Law School Discussion

Question you've all probably heard a million times - does law school own you?

I don't think law school owns me. I'm in my second semester. I got 8 hours of sleep every night last semester, had dinner every night with my husband, still managed to attend family functions, and left town for a weekend in November. It's all about time management. (and yes, I got good grades too)

I'll echo what everyone else is saying.

Yes it is a lot of work.  The work isn't terribly difficult, but if you slack off and get behind, it is easy to get swamped.  Exams are also not difficult in terms of material, but more in terms of volume, and trying to get as much on the page as quickly as possible.

It is entirely possible to put in an 8-10 hour day at school, get 8 hours of sleep, and still have 5-6 hours of "personal time" for going to the gym, playing video games, hanging out at the bar, or whatever else you want to do.  Not only is it possible, but I think it should be mandatory.  Maintaining a healthy balance in life is important to prevent burn out.

Well, you obviously have other career options.  So if you just wanna make a lot of money, I would say DO NOT go to law school, and do something else.  The way the legal market is today, a JD is certainly not a ticket to a high paying job.  In fact, it could lead to some serious debt (as you seem to be aware of).  Additionally, since you're gonna be going to a law ranked school, you have even less of a chance of getting a decent job.  And don't count on transferring, nothing is a guarantee...     

That being said, you have to ask yourself: how badly do you want to be an attorney?  Do you understand what the day-to-day activities are like?  Are you generally intrigued by the law?

YES, it owns your life.  But, if you truly love it, then its not a problem.  I'm a 1L and I did very well my first semester, probably because I actually enjoy studying law.  Sure, there were some low points, but in general I'm pretty infatuated with the subject matter.

Do some serious self-assessment before you jump into law school... especially a lower ranked one w/o scholarship $$$.

+1.  I took my sweet time before I began law school, and don't regret it one bit.  It is often going to be all-consuming- and you'd better be committed to it when you start.

If you have doubts about going, here's a piece of advice one of my most trusted older friends once gave me:

"When in doubt, there IS no doubt."

In other words, don't commit to something (or someone) until you're certain you are willing to go the distance!


I pretty much agree with what everyone else is saying.  You just have to put school in its place within your life and not let it take over everything else.  Give it a lot of time, but give yourself time away from it as well. 

The only advice I'd have is specific to your situation.  You really need to consider the strong possibility that you won't get the necessary grades to transfer to the school of your choice.  The curves at the lower rated schools are pretty harsh and a lot of students go in with the same plan to transfer so it can be pretty competitive.  Would you be happy if you ended up graduating from the school you start at?  Would it be worth the investment in time/money (both tuition and lost income)?  I was in a similar situation and actually ended up going through the application process twice because I didn't want to risk not being able to transfer after my 1L year. 

Hey thanks everyone, I didn't expect such good info.

I'm pretty positive that I do want to get into law, I was doubting my ability to succeed because I've never been the most studious student. All through college I never cracked a book until the night before an exam and ended up with a 2.8 overall, 3.5 major only (which is the more important for an IT/Business Degree). The only problem was that I partied a lot and ended up dropped like 5 classes, so I have a bunch of W's on my transcript which will kill my GPA when the LSAC converts it.

Transferring was going to hopefully allow me to apply to better schools with better grades.

Maybe I'll take the Feb. test and apply to see if I can get into either DePaul or Loyola, and the backup school as a safety. Then, I'll take the test again in June and if I score higher on it, I can apply again to the better schools.

With solid time management I don't think it 'owns' you anymore than any other full-time endeavor... 

Can you maintain the type of undergraduate party life lots of us had?  No.  But that's also true for any full-time job, pretty much.

I must me in the very small minority, but I am a 3L and have found law school to be significantly less time consuming, less stressful and easier than my undergrad.  Although, my undergrad was electrical engineering where I had homeworks nightly and group projects in every class.  The nice thing about law school is that because finals are typically your grade, you can work when you want to work.  I probably average 1-2 hrs outside of class per day (with some days doing nothing) during the semester until about 2-3 weeks before finals when I kick it in.  For me, not having homework deadlines (other than papers...which typically you know about the entire semester) in law school is a big relief!


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Law school is what you make it to be. Going in, I was just like you. I heard the horror stories and read the books that tell you what to expect.I was out of undergrad for more than five years and had an awesome career.
Throughout the first semester, I found myself constantly asking.... what's wrong? I didn't feel the stress, even during exams. I didn't feel overwhelmed. I didn't feel any of the emotions everyone warned me I would.
In addition to class, I worked 20 hours per week and I commuted to and from school which took another 8 hours of time out of my week. Even so, I still got 6-8 hours of sleep each night, had time to eat, exercise and enjoy life with family and friends.
And, on top of it all, I got the grades. A 3.74 GPA and ranked 7 out of 151