Maximizing Skills-Based Classes in Law School
Law school is very good at helping students critical thinking skills, thinking logically, and making decisions based on finely-tuned logic.
Logic, however, will not help you learn how to do client intake, manage client expectations, or help clients make tough decisions. If you place on emphasis on developing these, and other practical skills, you will come out of law school with an advantage over your peers.
Simulations are like sandboxes
Many skills-based classes emphasize simulations as the way to develop practical skills. If you are a law student, think of these simulations as your sandbox. Simulations are your chance to try different strategies, approaches, and think outside of the box. Law school is your chance to learn without real consequences.
It can be hard to take simulations seriously. Maybe your classmate is pretending to be the client and you cannot take them seriously. Maybe you have to negotiate a contract with your classmate that is your best friend or your worst enemy.
To the best extent possible, engage in the experience. This is your chance to counsel a client, or figure out your negotiating style. Believe it or not, your friends may become your clients someday. Even more likely is that your good friend or worst enemy will be opposing counsel someday. Use simulations to figure out what works and what does not work, along with potential strengths and weaknesses of various approaches.
Simulations are your chance to try something, screw up, and learn from it. Many times, you will try something and succeed—laying the foundation for future success. Either way, getting a free practice run is a good thing. When you are an attorney fresh out of law school, having those experiences are incredibly beneficial.
Make the most of your time in the sandbox.
(Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/trommetter/128400664)