By Earl Guen Quiñones Padayao | August 3, 2021
Lately, a lot of college students have asked me for 1L (law school first year) preparation tips. Just a quick background: I started preparing for law school at age 16 (2014). Yes, that early.
So, here are TEN SIMPLE TIPS for undergraduate students preparing for law school:
1. Refine your oral and written English skills. Do not come to law school with horrible grammar. People with broken English will be welcomed horribly by hellish classrooms with daily recitations and essay-type exams.
2. Join a debate varsity. You need to train yourself in competitive argumentation. The study and practice of law are very adversarial — a lawyer once told me that he is “paid to argue.” Debate varsity training in college is a premium you should avail of before coming to law school.
3. Learn how to manage and save money! Law school has hidden costs — reams of bond paper, highlighters, sticky notes, premium sign pens (Parker, Pilot g-tec, etc.), College of Law parties, reviewers, printing costs, and the list goes on.
4. Invest in your penmanship. As a disclaimer, I have the worst penmanship imaginable, but I still have relatively good scores and grades. I think this is a minor factor, but still, you’ll have an edge if your penmanship is good.
5. Advance reading. Start reading the 1987 Philippine Constitution, a few Civil Code articles, and the Revised Penal Code (RPC). Just get a quick feel of the type of code you’ll encounter in law school. If you have time, read the book of S.J. Bernas re: constitutional law. Appreciation of the constitution as early as undergrad pays well during 1L.
6. Study a few cases. I recommend: (a) In re: Cunanan; (b) Mallion v. Alcantara; (c) Cojuanco v. Republic; (d) Imbong v. Ochoa; (e) Gibbs v. Government.
7. Be tech-savvy. You will be relying on cloud storage in law school. You will discover that some applications and software will save your life.
8. Have the right tools: Smartphone, laptop/mac, wristwatch, hard drive, and if you have the resources, a tablet or an iPad will be useful for the cases.
9. Work on the following: (a) speed reading; (b) retention skills; (c) memory tricks; (d) annolighting and annotating skills.
10. Watch youtube videos about law school. Some channels I recommend: (a) Legal Eagle and (b) Lex in Motion. Also, watch movies/series about law school or lawyers: (a) Legally Blonde, (b) How to Get Away with Murder, (c) The Paper Chase, (d) Suits, (e) Law School at Netflix.
PS: Bonus! 11. Confidence. Kahit na mapahiya at mapagalitan, dapat confident parin! Lamang ang makapal!
About the Author:
Earl Guen Quiñones Padayao is a young academian. He is currently a 3rd Year Juris Doctor student at Silliman University – College of Law. In addition, he teaches college-level philosophy classes at Bukidnon State University (Malaybalay City) and previously taught at Negros Oriental State University (Dumaguete City). He was also a legal intern at the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor — Cotabato.
He finished college with Latin Honor, harboring a 97% Grade Point Average (GPA), and graduated as salutatorian during high school. He also studied environmental leadership at Northern Illinois University, U.S.A. as an international exchange student. He is a recipient of multiple local and national recognitions — including the prestigious Mga Bagong Rizal Award of the Philippine Center for Gifted Education. He is a decorated youth leader and a reputable parliamentary debate adjudicator — with multiple medals during his prime. He occupied various positions in socio-civic and academic organizations in both Visayas and Mindanao.