Is This Law School or Junior High?


Is this law school or junior high? I’ve asked myself that countless times since law school began. Perhaps it’s something about the relatively small school setting combined with the perpetual expectation and performance of higher, more critical thinking that has left many of us with the social behavior of 13-year-olds.

The average age of my 1L class was 25. After a year and half with my classmates, you could easily convince me we were half that. Nothing seems to be as efficient or effective in sapping a group’s collective maturity. The gossip, unnecessary drama, the “have you heards” and the “did you sees” poison the air like noxious gas. There’s no vaccine, no prevention, no cure, and no recovery.

It’s whispers in the library, murmurs in the hall, rapid fire gchats, tap-danced texts, almost always where the speaker or sender has limited legitimate knowledge, typically second hand at best.

Sometimes it’s harmless, sometimes it’s not, and either way the result is the same. Refutation is seen as denial; admission is seen as guilt, proof and veracity go disregarded.

Among its many side effects, law school has herded many of us into much more judgmental lemmings.

It’s as if we spend so much time wrapping our minds around the minutia of civil procedure and monuments of constitutional issues that when we let our minds wander, they sink like they’re resisting in quicksand. Then, instead of searching for and considering opposing arguments like we’ve been taught, we reject any evidence that fails to support our conclusions. Rational thinking and logical reasoning fall from our brains like last semester’s textbooks when rumor enters the area. It appears that, outside of the classroom/courtroom/library, our legal-minds-in-training lose their will to function.

There are some who succeed in staying out of the circus. They refuse to participate, keep their personal lives personal, and know that one can get away with anything if he never tells another.

There are some who revel in it, delighted, and some who retreat from it, disgusted. It’s pathetic at best, but there’s almost no stopping it. If each of us minded our own business, we’d be too busy to worry about yours—but then what would we do with our time? Study?

Post image/illustration from Shutterstock

Not all blonde lawyers or law students want to be the next Elle Woods. Though she has since graduated from law school, you can still find Not an Elle on Twitter @NotanElle or on her own site at thenotanelleblog.com

1 Comment

  1. Erin A

    January 24, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    This is great. You know my connection to you all, and I kind of saw it the same way, but those of you that stay out of it are awesome! I think you all are just together ALL THE TIME, therefore, it just breeds cliques and gossip. Add in the competition, and it gets out of control. Hopefully it is calming down and the years go on and you can rise above it.

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