So you're starting Law School this week

Normally this Blog is about Business Law Topics, well, that and the occasional rant about something one of us in the firm is going on about and needs to share with the rest of the universe.

This Blog, however, is addressed to those of you starting Law School this week. If you’re not one of those people, you can still read it, I won’t get mad.

25 years ago this week I hopped on a big old Jet Airliner from the West Coast to take me to Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. Here are a few things that I learned from that first year in Law School:

1. Make friends quickly – these will be friends that are yours for the rest of your life. The more friends you make the better as your professional network will be that much larger throughout your career.

2. Get involved in the clubs that are in the area of law you are interested in. Don’t sign up for Criminal Cases at your Law School’s legal aid clinic if your true interest lies in Business law. However, if you want to litigate any court room experience is good experience, so don’t limit yourself just to civil or criminal.

3. Connect with your Professors so they know who you are. School year and summer jobs with Professors lead to great recommendations and open doors that otherwise might remain closed once you graduate.

4. Don’t just study. Law School is a good time to start that work/life balance many of you will be demanding from your employers in a few years. Make sure that you get in the habit of working out to relieve stress and try to figure out how to eat more than poutine – your future self will thank-you for that.

5. Research the Articling Process within the first month of your first year of Law School. By doing this, you will understand the importance of meeting the law firms that come to your school and will be able to do the things they are looking for in students. Remember, you’ll be interviewing for Articling Positions in 2 years and that time creeps up on you quickly.

6. Not everyone needs to work on Bay Street. If you’re at a Toronto Law School, you’ll be surrounded by people who think the only place to work is at the intersection of King & Bay. It’s not. It is o.k. to want to work to live, not live to work.

7. You have one reputation in our profession: don’t lose it on the pub crawl during the first week, or the boat cruise or the parties.

I enjoyed almost every minute of Law School and I hope the students starting out feel the same way. Good luck to all of you and welcome to our profession!

Inga B. Andriessen JD