Ever ask an-about-to-graduate law student if he or she is excited about graduation, and get a forced yes and pained expression in response? Let’s take a look into the mind of a graduating law student. A scary place, but maybe we can gather a few reasons why graduation just doesn’t get law students revved up like it should.
Contrary to the assertion of parents and bubbies everywhere, law school graduates are not “finally done!” Graduation usually happens before all the grades are out. So most students are just sitting in commencement wondering if they made up the right answer in their Gender and the Law class so that they could pass and actually get a diploma.
To a non-lawyer it may seem like law students have accomplished a lot. But to every single person they know, the graduating law student just managed to sit through three more years of school. Getting a law degree is only impressive outside the legal community. Inside the legal community it’s just one checkbox to get through before collecting unemployment.
After almost twenty years of school behind them, most law students are looking forward to being real people. That means no more backpacks and no more homework. It means going to work in the morning, all day everyday. Skipping class is a fun way to enjoy an afternoon. Skipping work is an easy way to get fired. And unfortunately, after spending 80% of their life sitting behind a desk in a room full of desks, they may be intimidated by the thought of spending the rest of their life sitting behind a desk in a room by themselves.
There are two kinds of law students at graduation. Those with jobs lined up and those without jobs lined up. The former are sitting through a boring commencement speech worrying that they won’t know how to practice law. And they’re right. The latter are sitting there worrying that they won’t get a job. They’re also right.
Don’t even mention “the bar” in front of a recent law school grad. One gentle nudge and their brain may literally explode from all the stress they’ve already put themselves through. And bar prep hasn’t even started yet. Even reading this probably made them a little queasy.