Thought Catalog
January 21, 2014

10 Things To Know Before Starting Law School

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The Lincoln Lawyer
The Lincoln Lawyer

1. Law school is not graduate school.

Ever felt like taking a walk down memory-lane? Well, you’re in luck because the law school experience has more in common with middle school than it does with other graduate programs. On the first day, you enter the building like you own the place. You naively think you already understand the true meaning of life. And then very quickly you discover that you’re actually just an awkward and lowly 6th grader all over again. Thank goodness you can drink this time!

2. Be nice to everyone, and be careful with whom you trust.

Unfortunately, a large group of wannabe lawyers necessarily leads to some vicious drama (like I said, welcome back to your middle school cafeteria). And since gossip spreads like wildfire, everyone in your class will know whether you have a good or bad reputation by the end of the first semester.

3. There will be some reshuffling of friend groups several months into the semester.

Bonds made during orientation will weaken, and you’ll eventually figure out where you fit in. Don’t feel bad when you realize you’re not going to be lifelong BFFs with the person you thought was your soul-twin. It happens to most everyone considering how much time you will end up spending getting to know your classmates.

4. Be cautious about who you sit next to during the first week of classes.

Most professors assign a seating chart based on the spot you choose. So think twice before grabbing the seat next to the total babe you thought you hit it off with at the first bar review. No one wants a daily meeting with an awkward situation.

5. On that note, if you hook up with a person in your section….well, don’t.

Convinced they are the love of your life? Congratulations, and all the best. You’ve officially been warned.

6. Force yourself to spend time outside of the law school environment.

When law students are together, the conversation rarely deviates from the underlying theme of how stressful school is. If you would like to avoid a mental breakdown, find friends who aren’t in law school and commit to not talking about school.

7. Lose the ego.

No one wants to know about your great scholarship or how high your LSAT score was. In fact, it is totally uncool to talk about. Law school is graded on a curve and can be quite competitive. Don’t voluntarily add fuel to the fire. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

8. Don’t be a gunner.

No one likes a know-it-all. However, if you can’t help but mentally masturbate during a lecture, do us a favor and keep it in the classroom. Your law school friends definitely don’t want to talk about how much better you could teach the material. Obviously you were smart enough to get into law school, so you should be smart enough to answer that hypothetical on your own time.

9. It’s okay to be shy.

If you’re an introvert, don’t let all the extroverts scare you into thinking you made the wrong choice in attending law school. While, you’ll initially feel as if you want to crawl under a rock and die every day for the next three years of your life, success in both law school and the legal profession requires a tremendous amount of alone time. Also, how much someone talks during class does not predict how well they will do on the exam.

10. Try not to become an alcoholic.

Naturally, law students find fun and relaxation in social activities that mostly involve copious amounts of alcohol. Alcoholism is far more prevalent in the legal profession than it is in the general population. And while I think it’s totally cool that my school hosts a keg on campus every Thursday, addiction to alcohol is not totally cool. TC Mark

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