First-year law students need to concentrate on time management

Lauren Williams's picture

First-year law students need to concentrate on time management, says John Marshall Law School Associate Dean 

With school resuming next month, it’s an appropriate time for incoming first-year law students to give some thought to strategies for success. William Powers, associate dean for Admission and Student Affairs at Chicago’s John Marshall Law School, has some advice for the new students.

“The students who are most successful are the ones who manage their time the best,” Powers said. 

He advises new students that going to law school is like having a full-time job with overtime, where the amount of overtime varies depending on workload.

“Obviously, toward the end, with exams approaching, you are going to have more overtime,” Powers said. “Early on, you might also have some overtime just because you are trying to get the hang of how to study for law school.”

New students need to decide whether they need to read a case one time or five times before they understand it, for example, and they also need to learn how to brief a case. 

One of the issues with time management for students is whether to get a job—for either purely financial reasons or because it would look good on a resume--or to get involved with student organizations.

“If you don’t have to work, especially for the first semester, I would forego working so that you make sure you are getting the hang of law school and you can spend all the time you need on studying,” Powers said.

But Powers advises students to try to get involved with organizations or events at their schools as they present myriad networking opportunities and inform students about the wide variety of legal careers available to them.

About The John Marshall Law School

The John Marshall Law School, founded in 1899, is an independent law school located in the heart of Chicago’s legal, financial and commercial districts. Through classes, clinics and special programs, students develop the strategic, analytical and transactional lawyering skills that are so valuable to employers. Its excellent curriculum, coupled with outstanding skills and experiential learning, help make John Marshall graduates practice-ready from day one. For practicing attorneys, John Marshall offers nine LLM degrees, more than any other law school in the Midwest.  John Marshall is also a leader in providing distance education options in intellectual property, estate planning and employee benefits at the advanced graduate degree level.   John Marshall offers six clinical experiences, including the nationally recognized Veterans Legal Support Center & Clinic and the Fair Housing Legal Clinic.  U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Graduate Schools 2014 edition ranks John Marshall’s Lawyering Skills Program second and its Intellectual Property Law program 12th in the nation.