Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Electives, Concentrations, Classes, Oh My!

Welcome back Jury of Peers! This week we’re talking the lifeblood of law school: classes. During your 1L year, you don’t get to pick any classes yourself – sorry 1L’s – but it’s a blessing and a curse. It’s a curse because you have no control over your schedule but it’s also a blessing because picking classes is SO stressful for me, in a good way!

 I have such a hard time picking classes simply because there are so many courses that look interesting. Basically, outside of Constitutional Law, Ethical Lawyering, and Evidence, you have no more required classes. Even your writing requirement can be filled in lots of different ways. So, you have lots of choices which means you’ve got to be the one who makes all the difficult decisions.

This year I decided I wanted to take courses in the Entertainment law, Corporate law, Criminal law, and International Law. I gravitated toward the first two because those are my primary interests for fields post-graduation. The latter two are classes I wanted to take as Bar Prep and because I was interested in the topic, respectively. I truly liked / am liking all the classes I have.

The nice thing about elective courses is they all build on the concepts you learned in your 1L courses. And they all bleed together. Which is why the courses you take 1L are the courses the school picks for you, because you would miss a lot deferring any of those classes until later in your law school education.

In addition to picking electives, you can choose to do a concentration (think of it like a major) but you don’t have to. One of the advantages if you choose to concentrate in an area is that you can get a separate GPA of all your concentration required courses which can be helpful when applying to jobs in the future.

I went into law school wanting to concentrate in Entertainment Law but after I found so many classes I was interested in that I would have to give up to make time for concentration specific classes, I decided against it. I figured I can give myself a “makeshift” concentration that has more entertainment classes than other things, but I have the freedom to take any class I want.

My advice, come into law school with whatever notion you have of the kind of law you think you might want to practice, but let yourself be open to exploring other things if inspiration strikes you. Law school is kind of a “choose your own adventure” so you can always change directions if you want to – that’s certainly what I did. Older students and faculty are always great to consult with about these dilemmas because we’ve all gone through it!

See you in the next one,