10 Tips for the 1L Year

By Batool ’17 & Melissa ’18

To the Class of 2019: Welcome to NUSL!

It wasn’t long ago that we were in the same position you find yourself today: getting ready to walk the same unfamiliar hallways to get to the same unfamiliar classrooms to learn the same unfamiliar topics. However, in almost no time, you’ll be where we are: running for an SBA position, experiencing the legal world through Co-op, and planning for the future. In the meantime, we wanted to offer you some tips and tricks to making the most of your first year.

  1. It will take time to adjust. Do not expect to brief a case perfectly the first time. It takes practice and a deeper understanding of the law to know what you’re looking for.
  2. Try different study tips. You should find what works for you. Things that worked for you before may not work as well in law school and things you’ve never tried before could be your new favorite study technique. (From Batool: “Personally, I found that colored highlighters were my saviors and helped me visually separate the question, facts, procedural posture, reasoning, etc.”)
  3. Embrace your peers, figuratively. A major advantage of NUSL over other law schools is the level of collaboration constantly flowing through our halls. Don’t be anxious about discussing class lectures or asking for missed notes when creating outlines.
  4. Try not to embrace your peers literally. Yes, we do mean intra-class relationships.
  5. Get a Jump-Start. It’s the highly caffeinated coffee served at Chicken Lou’s across the street – grab a cup before your morning Social Justice meeting. Trust us on this one.
  6. Take a break! Sometimes it will feel like you are always behind, but it is crucial to take a deep breath and step back. Attend a bar review, laugh with friends, and give your brain a chance to catch up to everything you have learned.
  7. Check out Marino Center. Northeastern’s expansive recreational center (and one of the best gyms in Boston) is included in your tuition and physically across the street. The Center also includes a market, coffee shop, and place to get burritos (which you’ll likely be sick of by the end of the year).
  8. Apply for a clinic. If, like us, you chose NUSL for its exceptional training in practical learning, don’t just wait until Co-op. Apply for one of NUSL’s clinics; it’s the best hands-on experience in a school setting – and it looks great on your résumé.
  9. Ask for help and advice. The upper level students all know what you’re going through. Please reach out to us when you need help or just to talk when you’re feeling overwhelmed. (I promise we don’t bite!)
  10. Come to an SBA meeting! The Student Bar Association is the law student-led organization that will help answer your questions and appease your concerns. Come to an SBA meeting every other Wednesday at 12:30 pm in the Moot Courtroom.

Your 1L year will fly by, and before you know it, you’ll need to choose a co-op rotation. Melissa is currently on the Fall/Spring rotation (meaning she is on Co-op in the fall and spring quarters), while Batool is on the Summer/Winter rotation. Check out the advantages of each:

Melissa: “The Fall/Spring rotation is absolutely the way to go. Classes in the summer are very laid back. Campus is quiet and the commute to school is always faster. This summer I only had class 3 days a week and spent all of my down time at the beach or doing work on my back porch. Applying to Co-op happens after all of your first year finals are over, when you actually have time to review your résumé, cover letter, and writing sample. After the first year, I wanted to stay in school to learn some practical skills, and now I feel more ready than ever to go out on Co-op in New York City. The best part is that a NUSL student on Co-op in the Fall and Spring means you’re the only law student able to give an employer a full time schedule, which makes you a very appealing candidate. Plus, if you stay on the same rotation you end your 3L year on co-op instead of classes and finals.”

Batool: “The Summer/Winter rotation is the one for you. After a strenuous 1L year and 1L finals, you finally get a 3-month break out in the real world. Most schools outside Boston don’t know about our Co-op system during the school year, so for many out-of-state employers, a summer internship is all that is available. Also, working during the summer is amazing! Most days, I’m done by 6 pm and have nights and weekends completely free of studying so I can enjoy the summer. Lastly, if you’re a student aiming for a summer associate position after 2L, you’ll need to be on the S/W rotation by that time.”

Regardless of which rotation you choose, courses will be offered at least once for each quarter you’re in school, so don’t stress too much about your class schedule.

TL;DR : Welcome to NUSL. You’re going to be just fine.


Batool Banker (’17) and Melissa Ramos (’18) are the Co-Chairs of the Student Bar Association. The Student Bar Association (SBA), affiliated with the Law Student Division of the American Bar Association (ABA), is the elected, representative body for NUSL students. It informs and encourages student participation in the activities of the ABA, as well as serving as a forum for communication between NUSL students and the administration.



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