Getting accepted to law school is exciting – but the hard work isn’t over just because you are accepted. As with most academic programs, how you perform in school can impact opportunities post-graduation. For law students, this begins during the first year. Your performance can impact several opportunities whether you are in a part-time or full-time program. Here are a few ways your first year can impact your law school trajectory:

  • serve as a mentor to peersScholarships: At Western State, we offer merit-based scholarships to eligible new and continuing students. These scholarships can only be used to cover tuition. Students can earn a  scholarship based on their GPA each year. The amount offered is dependent on the cumulative GPA, underscoring the importance of starting law school strong.
  • Dean’s Fellows: Second- and third-year law students who have demonstrated a commitment to the law school community, in addition to academic success, can be selected to serve in a mentorship role for peers. This is a great opportunity for students to exhibit their leadership and mentorship skills and can support their resume in the future.
  • Honor’s Moot Court Team: Honors Moot Court is an appellate advocacy competition team offered at many law schools where students can participate in simulated court proceedings. At Western State, the Legal Writing and Research II class is required during the second semester for all first-year students. This course not only builds upon the research and writing skills taught in the first semester, but also introduces persuasion and oral advocacy. During the semester, students learn to write a variety of persuasive legal documents and develop and grow their oral argument and brief writing skills. At the conclusion of the semester, all students participate in a 1L Moot Court Competition by presenting their arguments before a panel of real lawyers and judges. Students who demonstrate excellence in both their oral argument and brief writing are invited to join the Honors Moot Court team where they compete against students from other law schools and gain valuable experience arguing in front of lawyers and judges who are experts in their field. Participating on this team is a high distinction on a resume and helps set applicants apart when applying to jobs.
  • Summer Honors Program: Western State’s Summer Honors Program is available to first-year students who have earned a GPA of 2.8 or higher during their first two semesters. Those who are eligible are invited to apply by submitting a statement of interest. If selected, Western State’s Career Resources Department helps identify and secure an internship or externship that fits their specific interests. These real-world experiences are not only beneficial to allow students to grow their resume and put their learning into action – Western State further supports these select students by paying for the credits associated with the externship or by offering a cash stipend for students with otherwise unpaid internship opportunities.

honors moot court team impact on trajectoryYour first year of law school is extremely important and can help set the foundation for the rest of your law school experience. Check out these additional tips from our alumni on how to succeed during your first year.