Preparing the summer before law school is highly controversial among pre-law students. Many argue that it’s unnecessary or even harmful. Ask about summer studying, and the response will be that you’ll learn everything you need to know in law school and that there’s no need to confuse yourself the summer before. But I take a different view.
I think 0L prep can be one the best ways to spend the summer before law school. I did plenty of preparation the summer before I started, and I think it made a big difference. But not all preparation is worth your time. So I’ve made a list below of the best ways to prepare for law school.
Just remember that none of the resources below trump your professors. If anything you read contradicts what your professor says later, assume your professor is correct.
Law School Exam Books
There are a lot of books on how to take a law school exam. And there’s a good reason for that: law school exams are incredibly difficult. The format is probably different from any other you have ever encountered, and many students do poorly their first year simply because they don’t know how to best handle the law school exam format.
This makes it very worth your while to read up on exams. I read many of these books before starting law school, and I think it was major part of my success. My personal favorite was Open Book, but Getting to Maybe is also very good. The important thing is to learn what these exams are like and how to start preparing for them early in the semester.
Short and Happy Books
The Short and Happy Guides provide you with simple, condensed versions of all the classes you will take your first year. I highly recommend reading through the guide for each of your 1L courses, especially Torts, Contracts, Property, and Criminal Law. These books are not terribly long and do a great job of introducing you to the topics.
Legal Writing Books
Many legal writing teachers expect you to know the basics of good writing before you ever step foot into the class room for your first day of class. This probably is not fair, but it is reality. So I suggest you read up on what good legal writing looks like. My personal favorites are Legal Writing in Plain English and Plain English for Lawyers. Your professors will thank you if learn the lessons from these books in advance.