Law School: A Positive Experience, But Lessons Learned

My bedroom fan running on high, black silk comforter falling to the ground, pillows and clothes strewn across the bed and floor, moonlight dancing into the room; I lay on my stomach taking in a few more hours of sleep before the dreaded singsong alarm announces the need for me to awaken for school.

That was the first day of my third year of law school.

My first year of law school I wrote an article for Motions discussing my first day of school.  At the end of my first day of my 3L year, I re-read that article; wow, have I changed.  From a young girl with an inability to sleep, nervous excitement for school, student organizations, work opportunities, and being in the legal field, I end my first day of 3L year with an entirely different song and dance.  The girl I once was has grown up and is now more realistic and with dreams that have shifted immensely.

Unlike my 1L year, this time I woke up in the morning and had not laid out clothes to wear for the first day of school, I had not packed my backpack and did not have a locker or a new parking pass.  I walked into my first day’s classes pretty unprepared; I only skimmed the assignments that were e-mailed out to the class and had not even purchased any of my textbooks.  Hey, this is the year that law school is supposed to bore you to death, right?

A 3L ponders his fate as graduation looms near

After two years of law school and working at countless legal positions with distinctive and accomplished attorneys and jurists, I have realized that the legal field is not for me.  This is not a realm that I am passionate about working in for the rest of my life.  When I graduate, I do not intend on practicing law.

Law school has been a rough period for me.  I am a natural researcher and planner.  When I am bored, I sit and I plan out my life and I research different things that excite me.  Admittedly, I even have graphs, excel spreadsheets, and journals noting my various visions and ideas.  Yes, I am a pretty big nerd.  I have always known who I was, where I belong, and where I wanted my end destination to be.  However, as I slowly began to realize that the realistic practice of law was not something I wanted to do for the rest of my life, my end destination stopped being clear. The past year—as I started realizing my unease and lack of passion for practicing law—has been extremely scary and I have never been so lost in my life, so without direction.  However, as I enter my third year of law school I have more focus and realization of where I would like to be and what I would like to do with my life.  I do not despise my legal education.  I am actually happy with my overall experience and happy that law school has helped me to realize the types of careers that truly interest me.

Being in law school and working in the legal sector, I have had the opportunity to develop and apply the skills obtained throughout my academic career.  My legal education has helped me to realize my core interests and the sectors that I am truly passionate about working in when I graduate.  At work and school, I have found myself to be more interested in the different business and financial or public relations related aspects of the practice rather than just the day-to-day work of an average attorney.  I have also had the opportunity to expand upon these non-legal interests through my various extracurricular activities, elective courses, and even within my legal positions.

Though, in law school I have struggled internally, the past two years has also given me some of the greatest moments of my life.  I have developed incredible friendships, great memories, and have acquired strong skill sets that have helped me to develop as a person and professional.  I am able to write more concisely and analyze issues in a well-rounded manner.  After hard work and much practice, I have moved from being a strong oral advocate to a good oral advocate with international mobility.  I have a better understanding of the realities of the world and I have enjoyed practical experiences traveling and competing around the globe in places like New York and Hong Kong.  Through being on the VICAM team I have also found an immense interest in possibly working in the realm of international arbitration. Though I do not want to practice law, I can take the skill sets that I have developed in school and utilize them in different sectors that I enjoy.  

I have enjoyed—and will always remember—the great memories with awesome people that I have met through my legal and academic experiences.  I will always remember random shopping trips, and staying up to the wee hours of the night in the LRC researching, and writing briefs and practicing arguments for various moot court competitions.  I will always remember laughing, crying, and moaning and groaning with my section buddies and VICAM teammates.  I will remember being surprised by a group of law school mates on my 21st birthday, as well as sports days at the beach.  I will always remember sitting in the Writs pretending to study in between class and the attack of the coffee monster that caused the coffee stain in Warren Hall 3B.  I will always remember watching Taiko drumming in Grace Courtroom (see YouTube).  I have had an incredible journey.

On my first day of law school, I had nothing but nervous excitement and naïve dreams for the future.  As a third year law student, I have tangible memories and a stronger understanding of what to expect for the coming year.  I now understand that the core of law school and life is not about grades or your resume but developing positive and lasting relationships.  I now truly understand how important it is to find an activity or person outside of work or school to keep you grounded and constantly looking toward a positive future. 

As I continue through my third year of law school, I look forward to the opportunity to further develop my skill sets and continuing to create awesome memories and building new friendships.  Though I am very excited to soon be done with school and ready to move forward in a different sector of work, this has been an overall positive journey.

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