?
Don’t forget to check back soon for Part 2, which will focus on preparing for OCI season!