Perspectives from a 3L (and Transfer): Taking Advantage of Your Final Semester

A mere two years ago, I was crippled with anxiety over my fall 1L grades. The importance I attached to my grades at the time wasn’t for the usual reason—Early Interview Week—but rather because I was intent on transferring to a school outside of Virginia.

Vanderbilt Hall courtyard and arch
Before you pass under that arch for the final time, make sure to take those courses you were always interested in.

Fast-forward through an internship at EPA, a whirlwind year at a new school, and another internship at a firm, and I now find myself facing the last semester of law school. Relief? Yes. Excited? Absolutely. And yet, I am bittersweet about the prospect of leaving school forever.

3L year is hectic—juggling classes, extracurriculars, and bar prep—but it’s also the last opportunity to be a student. By October, I will be in an office working long hours as a junior associate. I won’t have the opportunity to take classes that might not be particularly useful to my field but are fascinating. Rather than taking a step back, I encourage everyone to go full throttle during their last semester of law school. Interested in a clinic but daunted that it will take up 12 hours of your week? Go for it! Want to get into a class, albeit a four-credit one, taught by a highly rated professor? Take it!

By this time in your law school career, you’ll have taken most of the classes you need for your field. As someone who chose to do litigation, I have and am continuing to take classes that will help me, such as Evidence, Criminal Procedure, Conflict of Laws, and Complex Litigation. But I still have plenty of room in my schedule to take classes for “fun.” One class I took last semester that is particularly iconic, given the Law School’s proximity to SoHo, is Fashion Law and Business, which is offered jointly by NYU Stern. Each class began with a guest speaker, ranging from the general counsel of Warby Parker to fashion designers, and ended with an eye-opening discussion of legal cases involving major fashion brands.

Another class I am taking for “fun” this semester is Family Law with Professor Melissa Murray. While I don’t see myself practicing family law in the future, I really wanted to take a class with Professor Murray after hearing of her fantastic Constitutional Law class. So far, I have no regrets taking this four-credit class. The lectures are current (she’s very much on top of pop culture), stimulating, and full of fascinating cases like Obergefell v. Hodges (the Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide).

Especially for transfer students like me, this semester marks the beginning of a journey that was too short to begin with. It’s the last semester to take advantage of all the opportunities NYU Law offers, opportunities that we may not have had at our first school. I strongly encourage you to seek out classes you’re passionate about, classes that will remind you why you decided to come to law school in the first place.