Warning: unpopular opinions included in this post.
Now that I have finished my last semester of law school, I have plenty of hindsight to work with. This post is the result of my ability to look back and see what worked and did not work for me during my three years. PLEASE NOTE THAT MANY OF THE ITEMS IN THIS POST HAVE EXCEPTIONS AND THEY ARE BASED ON WHAT WORKED/DID NOT FIT ME PERSONALLY. Always do what feels right for you. This post is not necessarily discouraging the things I list, but some are things I lived without in law school or found did not align with my interests.
1. Journal. Let me preface this by saying that being on a journal is a great experience, and if you want to be on a journal definitely do it. I was constantly told that you “should” do a journal because it’s “great experience”. In my personal experience, I felt that I didn’t need to be on a journal and I have never regretted that decision. I was more so interested in litigation and wanted to spend my time on moot court and other organizations that aligned with my interest. I had work experience that allowed me to continue sharpening my legal writing skills. Bottom line, do what aligns with you and your interests.
2. More than one high-level or two lower-level leadership positions. I had friends who held high level student organization leadership positions in a variety of clubs and they seemed constantly stressed. I would not recommend this because as a leader, you will end up dedicating a lot of time to the organization. Don’t take time away from studies or spread yourself too thin. It’s not about how many activities you participate in, it’s about the quality. Choose wisely.
3. Adhering to law school standards. It’s hard not to feel pressured to do things because it’s “what firms or employers look for”. How can you not feel pressure? You want to put your best foot forward. As a minority, I felt tremendous pressure to “fit in”. However, there comes a point where you may do things that you don’t truly feel passionate about or realize that the standard don’t align with your interests. I’m sick of the legal industry fitting us into a one-size mold. I never fit the mold and wasted too much time trying to. When I let go and embraced who I am, I never regretted it.
4. Study in groups. I am not a good group study type of person. I study better on my own. Don’t feel pressured to study in groups if that’s not your learning style. If study groups benefit you, go ahead and do so.
5. Commercial or non-personally made outlines. I get that sometimes a pre-made outline is what you need and I understand that. However, there is a right and wrong way to use them. Don’t rely on any other outlines but your own. Take the time and create your own, if you can.
6. Talking about grades. I’ll admit that this is a personal pet peeve, but just don’t do it. Whether you have an A or an F, I don’t care and neither does anyone else. Also, it’s in the past so, again, who cares. Stay humble, mind your own business. You should only be worrying about bettering yourself.
7. Complaining about professors or a class. I’ll say it one more time, worry about bettering yourself.
8. Working during 1L and 2L year. See my post about this topic here. I highly recommend focusing on school during the school year, if you can. We all gotta survive, so if you have no choice, do what you gotta do.
Again, my list is based on things I could live without in law school and may not have fit me personally. I just wanted to share the idea that not everything everyone tells you to do is necessary. There are circumstances that differ for everyone, so always take advice with a grain of salt.
Featured Image Credit: Future JD Diary