Law School Advice from my Mentor
1. Remember that law school is not hard; it’s just time-consuming.
2. If you think everyone is smarter than you based on what they are saying, remember that they aren’t. They are just better at making things up.
3. The professors know who is making things up.
4. There will always be a few people in the big classes who like to hear themselves talk. It will quickly become obvious who they are. We played a game called “Asshole Horseracing.” You and friends (you will make friends) each pick an asshole and keep track of how many questions they each ask. At the end of the class, see who has the most points.
5. Law school is not a competition. People will try to compete. Do not get sucked into that.
6. There is probably going to be a lot of talk about “legislative history.” Unless you are getting into a very statutory based area of law, you will never use this. It’s interesting, but not something you can ever argue to a jury and your clients don’t care (again, with a few limited exceptions).
7. People will form “study groups.” People will tell you that you NEED a study group. You don’t. Study groups might work for you or they might not. I tried it and it was not for me. You’ve made it all the way to law school, you know how you learn best so trust yourself.
8. Many people will boast and try to sound self-important to try to intimidate you. They are full of crap and insecure. Go away from them.
9. Make friends with an assistant dean. Literally stop by, ask questions. Develop that relationship. You WILL need it at some point when you are having a problem with a professor.
10. Never let a professor talk down to you or act like they are too busy to help you. THEY ARE THERE FOR YOU – NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.
11. Take advantage of office hours – do not be afraid to ask questions if you do not understand something.
12. If you aren’t prepared on a particular day (it will happen) and you know that your professor likes to call on random people, talk to them in advance of class and apologize and ask if you can have a ‘pass’ on being called on that day. This works well if you are usually prepared. If they call on you anyway just to humiliate you, go see the assistant dean that you made friends with per number 8.
13. Do not think for a minute that you are going to learn law in law school. Don’t worry about it, you’ll learn it when you graduate.
14. If you have any “free” time (you will, you just won’t think you will) go watch actual court. Most courts are open, This is the BEST way to learn how to be a lawyer if you are ever going to do a type of law that involves court.
15. Do not worry about figuring out what type of law you are going to do. I never even took family law. Now I’ve been doing it for 9 years.
16. Take time to relax. Seriously.
17. You’re going to be really stressed. It’s normal.
18. Meet as many people as you can. Later in your career, it will be helpful for you to have these connections.
19. Do what is right for you. If you don’t want to do Law Review (I didn’t), then don’t. If you don’t want to do a Federal Clerkship (I didn’t), then don’t. Many people will say you “have to” do certain things. No, you don’t. Trust me on this one – I followed none of what I was “supposed” to do and it worked out ok for me.