Friday, January 13, 2012

Reflections After Three Semesters

It's official! I am in my second semester of my 2L year now, which means I am "over the hill." Maybe it's the spirit of the new year, or maybe it's simply a natural occurrence for someone who is halfway done with a difficult task, but I'm feeling nostalgic. As I ponder on the things people told me about law school two years ago, I am struck by how inaccurate some of it was. Here are a few samples:

1. "All your tests will be essay." FALSE. I have had more multiple choice questions in my first three semesters of law school than I did in my last two years of undergrad. A few of my finals have even been purely multiple choice, and some have been a combination of multiple choice and short answer.
2. "All your classes will be taught with the Socratic Method." FALSE. This was true for the first few weeks of my 1L year, but the professors backed off of it as time went on. It's almost non-existent now in my second year.
3. "On the first day, take a look at the person on your left and the person on your right. One of you won't be there on graduation day." FALSE. Although this may have been true in past years, I just don't see it happening. While I know of a couple people that have dropped out, it is nowhere near 33% of people that were at orientation.
4. "Volunteer somewhere during your 1L summer. 1Ls can't get paid jobs." Somewhat false. It certainly is more difficult for 1Ls to get a paid summer job than it is for 2Ls, but it is not impossible. If I can find a paid summer job after my first year, so can you.
5. "Law school is exciting and fun!" OK, I never actually heard anyone say that, but that seems to be the idea that Hollywood perpetuates about law school. Have you ever noticed that the law students in the movies and on TV never spend much time studying? I've often wondered what kind of grades they get. Sometimes classes and readings can be interesting and possibly even dramatic. Your first time in a courtroom during a hearing or trial is pretty fun, too. It's nothing like Hollywood, though; it's a lot of quiet nights reading cases and composing outlines.

I'm sure there are other myths about law school out there that can be put to rest, but these are the main ones I've noticed. Feel free to comment on your own experiences.