How To Survive Law School And The Law World
Law school can be a stressful and difficult time. And practicing law can be even more challenging. It doesn’t have to be, however.
Dan Culhane, Founder and CEO of Discovery Genie at Discovery Genie and Dan Culhane Law, LLC, recently discussed tips, that are also directly applicable to law students, on how to make practicing law less awful.
Maintaining a schedule is critical to success both in the law world and law school.
However, in order to maintain your sanity, it’s important to prioritize your responsibilities.
“Health is a big one, along with family, friends and meaningful activities outside of work,” Culhane writes. “In a profession that is more than happy to have you grinding out 70+ hours a week, you have to put workouts, date nights, play dates and hobbies on your calendar and commit fully to these important (but not urgent) activities.”
Bat-Sheva Tabakman of the Texas A&M University School of Law says it’s important for law students to maintain their sanity amidst their busy schedules.
“Schedule do-nothing time,” Tabakman tells the ABA For Law Students. “See family and friends. Hang out with non-law school people. Turn off electronics. Cook. Sleep. Breathe. Exercise. Find a hobby. If you have a significant other, have them help keep you accountable and find a relaxing hobby to do together.”
Attitude can go a long way, especially in a field where the work piles up fast.
“Learning to focus on the positive aspects of practicing law has had an amazing effect on my life,” Culhane writes. “For me, this often includes thinking about how the practice of law has provided resources to accomplish some of my other goals. (The biggest one of these was using those resources to take a year off to travel around the world with my family when my kids were 9 and 11… not a bad thing to remember on those days when I’m slogging through a seemingly never-ending pile of work.)”
Coming up with innovative solutions in times of need can make your life a lot easier.
“For instance, when I couldn’t find an affordable solution that would help me automate and expedite the time-devouring (and soul-crushing) job of preparing and reviewing documents for disclosure and production, I created one,” Culhane writes. “It was the question, ‘What would make this better?’ that helped me take action because I knew that if I could make this one task faster and easier, I could improve both my practice and my mental health.”
For students, this can mean coming up with strategies on how to stay ahead.
“One tip I would give to any law student is to start reading for class the week before it starts,” Enrica Martey, of Texas A&M University School of Law, tells ABA For Law Students. “This is helpful because you’re already ahead of the game, and you can continue your non-procrastination streak in preparing for class throughout the semester. If you take away nothing, please take away this: try to stay a class or two ahead. It tremendously reduces the stress that comes with being in law school.”