Second Runner Up of the Blog Writing competition: Shafic Osman


You jumped out of bed startled. It was not a nightmare. You were not being hounded in your dream. You merely woke up to reality. It is three days to exams and here you are, woefully unprepared for it. You have constitutional law on Monday, Criminal Law on Wednesday, Contract on Thursday, and Torts on Friday. No work of fiction can match the scary position you find yourself in. It seems like only yesterday when you dropped your bags in the lobby and braced yourself for the new semester.

This is true for most law students due to the voluminous amount of material we have to comb through every semester. However, there are some five skills every law student needs to have to avoid such a situation. But let us first talk about that bad habit that always makes this a reality: procrastination, said to be the thief of time. If you give into the habit of pushing to tomorrow, the cases that can be read today, ending up stressed about an exam is highly likely.

Invariably, the first skill every law student must have is time management. The ability to tell yourself exactly what you need to achieve in a day and going on to do so is an enviable trait to have as a law student. Being conscious of time will force you to meet your reading targets regardless of demanding they are.

The second skill every law student needs is the ability to do great research. In a sea of cases and principles, the ability to find the relevant law is an enviable trait to have. In days past, that meant scurrying around the library and navigating through book shelves. Today, that means having a balance between the above and a command over digital skills and finding your way through Hein online and Westlaw. It also means being able to decipher between fact and fiction when you depend on Google.

The third must have skill is writing. The value of writing in a law practice is evident. The ability to write your submissions and provide clients with well-reasoned advice is an invaluable skill to have. But as a student, that skill is equally important in making notes you can refer to in future and answering exam questions.

The fourth must have skill is critical thinking and analysis. This skill helps a student decipher the import of the cases he or she is reading while extrapolating its meaning into everyday life. This skills helps a student put to practical use, whatever knowledge he or she comes across.

The fifth skill of importance to a law student is public speaking. This goes beyond being able to mount a podium and speak like Martin Luther King Jr. This is about being able to coherently put your thoughts together and communicate it wherever you find yourself, be it during group studies or when you have a question to ask in class.