What to Expect in Your Second Year of Law School

Your Second Year of Law School
Congratulations, 2L. You've mastered the necessary 1L skills and have every right to consider yourself an excellent law student. Your Professors will assume this mastery. Consequently, they'll discontinue the slow pace they used during the first year. So, be ready. During your second year you may even choose to add to your heavy course load— by writing for a law review or journal, participating in moot court, or working at the school's legal aid clinic.

Choosing the Right 2L Courses
Students can choose which second year courses to take. While most law schools have abolished second year required classes, several key courses are highly recommended: Evidence, corporations, professional responsibility, and trusts and estates. Evidence, in particular, is an important class to take during the second year because many jurisdictions require it before granting permission to participate in a law school legal clinic. You'll find expert outlines for Evidence and other crucial 2L subjects in our Complete 2L Success Package.

A Course in Professional Responsibility: Recommended
The ABA requires every student to either take a course in professional responsibility before graduating or to have the topic interwoven into every course taken. You may take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) as early as the end of your second year. The MPRE is required in nearly every jurisdiction as part of the bar exam. Be sure to check the rules for each state to see when you may take the MPRE. Our recommendation is take the MPRE as early as possible to ensure that you may take the bar exam when you graduate from law school. Learn about our authoritative and free MPRE Program.

Second Year Campus Activities
Being a member of a law review or journal during your second year is considered a prestigious activity. And there are others you may find which are just as rewarding. Examples range from Moot Court to various law school clubs and associations. Participating in these kinds of activities lets you discover different areas of legal practice, as well as potential career paths.

On-Campus Interview and Recruiting.
These programs are usually by invitation, and involve only the largest legal employers—such as large "white-shoe" firms, federal agencies, and attorney-general offices. Participation may also be limited to those with a high class rank. Be sure to carefully consider your approach to on-campus interview and recruiting because it could lead to a summer associate position, and even permanent employment.

Use the Law School Placement Office
Finding a summer associate position is just the start. Be creative about using the placement office to find a position that will give you the experience you need to market yourself upon graduation. Many mid-size and small law offices will not know what their needs are until the spring, meaning that it is entirely possible that summer positions are not filled until just before spring exams.

The Key to Second Year Success
Your second year will be far more than hours of study in the library. Just think. The stress of first year is behind you. Graduation and the bar exam are still to come. So take every opportunity to make your second year a time to explore your legal interests and simply enjoy studying the law.

Kaplan 2L Success Package