1. I am not nearly as smart as I thought I was. Being smart in a class of smart people isn't easy. It was instructive to heed our professors' advice to keep in mind that every single one of us had always been the smartest at what we had done before, and now we were all assembled in the same law school class. To encourage us to keep our perspective on what we were doing, one professor joked, "What did the snail say as he rode on the turtle's back?"
2. There's nothing shameful about hitting the curve. Or, for that matter, hitting well below the curve...
3. ...Because law school grades demonstrate nothing about how hard you worked or how well you knew the material.
4. The Socratic method will shatter you.
5. But that's not always such a bad thing.
6. How well you do in law school will tell you nothing about how well you will do in the practice of law.
7. Law school is like a curio cabinet of characters.
8. My professors knew when we were playing solitaire, minesweeper, or were reading from a commercial outline in class.
9. If done correctly, 1L year will be the most rewarding.
10. The best decision I made in law school was to MAKE FRIENDS, and make friends early. You're going to be staring at these people for 3 years, might as well make a good time out of it.
11. How to think like a lawyer.
12. How to drink like a lawyer.
13. Thinking like a lawyer will only serve to terrorize your friends and family for the first few months. Keep it in check.
14. Examples & Explanations on everything. Get it.
15. The Supreme Court's sole reason for being is to make people ask, "What the...?"
16. The law is a jealous mistress.
17. You will love it as much as you hate it.
18. Saying no to some social events is ok. Saying no to all social events in favor of sitting in the library, color-coding your tabs and highlighters, reading Wright & Miller to supplement your Civ Pro prowess will not be nearly as rewarding a life experience.
19. It is essential to keep in mind what drove you to attend law school in the first place. If you don't know, that's ok too. Just make sure you take time to reflect on what skills you have, what skills you want, and what you value in your present and future experiences. People? Technology? Economics? Policy? A particular lifestyle? Let those help you make your decisions.
20. You will be surrounded by people with diverse life experiences. Take advantage of that.
21. 1L summer will be the time to get a new experience without completely committing to something. Try criminal work, or policy work, or international work. (I, of course, would encourage EVERYONE to do public defender or capital trial work their first summer. If you like it, you'll love it. If you don't like it, your world view will be so much the better for it).
22. To be continued.
What did you learn your 1L year?