I've been in correspondence with a 1L that is having a miserable time in law school. I promised him that I wouldn't post about his situation specifically, but I thought I should post about the law school experience because it doesn't come up often--since we focus on the end result and the lack of a return on the investment so much. However, it should be noted that the law school experience ... leaves much to be desired. Of course, that's the understatement of the century.
First, it's not a cerebral experience. Having majored in political science, with a minor in History (worthless, I know), I hoped for a similar experience in law school. I too thought I "loved the law." I guess I was slightly enamored with deep political discussions and somehow related that to the law and learning the law and the Socratic Method. So, upon attending law school, I was deeply disappointed. Deep discussions on Subject Matter Jurisdiction and Mens Rea weren't that interesting. It wasn't actually interesting at all. I felt like those topics weren't deep or significant enough to warrant the extensive discussions dedicated to them. Other classes, like "Gifts and Stiffs" were too rule oriented and practical to be deep. I guess my Professor didn't want to waste his time and ours on lofty discussions when it was a really practical class. Never mind the fact that we never drafted a will--so it was practical and impractical all at once. And don't get me started on Greenacre, Whiteacre and Blackacre. The Rule Against Perpetuities wasted hours upon hours of my life. In the end, we found out that most states abolished it. All or most? Who the fuck cares? It never comes up, EVER. What the hell was the point of that?
Then there is the "competitive" aspect. Remember, I went to school pre-Internet. As part of our Legal Research and Writing Class, we had to use a particular book in the library. That book disappeared within an hour of class. And it didn't show up again until after the assignment came due. Then, there was the study guide debate. Everyone in my school claimed to be creating their own outlines. However, they all had hand picked the best study guide and secured the best outline from classes of yesteryear and squirreled them away. So, if you ever asked which they would use, you'd be demeaned for wanting to use something so low as a study guide. EVERYONE uses study guides. Why would anyone lie to you about that? Oh yah, the bell curve.
Also, joining a study group was hellish. I asked someone who was nice to me in class if I could join his. He told me that he couldn't extend the invitation to me because the other members of his group wouldn't approve. I felt like Elle from Legally Blonde. There are actually so many parallels between her and I that it's embarrassing--but I'm not Blonde, but I have a silly small dog. The perceived "smart people study group" [hereinafter "SPSG"] pulled a stunt before finals that I'll never forget. We all used to study at this big coffee shop near campus. It was two days before the final and the SPSG showed up to to the cafe with no books. They ordered Lattes and sat down in the middle of the cafe yakking it up for a couple of hours while all the law students in the place were trying to study. It was a clear attempt to tell us that they were confident and prepared and we were not. If that's not low, tell me what is?
So, although I did fine, I hated the law school experience. It was the most degrading and demeaning experience of my life. I was a confident and intelligent person in college and I certainly am now. But it took me more than few years to recover from the blow to my self-esteem that law school dealt me. I left feeling like a shell of a person.
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