A Day in the Life of a 2L


Even well into my second year of law school the most common question from relatives and non-law school friends is, “what’s it like?” I’ve always struggled with this answer, in large part because there’s no way to describe law school succinctly enough to fit into the flow of normal human conversation. Like any good “I swear that I’m really not a gunner, no, really guys, I’m not” law student, I just couldn’t seem to let the question go. The result is this, a point-by-point walk through of a randomly-chosen day in my life as a 2L.

  • Alarm  goes off at 6:30
  • Reset alarm
  • Next alarm goes off at 7:00
  • Shower, shave, brew coffee
  • Get in the car by 7:20
  • Arrive at the university 7:50
  • Arrive at law building 8:00 (half-mile from parking to law building)
  • Breakfast (stale doughnut from yesterday’s (Sunday’s) work session)
  • Reply to some club e-mails
  • Begin research and writing for memos due at 1:30
  • Print memos for another student
  • Finish first memo 10:15
  • Spend 15 minutes listening to “Lawyers, Guns and Money”
  • Realize that the official title for “Lawyers, Guns and Money” is missing the Oxford comma
  • Wonder if it’s wrong to notice that
  • Realize that there you have to be at a lunch presentation at 12:30
  • Start researching memo #2 with a bit more focus
  • Complete second memo 11:47
  • Probably time to get some background spiel to introduce the speaker at the lunch presentation
  • Notice the envelope that you’ve been “meaning to mail” for the past 10 days but haven’t because there “just isn’t time” to drop it off at the post office which is, literally, across the street from the law school
  • Decide that you’ll drop it off later because there’s just not time right now
  • Knock out an outline for speaker introduction in 10 minutes
  • Start reading motions from the 1Ls to whom you’re providing writing advice
  • Realize that you’ll probably need to read memos rather than pay attention to the speaker or to your afternoon class
  • Set up for the speaker
  • Watch another group come in and try to start setting up for their speaker
  • Debate which group has actually reserved the room
  • Wait for one of the other group’s officers to come in and confirm that they were just “floating” to a room that looked free
  • Set up for your speaker
  • Notice that only 4 people have shown up
  • Consider that maybe you were a little lax on promoting the event
  • Resolve to stop faulting last year’s org president for failing to promote events now that you see how hard it is to keep everything on track
  • Postpone the event so as not to force a professor to present for 4 people
  • Work with the academic services people so that you now actually understand the event promotion policies (turns out that you CAN have an event appear more than once in the announcements)
  • Vow to do better on the re-scheduling
  • Take solace in the fact that this at least gives you more time to read motions from the 1Ls
  • Be disappointed but not surprised that, after working out calendar options for rescheduling the event and learning about promotion policies, you only have three minutes of “free” time to look at 1L motions
  • Shove a handfull of Pringles into your mouth and then shotgun a can of CocaCola
  • Call that “lunch”
  • Head to class
  • Foolishly agree to discuss a case-study on the basis that no-one is volunteering and he’ll cold-call otherwise (taking one for the team is a skill that will be appreciated in firms as well)
  • Pay no attention to class because you’re reviewing recusal motions for your 1Ls
  • Spend the afternoon helping 1Ls revise their papers (3:30 – 7:00)
  • Realize that you haven’t had any real food all day
  • Decide to continue the streak and order pizza
  • Get back to work on a research project 8:00
  • Wish you hadn’t wasted that hour between 7:00 and 8:00 by getting “dinner” when you would have done better with just more caffeine, now you’re a bit logy from all that food
  • Drink two cans of Coca-Cola to re-attain the caffeine buzz
  • Pee
  • Actually get back to work 8:30
  • Finish up the research portion of the Legal Research project 11:30
  • Note that the project has you tracking billable time
  • Consider that you’ll probably need to do better than 1.5 hours of billable time for every 3 hours of clock time when you’re in a firm
  • Take comfort in the fact that, when you get to a firm, you’re not going to be stopping every 15 minutes to chat with someone walking by
  • In theory, anyway
  • Start memo midnight
  • Finish memo 1:00 am
  • Debate finishing the Admin Law work you need to do before class tomorrow
  • Decide that going home and getting some sleep is more important
  • Feel guilty about that decision
  • While driving home wonder idly whether the decision to drive home constitutes negligence per se
  • Decide that you just don’t care as long as you get to sleep
  • Realize that you still haven’t mailed that envelope you found just before noon
  • Convince yourself that there just wasn’t time
  • Go to sleep so you can do it all again tomorrow

Post image from Shutterstock

The Northwest 3L spent 6 years in the "real world" cultivating cynicism and a dim view of humanity in the telecom and software consulting industries before deciding that the best way to deal with having zero debt in a down economy was to load up on student loans and truck on off to law school. Asked for a description, his friends replied, "says inappropriate things." Grainy, out-of-focus film footage suggests that he attends law school somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

4 Comments

  1. Biffman

    March 27, 2012 at 8:32 am

    My 2L experiences:

    - Wake up at 10:30
    - Realize there’s class at 11
    - Roll back over and go to sleep
    - Get out of bed around 12:30
    - Find roommate, play 2 hours of Xbox
    - Catch up on episode of Justified
    - Take a nap
    - Meet friends for dinner
    - Inquire what was missed in class (“nothing, but some people asked some stupid questions”)
    - Go to bar in sketchy part of town
    - Get home around 2
    - Post on some message boards
    - Sleep around 3

    - Rinse and repeat until finals
    - Obtain outline from hard working friend
    - Take shot of vodka
    - Take exam
    - Graduate in top 10%
    - Wonder why you have no job
    - Contemplate your last several years
    - Give finger to Sallie Mae

  2. southern bitter

    March 28, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    you should’ve told the 1L’s to go “F” themselves and grabbed a beer.

    p.s. telling 1L’s to go “F” themselves is at least a .2 of billable time.”

    p.p.s. only gunners volunteer in class.

  3. r. dernister

    March 29, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Ummmmm . . . let’s see, law school . . . yeah, I think I recall going to one of those. Did it involve beer?

  4. bigtime

    April 1, 2012 at 12:23 am

    Dude, reading this was *painful*, and/or what the shit are you talking about? I am a 2l finishing a semester early and in the top 10% (well, if my luck holds anyways, and lets be honest, it is about 90% luck) and my day is absolutely nothing like yours.
    I get up, go to class for a couple of hours, read some after class, and make sure the writing assignments for my goofball 2L writing class are done. I also clerk at the PD’s office, so a couple of days a week, I go there. Who gives a shit about clubs? Sounds like a nightmarish time-sync to me. Also, what are all these memos you are writing and reading (and why are you even talking to 1Ls)? Do your profs do that to make sure people are actually looking at the cases? Generally speaking, I have a fair amount of free time; certainly more than when I had a full time job (except for maybe when the big research project was due, which I spent all of Spring break working on). Anyways, best of luck maintaining that pace. Sounds stupid to me.

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