You at least heard this a million times from your housemates, that “first year doesn’t count”. We are sorry to inform you, but first-year counts.
Hi, it’s me, your first year of law school! You may want to fully immerse yourself in freshers week, drink till’ the morning, and worry about making new friends rather than attending lectures. It’s cool, but then you can also fully immerse yourself into being behind other law students that actually did their work and got decent grades. Unless, of course, you are a superstar that can party non-stop and still get amazing grades.
Sure, first-year grades often are not taken into account of your final grade…but…SURPRISE…your future employers will still look at them! Almost all law firms look at your first-year grades. So, by not trying during your first year, you are really making your future self a tidy bit less employable.
Your crappy first-year grades will in particular set you back when you are trying to gain your first legal work experience. Whether you are applying for vacation schemes, open days, or other law work experience your first-year grades are the only thing that you have to show! They are the most recent representative of your academic abilities. Unless you have stellar A-levels, your first-year law school grades are very important!
Of course, grades are not everything and you can always offset bad first-year grades with some work experience, useful extracurricular activities, or valuable transferrable skills. However, law careers are extremely competitive and if you are aiming to work for big international or national law firms, more often than not, you have to be a complete package. Also, hey, if you ace your second year, you’ll have that to showcase instead!