19 Things That Happen When You’re A First-Year Law Student

1. You will look like an idiot when you get cold called. This is pretty much inevitable for every unfortunate 1L. No matter how prepared you are, how meticulously you’ve book-briefed or how detailed you’ve briefed the case on Microsoft Word, the professor is going to throw you a curveball out of legal left field. You’ll scramble frantically through your casebook, sweating profusely and wishing you could sue your prof for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

2. You will abandon your diet and exercise regiment at some point. When all the workshops/seminars/panels provide free pizza, and you’re sitting on your ass all day trying to comprehend legal jargon, salad and water just don’t seem appealing. Oh, and an hour at the gym? Ain’t no law student got time for that.

3. You will break up, or think of breaking up with, your significant other. Not because it’s personal, but because you could have so much more time for studying and save a hell of a lot of money for your looming, increasing student loans.

4. You will drink alcohol. Frequently. Lawyers drink, and this habit starts in law school. After spending 12-hour days going to classes, meetings, and then to the library to read, you’ll understand why completely.

5. You will improve, however slightly, at arguing. You’ll secretly derive pleasure from the fact that you have these newfound, argumentative abilities that you’ll start using it in every day life. Your family and friends will be annoyed when you start debating things like the best toppings for pizza, but at least you’re getting practice.

6. …and writing. Compare your first memo draft to the final brief at the end of your 1L year and you’ll see what I mean.

7. You will start actually reading things before you sign them. Gone are the days when you blindly sign away your rights on those licensed user’s agreements, waivers, and liability forms. You’ll at least the skim the page and might even find yourself crossing out disagreeable provisions.

8. You will start replacing the word “Contracts” with a K. And your non-law student friends will be like “ummm… k.”

9. You will constantly see torts in every day life. Negligence: here, there, and everywhere.

10. You will get rejected when you apply to jobs or internships. A lot. (But you’ll also learn to be okay with it.)

11. You will get obsessed with law/politics related shows, like Suits or Scandal or House of Cards. You’ll start aspiring to be the next Olivia Pope or Harvey Specter, if you hadn’t already prior to coming to law school.

12. You’ll rewatch Legally Blonde and point out everything factually wrong with it. Seriously, that shit is nothing like law school.

13. You will become isolated from the world. (Especially during reading period.)

14. … and severely frustrated that no one who isn’t a law student can understand. At least your medical school friends have an idea.

15. You will cry. Probably around finals time.

16. You will become at least a little bit jaded and cynical. Justice is an illusion (especially while Scalia remains on the Supreme Court.)

17. You will get really competitive. The curve is merciless.

18. You will start having ambitions and high expectations for yourself. You want to be at the front of that curve, damn it.

19. You will become a stronger, more competent human being. Despite feeling beat down, lonely, and like a failure at times, you’re receiving a rigorous education and learning how to become an important professional in society. You’re learning how to handle stress, multitask efficiently, and think critically about legal issues. With every embarrassing cold call and every 50-page outline, you know you’re well on your way to becoming a gladiator in a suit. TC mark

image – Legally Blonde

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