Before starting law school, I heard about the importance of building relationships with professors. As a first-generation law student, I am learning as I go and the idea of going to office hours seemed a little intimidating; I didn’t know what to expect. A word to the wise: Office Hours are CRUCIAL to being successful. The truth is that law school is difficult, some topics seem foreign to many student\s, and exams require students to actually have an in-depth understanding of the material. There is absolutely no way to “fake” your way through a law school exam. Fortunately, I was blessed with a “dynamic duo” of legal research and writing professors. Shout out to Professor Bensinger and Professor Der!
Professor Bensinger, my writing professor, truly cares about her students and wants to see them succeed. On my first writing assignment, I was underwhelmed by my grade. I did not do poorly, but I did not perform as well as I had hoped. Full disclosure: I only met with Professor Bensinger once before this assignment was due. Because I have always done well in writing courses before law school, I thought I knew exactly what to do. Cut to the second writing assignment: I was determined to gain a higher grade this time around. I met with Bensinger a few times and sent her emails. Each time, she was gracious and incredibly helpful. When I saw my grade this time, I was thrilled.
Bensinger played a huge role in helping me feel more comfortable about the legal writing style and what was expected to earn a high grade. When you think about it, it just makes sense. Why would you not want to hear firsthand what is expected for a paper/exam from the person grading it? Each professor is different and will be looking for specific things in your answers. By going to office hours, you are better prepared and can then let the “A”s come rolling in.
My research professor, Professor Der, makes herself readily available to students via office hours and emails. Obviously, legal research is an unavoidable necessity in the life of a practicing attorney. Although you might think it is incredibly boring, Der helps get students interested. One of our assignments was a hypothetical about helping Hermione research a problem for Harry Potter. Side-note: I’m a Gryffindor. If you email her a question, Professor Der will typically respond within 24 hours. She really wants students to do well and will do her best to make them comfortable with an assignment. The takeaway here is simple: Be as dedicated as a Hufflepuff when getting to know your professors and as ambitious as a Slytherin to take the knowledge they have given you to get those “A”s!!! And also…Professor Bensinger and Professor Der are awesome.