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12 New Year’s resolutions for aspiring lawyers

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From networking and work experience to essay planning and applications — how many will you keep?

As 2022 draws to a close, the Legal Cheek team has put together our top 12 New Year’s resolutions to help aspiring lawyers make the most out of 2023.

1. Do the required reading

WestLaw and online case summaries can only do for so long, and with exam season looming it’s time to finally read that case law you were meant to in week one.

2. Successfully network at an event

We all love a good piece of pizza or freebie, but here’s to hoping we start using networking events for their intended purpose in 2023. There will be plenty of opportunities to do so at Legal Cheek events.

3. Find a law bestie

Having someone who understands the struggle can really help you get through the application season. Plus, it’s always useful to have a proofreader on hand.

4. Finish that half-done application

Applications can be tough, especially some questions, and we know there’s always one you say you’ll finish but never do. New year, new you. Finish it!

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5. Learn from rejections

We all know the pain of rejection, but learning from your mistakes is one of the best ways to give yourself the best chance of getting that all important TC offer.

6. Don’t leave essays until the night before

However tempting it is to make it a ‘future you’ problem, it’s the most satisfying thing when you can hand in an essay in good time having actually proofread it.

7. Join a society

It looks good on your CV, will give you some much needed break from revising and will help you get out of the law school bubble.

8. Don’t be afraid to ask your lecturers for help

Sometimes it’s easy to sit in your room panicking about not understanding a complex Equity & Trusts issue, but it’s so much better to talk to your lecturers/seminar leaders about any issues you have. It may be scary at first, but you’ll be thankful you did it in the long run!

9. Make sure you keep your notes organised

It can be easy to think that you’ve got months to go until your summer exams, but exam season will come around quicker than you think. You’ll be grateful to your past self if you make sure that you don’t have any unanswered questions or incomplete notes when you come to revise in a few months’ time.

10. Get some work experience

Applying for vac schemes can be tough, and getting some experience in different firms can be really valuable whilst you learn more about what it is like to be a lawyer and wait for that acceptance email.

11. Look after yourself

Ready meals and all nighters can be tempting, but sometimes putting on a face mask and getting an early night is exactly what your body needs in the middle of a busy semester.

12. Make 2023 your best year yet!

Even though law school can be hard, it’s such a great time to make friends, learn more about yourself and live independently. Make the most of it!

Here’s to 2023!

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10 Comments

Anonymous

+ 13) Don’t apply to DWF.

You’ll ever get a pay rise – as it is just a sticking plaster, after all.

Anonymous

I think aspiring lawyers ought to brace themselves in terms of working for toxic partners. When I was a law student, I wish I was warned about how toxic the legal industry can be.

Go find your safe space and stay there

Labelling something “toxic” is so lazy and just means the subject of the term has characteristics the commenter does not like. Partners made it because they had what the partnership considered would make money. If you don’t like long hours and being told what to do then don’t expect a lucrative career as a solicitor, snowflake.

Nope Nope Nope

13. Stop Reading Legal Cheek

Years ago, when I was studying, Legal Cheek was a genuinely valuable resource. Even though the articles were poor, the comment sections were full of gossip and humour and controversy. I actually learnt a lot about the London legal landscape just from what was written in the comments.

Nowadays the comments are sanitised, and the model has shifted from enticing visitors to enticing advertisers.

Bonus Paterfamilias

Why not actually stop reading Legal Cheek, instead of whinging in the comments about how you are going to stop reading Legal Cheek?

The Big Lie

The biggest lie of law school surfaces again: reading cases. Why waste your precious time reading hundreds of pages of cases when there are perfectly good summaries available online and in textbooks, written by professors and/or top students?

Barrister

Whilst I would hesitate to say this out loud, what The Big Lie says is very true. What one needs to remember is that judgments are not designed to clarify the law. Rather, they are designed to resolve the specific dispute between the parties, and they simply happen to clarify the law in the process.

The vast majority of any given judgment is of little value to students/lawyers. This is especially true for first instance decisions (where much of the judgment is concerned with facts/evidence). Even at appellate level, the trend nowadays is for courts to give massive history lessons, where they spend page upon page going over the development of the law.

When you’re a barrister in the Supreme Court, appealing a point of law – yes, make sure you’ve read the relevant cases in full. When you’re at law school, however, all you need to know is the ratio together with any contentious aspects of the judgment and matters left open/unanswered.

Old Guy

Echo these comments. If you’re going to become a transactional private practice or inhouse solicitor (or even do something else on-legal after your degree), most of the time, there is absolutely no need to read cases in full. As a student I would always recommend reading a few for knowledge, interest or if working on an essay on that topic. Some recent landmark judgments summarise the law very well and can be useful e.g. Leggatt in Blue v Ashley for contract law. However case summaries are sufficient 95% of the time. Its more important to read what academics/practitioners say about the law or practice (really practice) applying case decisions to complex facts for problem questions.

Dim Associate

I have often found these history lessons given in appeals to be of more use in clarifying concepts around the development of law in a particular area as far more useful than all of the text books and lectures put together.

They give a succinct run through of all the important cases and the effect that each one had on the law – very useful imo.

Not saying that this is a reason to read the cases but it is definitely one of the benefits.

Anonymous

I will try to learn from being rejected!

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