Empirical evidence in Australia and overseas has established that in many university disciplines, students begin to experience elevated levels of psychological distress in their first year of study. There is now a considerable body of empirical data that establishes that this is a significant problem for law students. Psychological distress may hamper a law student's capacity to learn successfully, and certainly hinders their ability to thrive in the tertiary environment. We know from Self-Determination Theory (SDT), a conceptual branch of positive psychology, that supporting students' autonomy in turn supports their well-being. This article seeks to connect the literature on law student well-being and independent learning using Self-Determination Theory (SDT) as the theoretical bridge. We argue that deliberate instruction in the development of independent learning skills in the first year curriculum is autonomy supportive. It can therefore lay the foundation for academic and personal success at university, and may be a protective factor against decline in law student psychological well-being.