Anna Ivey '97 Lists "6 Skills Every Law Student Needs to Master" for Corporate Counsel

From Corporate Counsel:

Guest blogger Anna Ivey is a former admissions dean at the University of Chicago Law School. A former lawyer, she's now an admissions consultant for college, law school, and MBA applicants.

Don’t get complacent just because you’re at a top law school and making good grades, or you just landed a coveted law firm or public interest job for the summer. To move up in the long run, you'll need something extra. Smarts and a fancy credential aren't enough anymore.

Ask yourself: “What's my plus?” How do you stand out when your profession is being commoditized, and being average is no longer an option?

You cannot afford to wait to work on the skills you need to succeed once you're in a job. There are some skills you need to acquire now. Here are the top six skills you need to learn in law school:

1. Improve Your Writing

Students moan about legal writing classes, but they may be the most valuable class in law school. Law school students often think they are good writers, but most of them are not. Just ask the writing instructors.

Solutions: Work on a journal (yes, it's scut work, but you will learn how to edit, and that will improve your writing); take classes that require longer papers; do moot court (for the oral argument and the extra practice in brief writing). And take those contract drafting classes.

Write, get feedback, and write some more. You will get better, but it requires lots of guidance and practice and correction.

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