What Is Law School Like?

The first year of law school is often the most challenging for students as they learn to juggle workloads. Five classes per semester are common, classes require heavy reading, and lecturing is minimal. Instead, professors engage students with open-ended questions and case studies.

Law school classes do not have quizzes. Grades are determined based on attendance, participation, final exams and papers. First-year students take courses in torts, contracts, criminal law, research and writing and more, according to About. Students in their second and third years have more leeway in classes, but all students must pass the same core classes to satisfy American Bar Association requirements.

Professors use the Socratic method, which consists of a professor calling on a student, whom the professor then engages in open-ended discussion, according to Indiana University. In some cases, the professor may ask for the facts of a case and then ask questions on issues that may have changed the outcome. Professors may select students at random without notice, but others inform students to be ready for the next class. Other professors may use patterns that students can predict, and other professors ask for volunteers.

Assignments frequently consist of reading judicial opinions, and students must analyze them for meaning and legal principles. With three to five cases a day, students often immerse themselves in the material.