Q: When will we know our fall schedule?
A: First-year students will be registered for fall classes in late July or early August. You will be assigned to either Section 11 or Section 12 for all of the following courses: Academic Success (ASP), Contracts, Civil Procedure, Property, and Torts. For Legal Methods, you will be assigned to a large section (A, C, E, or G) and a small section (A1, A2, C1, C2, etc.). If you would like to see the possibilities (e.g., What will my schedule look like if I am in Section 11 and A/A1?), you may review the fall course schedule in list form or grid form here. Please note that the Academic Success class times may change.
Q: Are there other sessions we will need to attend during the semester?
A: Yes. From time to time, you will attend workshops or sessions scheduled by Administration (e.g., a session by the Career Services Office in late fall). Some sessions will be mandatory; others will be optional. If you have an unavoidable conflict when a mandatory session is announced, you should contact Dean Aden to discuss options. Professors may also schedule sessions outside of regular class time from time to time (e.g., an exam review session, a makeup class). In connection with Legal Methods, you will attend four Writing Center Workshops; the workshops will take place on the following dates from 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.:
- Friday, August 19 Writing Workshop I
- Friday, August 26 Writing Workshop II
- Friday, September 2 Writing Workshop III
- Friday, September 9 Writing Workshop IV
Q: I see that we don’t have classes scheduled for Friday; are there expectations for how I will use that time?
A: Yes! From time to time, one of the workshops or sessions described in the previous response will be scheduled on Friday. For the most part, however, the schedule reserves Friday so that you have large blocks of uninterrupted study time — time to read for the coming week; time to work on your Legal Methods assignments; time to review notes from the previous week, synthesize into outlines, and identify areas of confusion to discuss with your professors; time to work on practice questions; etc. This reserved time ensures that you are able to engage in the deep work that is critical for developing the knowledge and skills necessary for success in law school and law practice. Deep work is work performed in a state of focused concentration on the task at hand, without distractions. Deep work maximizes learning, effectiveness, and efficiency. In other words, when you engage in deep work, you learn and perform better and faster.
Q: I was hoping to work during the fall. Can I get my course schedule sooner so I can plan my work schedule?
A: Section assignments will not be available until late July or early August. But more importantly, we implore you NOT to work during the fall unless there’s absolutely no way to avoid it. The successful study of law takes a significant time commitment, and successful law students critically evaluate their time commitments and prioritize their studies. For every hour you are in class, you should plan to study at least 2 hours outside of class. For full-time students, that means you’ll be in class for 16 hours each week AND spending at least 32 hours a week studying (preparing for class, outlining, completing assignments, etc.), for a total of 48 hours MINIMUM. If you are a part-time student, the work load will be slightly less, but still significant (11 hours in class and at least 22 hours outside of class, for a total of 33 hours MINIMUM). Thus, although the part-time schedule is more conducive to external work obligations, part-time students will still need to allocate substantial time to their studies to be successful.
Law school will, most likely, be very different from your previous educational experience. The way you read will be different; the way you participate in class will be different; the way you demonstrate knowledge and understanding on the exam will be different; and so on. Your first year will be a time of adjustment. You will need extra time to learn the language and master the skills necessary for success.
Moreover, the first year of law school is foundational in terms of both skills and knowledge. Establishing a strong foundation in this first year is critical to your future success - in law school, on the bar exam, and in practice. So, I urge you to prioritize your studies this year and refrain from external work if at all possible. While I understand that financial burdens may make work necessary, please explore all available alternatives before deciding that you must work. And if you must work, critically evaluate now how you will allocate the remainder of your time and minimize other non-academic time commitments to ensure that your first year is successful.
Q: OK, OK. You don’t want me to work. But am I permitted to work?
A: Academic Regulations 9.2, 14.4, and 14.5 specifically address employment. Per Academic Regulation 9.2, Memphis Law strongly discourages any first-year full-time student from working. Additionally, all full-time students are prohibited from working more than 20 hours per week. Per Academic Regulation 14.4 and 14.5, any student, whether full-time or part-time, who is placed on Academic Probation or Academic Warning is prohibited from working until the student is no longer on Probation or Warning, absent prior written approval from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Students may be placed on Academic Probation or Warning after their first semester. This provision reiterates the importance of establishing a strong academic foundation in the first year, indeed, the first semester.