« on: May 15, 2006, 06:23:16 PM »
OP, as i'm sure you've gathered from the other posts, often the amount of work that a law student has to do is inversely proportional to the quality of the school: the lower-ranked the school, the more competitive the atmosphere and thus the more stressed out the students might be.
i'm sure there are exceptions, but many of the lower-ranked schools fail out a certain percentage of the first year class as a matter of course -- in other words, no matter how well you do and how well you understand the material, if you are in the bottom, say, 20% of the class, you might get kicked out anyway.
not to say it isn't tough to be a harvard law student (i can only imagine it would be difficult), but at the higher ranked schools, there is less likely to be this hyper-competitive atmosphere, and the exams are more likely to be open book. this doesn't necessarily make the exams easier (since memorization won't get you anywhere on these types of exams), but it does relieve the stress of trying to memorize a bunch of stuff by rote.
so, the amount of stress your boyfriend/brother go through in law school may have a lot to do with the quality of and exam/grading policies of the schools they attend. also, their natural intelligence will have some impact on how much they have to study. while everyone does have to do a fair amount of reading to do well, some people pick up the concepts pretty easily while others struggle. and it's more complicated because re-reading the material doesn't necessarily help -- it's not like undergrad where there's a book with a list of what you're supposed to "learn" written in it (well, i guess there are -- study aids). so doing more work doesn't necessarily equal progress if you're not getting it.
the good news is that once things start to click -- a couple of months into the first year, maybe -- life gets a lot easier. and once they survive an exam period or two, they'll stress out a lot less. being supportive and helping to contribute to a calm "home life," as another poster suggested, is a great way for you to help. i think it's great that you're taking such an interest.