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January 04, 2017

How to prepare for your first case

Your Law Career Starts in the First Year of Law School

Before they enter law school, many students dream about litigating cases, and once they have begun their legal education, the road to filing petitions, preparing answers, discovery, jury selection, and trial can seem far away. However, it does not have to be that way—preparing to be a successful litigator can begin in your first year of law school.

Prepare for Your Litigation Career Now

The first year in law school is challenging but can also be a very exciting endeavor, especially for students who know what kind of law they would like to practice after graduation. After all, many of us have watched Law and Order and various John Grisham movies and decided we would like to litigate cases before we even got to college.

Share Your Interests

Many professors in my law school were former practitioners and some even teach in those areas in which they were previously practicing. What was more impressive to me was that many practicing attorneys teach civil litigation courses and supervise mock trial teams—which I highly recommend for any students who are interested in litigation. If a student is enthusiastic and passionate about a certain area of the law, it will show, and is a key to forming relationships outside of the law school, building bridges to your first case. Share your interests with your classmates and find common ground.

Get Outside of the Classroom

When I was in law school, many people placed a big emphasis on networking, which initially seemed a daunting task to me, but it does not have to be that way. First-year students can join the American Bar Association or a local bar association in their area and attend some fun events they have planned throughout the year.

Think Ahead

It is important to start thinking early about what kind of law firms interest you. Does a big firm match your personality or would you fit better in a smaller practice? Engage career services at your law school and find out what firms participate in your law school’s on-campus interviewing program. Determine what grades that type of firm requires and work hard to achieve those goals!

Author: Sanja Ord
Firm: Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C.
Location: St. Louis, Missouri