Learn / Life / Student life / Study skills / Wellness

How to be Efficient with your Law Studies

By Ashley Yuan, University of Auckland


So you want to be a lawyer, and you’ve made it into law school. However, as you will soon discover, the overwhelming work load is demanding and at times demands its sacrifices. As perpetually fatigued law students, we are subjected to a never-ending cycle of assignments, stress and tests. It’s never an easy act of juggling it all.

But it doesn’t always have to be like that. Injecting a little fun “outside of law” (shocking if you thought we live and breathe law) is possible. So here are some tips to help you maximise your time and hopefully find the time to breathe outside of law.

Maximise your time by setting out priorities.

Whether that means learning to say no to certain engagements or simply by setting out a list of what needs to be done and prioritising the list from most important to least. Ensure tasks on your “urgent to do list” are completed on the day and then the next day, tasks from yesterday’s “slightly less important tasks” can be completed on the day.

Step back.

As our perfectionist type A personalities start shining through, our biggest nightmare is suffering from a mental block. I have endured many nights attempting to draft up the perfect introduction line to an essay on the first attempt. Stop. And that’s a general rule for life as well. Sometimes you need to take a step back and assess the situation. Is it worth pouring hours of your time over a mental block or should you just step back and move onto something more productive? You can always come back. You’re allowed to not get it right on the first attempt.

Don’t let the sun catch you sleeping.

That was the motto a close friend of mine lived by. He was always awake before the sun to capitalise on the new day. Giving yourself that extra few hours before the rest of the world wakes up can make all the difference in the world.

Learn to be independent with your studies.

Attending lectures, completing all readings three times, and being on top of all your notes may be the formula to success. However, often life gets in the way, and we’re forced to work around our schedule. Learn to be efficient with your study time by picking out important and potentially examinable material to learn first. Lecture recordings is a tool to rewind, fast forward or stop at your own pace. Readings may seem a little impossible to complete every night; let alone three times. Find summaries of cases that aren’t as important and I highly recommend reading cases that stand as current law. A thorough appreciation for the law can only come from reading its primary source.