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© Updated as of 2019
Survive Law

  • Nicholas Plummer

Everything I Need to Know About Life I Learnt at Law School


Okay, not everything, but I’ve certainly picked up some useful life skills during my law degree. An understanding of the constitution never goes astray, and the ability to analyse issues (and win arguments) is also pretty handy. Here are some other things I’ve learnt at law school…

Big language isn’t so big

Everyone loves to sound smart, but this often leads to focusing on impressing others, rather than communicating ideas. An over-reliance on big, showy language is often a good indication that a person has no clue what they’re talking about.

Trying to impress people with fancy language didn’t get me anywhere in my early years as a law student. After some poor marks in assignments, I realised that life is so much nicer when you keep it simple. Choosing the right words makes a huge difference and being economical with your vocabulary is the way to go. You won’t make a fool of yourself and everyone will understand what you’re saying… plus people won’t think you’re an arrogant law student.

Connections count

You may have a gazillion friends on Facebook, but at law school, I have learnt that it’s the quality of friends and the connections you make with them that count. Knowing the people that keep you on track and help you study is important.

It is no different to life. It’s who you know that gets you the client, the promotion or even the job. A few quality connections in law school keep me on track and I’m applying the same approach to life, opting for quality connections, rather than quantity. It’s unlikely that random people on Facebook are going to contribute to my success in any significant way.

Long hours don’t necessarily pay off

When I started my law degree, I was hell bent on reading every textbook and case, and forsaking anything that wasn’t work or uni related. I had no social life. I soon realised that pouring all those hours into study didn’t necessarily make me a more successful student. All of my best marks for assignments were achieved in only a matter of days before the due date.

The lesson: don’t forsake a life when studying or working. Finding some balance and managing your time is totally possible and absolutely crucial.

Never be afraid to ask, ‘why?’

Every lecturer at uni wants you to ask questions and analyse everything. Find a reason, a cause and a consequence; it’s how we will have to think as lawyers.

This also applies to real life. Asking ‘why’ every now and then helps put things in context, ensuring you know the reasons for your decisions and understand what’s behind good and disappointing outcomes.

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