Advice for new law students – this is what it’s really like

Law school classes are starting across the country.  I should probably just say hit play, but I’m a big blowhard, so here are little words of advice on what law school is like.

The most surprising thing to me was how there were so many people of different ages and agendas in law school.  Most were just out of college like me, some had taken a year off, others were in their 40’s and looking for a new career.  One crazy lady was in her 70’s and just wanted to do something different.  And still others were PHD’s or MD’s that wanted to add on to their existing careers for some sick reason.  Tons of people are truly there because they just don’t know what to do next with their lives.

Seeing all of these people can be somewhat of a mind fornication.  I was trying to find the cheapest bars around and I look across the room to some guy that has a mortgage and three kids.   For a naïve 22 year old, I found this very enlightening.

People will tell you to read 1L and at your orientation some a-hole who never actually practiced law will give you the “look to your left, look to your right, that person won’t be here in three years” speech.

And all of this makes people crazy.  And act irrational.  And brag about how hard they are studying.  Or freak out.  And it’s all really unnecessary.

But there is a silver lining to this.  After a semester, most people seem to calm down.  You realize that if you do the reading, law school isn’t that hard.  And if you don’t do the reading, you can still probably get by.  Instead of freaking out about being called on in class, you don’t sweat it anymore.  Some people make being called on a big game (watch the video).  Others quickly realize that being an attorney really isn’t for them.  Almost everyone I knew that dropped out did so because they didn’t want to be an attorney.  It was never that they couldn’t handle the work.

For most though, it becomes just like a job.  You focus on getting through those three years, hopefully getting some experience along the way and then moving on to the first post school job.  All of the freak out stuff is quite phony.  You find yourself at the Daley Center and amongst the sharply dressed attorneys who seem incredible are many more sloppy looking, inarticulate, average citizens who somehow not only got through law school, but passed the bar exam and are actually working a job where people meet them and still agree to pay them money for their help.

So you realize that if they can do it, so can you.  That doesn’t mean you’ll be great at it or even like it.  But if you want to graduate from law school, you can make it happen.

But just hit play.  It will say things way better than I can.

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