As we wrap up finals and prepare to head home over the holiday break, the joy that most law students have over a two to three week hiatus from the dawning realization that even once we’ve finished law school we’ll never really be able to re-enter normal society is tempered by the knowledge that the holidays means dealing with inane questions from family and friends. A while back I wrote a post advising law students on how to interact with normal people but with the holidays coming up, I thought I’d revisit that advice from the other side. If you have a law student in your life, here are four helpful tips for smooth holiday interactions.
The Northwest 3L
Brace yourselves, played-out memes about exams are coming. Sean Bean’s biggest worry may be portraying a convincing death for whatever character he’s playing at the time, but for those of us in law school the big nasty is always going to be exams (or job interviews, which I’d prefer not to talk about at the moment . . . ). As we’re all scurrying to prepare for exams, here’s a quick and dirty field guide to the most common types of law school exams.
Thanksgiving is upon us once again and everyone’s coming up with schmaltzy reasons for us to be thankful, most of which don’t apply to law students. Instead of the after-school-special saccharine-sweet process of counting our blessings though, let’s take a look at what we law students actually have to be thankful for.
There’s no doubt in my mind that law school is hard on relationships. In my time at law school I’ve seen at least three of my classmates go through a divorce and dozens of other relationships crash and burn. I’ve managed to tank two perfectly good relationships myself by paying more attention to law school than my then-girlfriend. In the interest of trying to help others avoid the folly of hope triumphing over experience, here are some of my thoughts on dating during law school. 1Ls, sorry to burst your bubble.
It’s the last year of law school and you still don’t have a paying job lined up for after graduation. Sure, you knew the market was tough going into this show, but you were going to be different. You were going to stand out. Employers were going to see that special twinkle in your eye and snatch you up before all of the others. Okay, well you were wrong that. And now the pressure is on and you’re starting to really feel it. Don’t worry though, there are still lots of reasons to be happy.
Some people say that people who spend a lot of time playing video games are hopeless dorks who likely own some funny dice with more than six sides and know a little bit too much about Star Trek. Those people are right. But that doesn’t mean video games are worthless; after all, some of the most important lessons I’ve learned about the law came out of Skyrim:
- People stop investigating way too soon for their own good. Skyrim’s sneak system can be an endless source of amusement, whether it’s killing someone by pickpocketing their heart or just enjoying being able to steal the clothes off their back. My favorite though is watching a character forget that they were hit with an arrow five seconds ago and stop looking around. Just like the 1L who stops researching after finding one favorable case or the 3L who no longer gives a damn and welcomes an arrow to the face as an alternative to the stress of applying to yet another job in a down legal market. If you stop searching early, more pain is coming. Keep Reading ⇒
As much as we don’t like to admit it, law students screw up a lot of things. Most of the time, the things we screw up are unimportant, like our personal or romantic lives. (Let’s just be honest here. If you’re in law school, the safe money is on your prioritization of law school above your personal and romantic lives.) Sometimes though we screw up things that are at least quasi-important, like a side of job writing columns for an Internet blog. Now, I wouldn’t be the type to be in law school if I weren’t already in the habit of accumulating screw-ups of the former types, but right now what I’m going to explain how to screw up a law blog column, much as I did two weeks ago.
When I first applied to law school and my friends and relatives were asking why, I would always joke that it was a combination of arrogance and Schadenfreude. Enough arrogance to believe that I would be able to handle the courses easily and keep myself above the stresses of law school life and a desire to delight in the sort of Schadenfreude that can only be delivered from watching a client, who failed to heed my brilliant advice, get steamrolled. As with many jokes, it
wasn’t that far off was basically a way of trying to lie by telling the truth in a way that makes people think you’re insincere.
Even though my arrogance has not abated (as reliable sources have informed me on more than one occasion), the Schadenfreude aspect of my desire for law school has, in fact, changed. It has expanded.
Unless you’re completely ignoring opportunities to gain practical experience, there will come a time in your law school career when you will finally be allowed to work with clients; either as an intern with a firm or a prosecutor’s office or as a student attorney in one of your school’s clinics. In the interest of helping you
avoid the temptation to shank your clients ensure courteous and professional service during your first interaction with clients, I’ve prepared some advice for common client situations.
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are law students.”
No matter how many times you hear a law student complain about spending hours in the law library or some gunner wrecking the curve, the simple fact of the matter is that the problem isn’t law school. The problem is us, law students. Keep Reading ⇒