Law school is often characterized by vague, fear-inducing comments (i.e., the common, ominous advice “Don’t go to law school” and articles like this one). It’s time for a change. So join me this year for a transparent peek into Life at NYU Law!
General: An extrovert’s playground, an introvert’s nightmare (and because NYU Law provides free MBTI testing for 1Ls, we know students are generally split about evenly between these categories!). For the Class of 2020, 427 1Ls were entering the law-student crucible in tandem for four days; the more “intimate” events included the student-section lunches and the smaller Lawyering section classes. Orientation will be your best opportunity to meet students from outside your section, so walk up to a random group of people and say hello… what can you lose?
If you’re entering as an LLM student, prepare to be showered in NYU Law gear (if you’re as lucky as the LLM Class of 2018)! If you’re an incoming JD student, prepare to be a little envious of the LLMs.
Events: Wonderful and useful presentations from various school centers, student organization receptions, a briefing-a-case walkthrough, and moot court (FYI: many of us fearfully believed we had to participate, but students only watch the masterful argument).
What to Wear?: Break out whatever makes you comfortable and looks snappy! Your classmates are your future friends and colleagues. (The majority of people wore casual or business casual.)
What to Do Before Orientation?: Sign up for the Coases listserv (to find students selling/buying items—especially cheap, used textbooks for your 1L classes), move to NYC early to get settled, make time to explore the city, purchase your textbooks, get your student ID….
I won’t belabor this orientation point, because one of my predecessors wrote a very helpful blog post on what to expect! Main takeaways: 1) Join the NYU Law Class of 20xx page. 2) Arrive in NYC at least a week before Orientation. 3) Have fun!
2. First Weeks of Class
General: NYU Law professors do everything they can to ensure an optimal learning environment—from bringing props to class to acting out cases, professors encourage engagement and discussion (and laughs!).
The dreaded “cold-calling” takes different forms at NYU:
1) Traditional cold-calling: pick a random student in the room without prior notice and ask them about the reading; or
2) Panel: you and any number of classmates are notified ahead of time that you will speak on the reading.
Some professors do not allow laptops or internet use in class.
Get to class early if you have a seat preference! Seat assignments for the semester are generally made on the first or second day of class.
All of your 1L classes (except for your smaller Lawyering course and your spring elective) are with the same 80-something people—aka your section.
What to Bring?: backpack or bag, writing utensils + notebook, laptop (if you prefer to take notes on your computer).
3. Joining Student Organizations
General: A 1L can be a committee member or 1L representative for various groups. General duties for 1Ls include chalking (writing event info on chalkboards throughout the Law School), creating social media posts, and helping with event setup/cleanup. Join listservs early in the year to hear about events, volunteer opportunities, and applications for 1L positions. Student organizations are a great way to meet fellow law students with similar passions.
Events: A Student Group Fair will be held early in the semester (this year, it was on September 13). There, you can visit all of the student org tables (beware: the room is not large enough for how many students attend—you likely won’t be able to see many clubs’ tables or signs, so you may want to make a list of orgs you are potentially interested in beforehand). Events generally promise free food for the starving-law-student market, so be sure to mark your calendars!
Bonus: Stop by the Law Women table and their first event—they give out free totes!