If you are reading this, you are probably a student in your last year of law school; maybe a 2L looking to get a headstart on bar readiness. Either way, bar readiness should be one of several considerations as you choose your courses for the next semester. (For specifics about how to register for courses, look for information from the Registrar’s office in the weekly On The Docket e-digest, and in separate emails from that office).
The approach to course selection I advise? Think of your courses in roughly four main categories:
- Graduation requirements or pre-requisites. Gotta take those. ‘Nuff said. We have a handy checklist that includes graduation requirements and other considerations on the webpage for the Office of Academic Engagement and Student Success, under the tab for Choosing Courses: JD/AJD Checklist for Graduation and Bar Readiness.
- Bar-tested subjects. Commercial bar review alone is not enough to assure first-time success on the bar exam. Bar exams test a wide variety of difficult, substantive areas of law. Commercial courses are called review because they are based on the assumption you have seen most of the material before. To spare yourself a lot of post-graduation pain and agony, take at least 1-2 bar-tested subjects each semester. You’ll be glad you did, in June and July before you take your bar! For details about how to manage your own bar readiness process, and links to more information, go to the Emory Law Bar Readiness Resource page.
- Courses that build your knowledge and/or skills in practice areas that interest you. Good news — many of these classes will also help you on the bar, and may even be graduation requirements! For detailed information about practice-specific courses and the faculty who can tell you more about them, go to the Office of Academic Engagement and Student Success webpage and click on the red box at top right titled “Practice-Focused Academic Guidance.” You will find information about the courses there and in the online Course Descriptions, and you can get more information by going to talk in person with one of the listed faculty in that practice area.
- The X Factor! Emory Law is a top law school at a world-renowned university. You can take courses here in fascinating subjects, with fascinating, gifted faculty, in areas you may never get to study again. This is also important to your overall education, as a person and as a lawyer. If there’s a great teacher here you want to have in class before you graduate, or an intriguing topic you want to explore, take some of those courses too!
Balance is everything. If you choose a schedule balanced among the four categories above, you will not only enjoy law school but you will likely find it much less stressful to take and pass the bar exam, and start a career in your chosen practice area. Let us know how we can help!