By far, the worst part about the second semester of 1L year of law school is getting grades from first semester. Second semester feels like a fresh start, until you see that C from first semester property.

If you thought you got straight A’s, but ended up with something less than that, here are some tips.

Take a deep breath

Getting bad first semester grades can be traumatic, but they are not the end of the world. Frankly, I did okay my first semester—nothing special—but still ended up transferring and graduating with honors from a highly ranked school.

In other words, there is plenty of time to change things and rebound. By the time you graduate, you will not remember how you did first semester of your 1L year.

Be honest with yourself

Did you routinely blow off reading for Friday classes to attend law review? Were you convinced that your immense intellect would get you through finals without studying as much as everyone else?

Most law students work hard—not putting in that extra effort can make a big difference. If you do an honest self-assessment, chances are good you will recognize some areas of improvement.

Get smart about studying

If study guides and wikipedia help you understand cases better—use them. Taking the time to get a 2L or 3L to hand over their outlines is worth the time lost studying. You still need to learn the material, but if you can figure out ways to learn it faster, you will have a leg up.

Studying smarter means you have more time to focus on classes are topics you do not understand. Saving twenty minutes here and there adds up quickly and can make a big difference.

Talk to your professors

If you ended up with a disappointing grade in a class, meet with your professor. Hopefully, they can explain to you where you came up short and what to work on. Chances are, they will point out some flaws in the way you wrote your exam that can be corrected. You would be surprised how many students do not take this simple step and repeat their mistakes.

At a bare minimum, getting an explanation for your grade should help you put it behind you and focus on spring semester.


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