At most law schools, the first year curriculum is pretty standardized. You’ll likely take some combination of Civil Procedure, Contracts, Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, Torts and Property, along with a legal writing and research course. These fundamental courses provide you with the foundational knowledge you’ll need once you can start picking your own courses. If you’re overwhelmed by the available options, here are six tips on how to choose your law school classes wisely.
- Familiarize yourself with your requirements
We’re betting that one of the last things you want is to delay your graduation, so be sure you’re checking your school’s list of required courses early and often. Depending on the number of required courses, you’ll want to choose your law school classes wisely so that you’re taking some required courses each semester. This way, you can chip away at your requirements without needing to cram everything into your final year.
- Don’t forget the “bar courses”
Make sure to take Evidence and Business Organizations (sometimes called Corporations, Agency, and Partnership) during your second or third year of law school. These courses will be tested on the NextGen bar exam (which will be administered first in 2026) and the Uniform Bar Exam. It is difficult to learn these subjects during bar prep if you have no foundation. Getting a head start in law school will go a long way to helping you feel confident and prepared during bar prep.
- Follow your interests
Law school may be your last chance to study certain topics. Even if you’re interested in a subject that you have no plans to pursue as a career, take the class anyway. At the very least, you’ll likely have a class that you enjoy and can engage with!
- Talk to 3Ls and alumni
Don’t be afraid to ask 3Ls and alumni which courses they recommend. Their advice may go beyond selecting individual classes, too. For example, they can shed light on when you should take certain classes, or warn you if the specific combination of classes you’re considering might be a heavier workload. They can also speak to different professors’ teaching styles, classroom expectations, and assignment structures.
- Take the great professors
Virtually every law school has a few of those “can’t miss” professors that students rave about. You know the type: the kind of professor that can make even a dull topic engaging and exciting. With that in mind, we recommend taking at least some of the great professors at your law school. It might end up being your favorite class, or even prompt a career change!
- Be creative
Law school classes form the backbone of the law school experience, but there are often other ways to get some of the credit you’ll need for graduation. Many law schools offer clinics, internships, research credit, and other opportunities for getting credit hours that may or may not count toward your GPA. These offerings are usually a great way to get hands-on legal experience on a topic you’re interested in. Additionally, some schools offer externship programs, allow you to take classes outside of the law school, or run study abroad programs. These experiences can provide you with a unique perspective on your legal studies. To sum up, don’t forget to think outside the box when choosing your law school classes!