April 4th 2007

Wednesday musings

“First year, they scare you to death. Second year, they work you to death. Third year, they bore you to death.”

Or so the adage goes. And my experience has tracked with this. We’ll have to see how next year goes, of course, and right now it looks like that last sentence will actually read, “Third year, they squeeze out whatever remaining work is in you.” And that’s OK–next year is shaping up to be a pretty interesting year, actually.

I know this is the time of year when people start to get really antsy about stuff. 3Ls are worried about the bar and jobs, 2Ls are worried about jobs and whether they still want to be lawyers, and 1Ls are worried about jobs, journals, and whether they still want to be lawyers. Oh, and everyone is starting to get a little nervous about exams. Meanwhile, I keep seeing some negative rhetoric about law school,[1] and my heart sinks a little.

Not because my story is the same as those being told, but because those stories don’t really need to be told. Look, law school isn’t for everyone, and I think everyone coming to law school should KNOW (and I mean really, really know) that they want to be in law school. Because if you go to law school without knowing why you are there, your chances increase EXPONENTIALLY of being miserable. And it doesn’t have to be that way.

I know this is a sort of unpopular sentiment in the law student blogosphere, but I love law school. And I know I am not the only one–a friend of mine today commented how sad she is that she doesn’t have the opportunity to keep taking interesting classes like the one we’re in together and trying out new opportunities, since she’s graduating. Law school can be really, really awesome. Sure, portions of it can suck–when you have a bad professor or you get a random grade; when your job search doesn’t go as well as you wished; when you’re just completely and totally exhausted. But if you genuinely enjoy the work you are doing, then it’s worth it.

I know a lot of people think practice doesn’t track very closely with the student experience and that’s probably true. But the experience of getting to develop an intellectual interest in the kind of thinking that is foundational for practice has VALUE, and if you can enjoy those intellectual challenges, you can enjoy practice. If you don’t enjoy the intellectual challenges, I guess you could still enjoy practice. I hope, though, if you go to law school and hate the experience, but stick it out thinking you’ll love practice that you’re basing that hope on some concrete experience.

Anyway, these are just some thoughts I’ve been having as I near the end of this second year of law school. To sum up: I love law school. Others don’t. If you’re not in law school yet, figure out which kind of person you are. And if you are in law school and are hating it, try and make the most of it–do things that you will enjoy, like clinics or practicums, or take paper classes instead of exam classes.

Wow. This wasn’t intended to be an advice post, but it is.

  1. See, e.g., these guys.