10 Things To Know Before Starting Law School
You’ve spoken to practicing attorneys, admissions reps, professors, prospective classmates, and alumni. And you’ve read every book and watched every video you could find. You even drew up checklists and read chapters ahead on the law books.
You probably think you’re ready. You’ve heard all the advice: “Work hard,” “Don’t fall behind,” and “Do-this-or-that on your outlines.” That’s all great advice, but you really can’t process it until you step into the classroom. That’s when you separate the helpful platitudes from the life-saving practices.
This week, Rachel Myers, an Emory Law School student, posted ten success tips of her own. And they have more to do with managing stress and building the right reputation than dissecting cases. So if you have an acceptance letter in hand – and you’re looking to leave law school with your dignity and sanity in tact – keep these points in mind:
1. Law School is not Graduate School: “…the law school experience has more in common with middle school than it does with other graduate programs. On the first day… you naively think you already understand the true meaning of life. And then very quickly you discover that you’re actually just an awkward and lowly 6th grader all over again.”
2. Be Nice To Everyone and Be Careful Who You Trust: “… a large group of wannabe lawyers necessarily leads to some vicious drama… And since gossip spreads like wildfire, everyone in your class will know whether you have a good or bad reputation by the end of the first semester.”
3. Cliques and Friendships Will Evolve: “Bonds made during orientation will weaken, and you’ll eventually figure out where you fit in.”
4. Be Careful Where You Sit: “Most professors assign a seating chart based on the spot you choose. So think twice before grabbing the seat next to the total babe you thought you hit it off with at the first bar review. No one wants a daily meeting with an awkward situation.”
5. Don’t Hook Up with Classmates: “You’ve officially been warned.”
6. Get Away From the Law School Environment: “If you would like to avoid a mental breakdown, find friends who aren’t in law school and commit to not talking about school.”
7. Lose the Ego: “No one wants to know about your great scholarship or how high your LSAT score was… Law school is graded on a curve and can be quite competitive. Don’t voluntarily add fuel to the fire.”
8. Don’t be a Gunner: “No one likes a know-it-all… you were smart enough to get into law school, so you should be smart enough to answer that hypothetical on your own time.”
9. It’s Okay to Be Shy: “If you’re an introvert, don’t let all the extroverts scare you into thinking you made the wrong choice in attending law school… success in both law school and the legal profession requires a tremendous amount of alone time. Also, how much someone talks during class does not predict how well they will do on the exam.”
10. Try Not to Become an Alcoholic: “Naturally, law students find fun and relaxation in social activities that mostly involve copious amounts of alcohol. Alcoholism is far more prevalent in the legal profession than it is in the general population.”
Source: Thought Catalog