On Starting Law School & Elle Woods
In Legally Blonde, Elle says the famous words, “what, like it’s hard?”
It’s become some sort of a mantra for female students applying to and starting law school. As kickass as this moment was in the movie, however, there’s something very important to note here.
She says these words in reference to getting into law school, not actually attending law school, which, as you recall, she immediately struggles with.
Getting into law school is deceptively simple. There are no prerequisites. Elle’s undergrad had nothing to do with law, or anything even in the humanities. Her focus was in fashion.
All it takes to get into a law school is to have gone through undergrad and to have taken the LSAT. There is no “passing” score on the LSAT, and you will be able to find a law school that accepts you somewhere in the USA if you have taken it at all. It won’t be a good law school, but it will be a law school.
Getting into a good law school, like Harvard, requires a good GPA and LSAT score. If you have a 3.9 GPA and 175+ LSAT, you’re almost guaranteed to get into Harvard Law.
I will not downplay what an impressive feat this is, but you still need to realize that both a high undergrad GPA and a high LSAT score are things that to some, come easily. We all know those kids in college who got straight A’s without trying, and kids who did well on standardized tests (like the SAT) without really trying.
Elle had a 4.0 GPA (so yes, she’s smart), and yes she struggled with increasing her LSAT practice score but she still got a 179 (a score I actually never heard of in real life) on the first try. Meaning, she’s a great test taker.
This has very little to do with how one feels while in law school.
At most law schools, you do not have any exams until the finals. Instead you are expected to only keep taking in information, without being tested on them in any formal manner, and you need to do this in ridiculous volume and speed. You need to be reading cases for 4, 5 classes that all meet nearly everyday, and retaining all this information. It’s not easy. It’s not designed to be easy.
The film made this as clear as it could. Elle’s struggles with getting into Harvard were not even half the battle. It was a cute, fun montage of her studying for the LSAT and putting together a video essay. Once law school starts, she initially crashes and burns, in more ways than one. And then she realizes she really needs to get her shit together.
It can be very discouraging for these hopeful Elle Woodses to start law school and then realize how difficult it is in comparison to everything they’ve done before. But it’s important to remember that their heroine, Elle Woods, struggled, too. You can do it. You can get through it. Just remember: