* * *
The problem is that you're just repeating a chant of "NO!" without actually offering any alternatives. The world is full of people protesting anything, surprisingly few of them has a constructive suggestion as an alternative.
For anyone in college (or earlier), here's the advice: Think, seriously,
about whether law school is truly, genuinely for you. Not (just) the stuff about grades, exams, and so on, but the real question: is the law what you really want to do? If the answer is yes--and for many it is--then don't let anyone, including me, stand in your way. If you're uncertain, I suggest reading two books: The Slacker's Guide to Law School,
by Juan Doria, and [***Warning: shameless self-promotion alert***] Law School: Getting In, Getting Good, Getting the Gold,
by, um, me. Why the slacker's guide? Because it has, I think, one of the best sections on "Should I go" that's been written. It's also quite funny. (Further disclaimer: I wrote a foreword to that book.) Why my book? In addition to plagia . . . borrowing the importance of that topic, are questions of how to think about law school and the legal profession that, in immodesty, I don't think you'll quite get from an experienced practitioner and law instructor anywhere else.
For anyone applying, read Curll's book, Best Law School Admissions' Secrets
(boy that's a mouthful). Do not read any book on "Essays that worked..." (as she'll explain). Or, if you do read them, give them immediately to the nearest retiree and forget that you read them. Again, Curll will explain why.
For anyone starting 1L next year, in addition to thinking about the above, focus seriously
on what you're really going to accomplish. If it's legal superstardom, now is the time to put yourself in position for that. If you've not worked in a law office, it wouldn't be a bad idea to hunt for a part-time job, at least. And it would not be a bad idea to begin thinking about what the law is really all about. I'll toss out three books. There are more, and of course one can read lots online. But these three might be the ones to start with (or at least end with). Planet Law School
. Love it or hate it, you're going
to be going against some in your class who will read and take PLS seriously. Be prepared. My book (Law School: Getting In, Getting Good, Getting the Gold
), cause I need another mai tai and the waiter keeps looking at me funny. And Law School Confidential
. For the last one I've mixed feelings (along with those mixed drinks). First, just about everyone's going to read LSC. Second, as I explain in GGG, much of LSC is fine advice. But, third, much is not, and, fourth, some is downright silly. Fifth, I leave it in any case to you to decide which is which. Finally, it wouldn't do not to mix things up a bit. [Again with the cocktails?!]
For anyone currently in 1L, stop reading this. Now.
Okay, you've not stopped. Well then, as soon as you've finished this paragraph, go to your room and pick up that practice exam you've been flipping through for two weeks. Yes, that
one. Put aside all those useless notes. Forget the rainbow-colored casebook. Now is the time to put it all together. If you have LEEWS, read and practice and read and practice that again. If not, simply practice with hypos and practice exams and more. You need to be taking many, many practice exams, and then going through each, line by line, figuring out what you hit and what you missed. Refine your outlines from 30-50 pages to 1-2 pages. Then work some more exams. Hang in there. You can do it.
Okay now. Go to your room.
Twenty-three hours (and an equal number of drinks) after your last exam, get Insider's Guide to Getting a Big Firm Job,
and think about how to volunteer/work part time for at least some of your first summer. If not, consider a clinic. (For pre-laws, it's not a bad idea to read this now, or at least during the summer, and start on the job spreadsheets the authors recommend.)
For anyone in 2L without a job--which is, yes, nearly everyone--in addition to the above now is the time to search like crazy for a smaller firm or agency in need of someone, anyone. I know it's painful to hear that volunteering is better than nothing, but volunteering is better than nothing. (Clearly, if you are volunteering, then at least you can follow your dreams and do something you really want to.) Chances are you'll build at least a small network of contacts, and chances are from there that you'll be in a much better position to line up a decent job thereafter, both part-time during school and full-time thereafter.
1Ls, are you still reading this?!
For a 3L, I've noted before Morten Lund's two books (soon three), Jagged Rocks of Wisdom
and Jagged Rocks of Wisdom--The Memo
. Both are superb (even though, shockingly, they're not mine). Then there's The Young Lawyer's Jungle Book,
the best book yet written, and The Curmudgeon's guide. These will pack more advice per page than any 87 posts.
For the bar exam, take those outlines from 1L and re-do them, along with the one's you'll need from 2-3L and any other missing. Same process, same fun. Stirred, not shaken.
And for everyone . . . good luck in exams and in your paths. Hang in there. It will all work out.
Now about that mai tai