How it Feels to Attend Law School

Stressed worker

I think the best way to describe law school is through one word: stress. While the stress tends to decrease in your 2L and 3L years, it still exists.

At the most basic level, you’re entering an entirely new academic environment. It places a disproportionate emphasis on theory and you’ll be reading case law from the 19th century. You’ll essentially learn an entirely new language by studying unfamiliar terms in civil procedure, contracts, and your other 1L courses. Further, it can take some time to adjust to the Socratic Method.

Above all of this, you may be attending a law school in a different city or state. Therefore, you’ll need to adjust to the practicalities of uprooting your life and building your local network from the ground up.

But back to the academic front. You quickly recognize that law school involves a ton of work. You have to complete hundreds of pages of reading each night while being aware of the details in your case law. You know that your professors are going to ask you about these details, so you want to be prepared so that you don’t embarrass yourself in class.

The pressure ratchets up as you approach exams. All of your classmates are intelligent and they will work just as hard as you. Your 1L exam scores play a disproportionate impact on the types of internships (and ultimately full-time jobs) that you can obtain. When the pressure reaches its apex, it’s important to find ways to decompress, like developing a daily workout routine or simply taking breaks with friends.

I think it’s safe to say that a fair number of students question whether they should drop out and try something else. It’s not totally crazy: between the amount of work that you face in law school, you have to be super committed to survive. But if you stick with it, graduate, pass the bar exam, and find a job that you love, you really appreciate how much you’ve accomplished.