Law School Discussion

Will life as I know it really come crashing to a halt?

Will life as I know it really come crashing to a halt?
« on: October 10, 2007, 08:00:43 AM » this is what I've been wrestling with. I'm not sure where best to post it, but I figured the place where most people could relate to my situation is here on the Non-Trad board.

I'm nearly 30, have been working for 7 years, and am applying for admission to LS in Fall 2008.

I hear everything about how time-consuming law school is, and I also hear how even more time-consuming being an attorney is. I get it. Besides, to get just about anywhere in any profession, you need to work long-ass hours. I get that, too.

But in starting law school will life as I know it really be over? I have other pursuits in life necessary for my happiness. Playing music, mountain-biking, spending time with my wife and dog. Is that seriously all going to end if I get into law?

With my background and abilities, I genuinely feel pointed towards a legal career. More than anything, I feel I have some good and interesting work to do. But is giving up everything else I love necessary to doing that good and interesting work?


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Re: Will life as I know it really come crashing to a halt?
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2007, 08:37:31 AM »
I'm wondering about this, too. I've spoken to some friends of mine at law schools in Canada and two of them say, Yes, lots of work, but it's not as insane as everyone makes it sound. They have a good time.
Another student (who's doing a MBA/JD mind you) is a bit more intense and consequently, seems to be much more stressed.
I imagine that some of it is just about the school itself and the atmosphere, but I'd like to knwo what other people think.


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Re: Will life as I know it really come crashing to a halt?
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2007, 08:48:06 AM »
I think a lot of this depends on you.

Attorneys I work with now are both at the office all the time or running away to fun things. If you're going corporate or BIGlaw you need to expect to have to budget time for your fun stuff.

Keep in mind though that there are law jobs out there that promote lifestyle more and pay less. It's really about hours v. pay v. what you can afford v. what you will sacrifice.

This is why minimizing debt is important to me. I don't care if I don't go to the most prestjious school, I care more about maintaining a lifestyle I like with a job in a particular area of law I want to focus on. Knowing that as I'm shopping for schools helps me figure this stuff out.

If you want mountain biking and dog and wifey, look for $$ from schools and for lower paying jobs and you'll bill less hours and live easier. Or take debt, go BIGLaw, work your ass off and be miserable for a bit before hanging a shingle.

Re: Will life as I know it really come crashing to a halt?
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2007, 10:21:59 AM »
Thanks, all... A lot of this is encouraging to hear - that options are possible at all when it comes to "salary" vs. "lifestyle." The dichotomy makes total sense, and is one of those things I'm glad my eyes are open to, unlike many who think JD = automatic six figure income.

As someone else said, it's why I want as little debt as possible, to keep options open.

The transition to law school also makes sense, the first year being the toughest, the second and third marginally less so, and I'm totally prepared for that. My concern is sentencing myself to no enjoyment of other things at all until I retire, and it sounds like that doesn't have to be the case.

Re: Will life as I know it really come crashing to a halt?
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2007, 03:12:49 PM »
Thank you for asking this, and thanks to all who responded.  As a single mom with three small kids, I've been on the fence about whether to go part-time or not.  Seems like that might be the only way to stay sane (and enjoy my family).  There are some books out that may help you get into the swing of studying effectively - Someone gave me a copy of one called Law School Confidential.  The advice seemed pretty sound as far as how to prepare outlines. Getting to Maybe is a good book on exams.



Re: Will life as I know it really come crashing to a halt?
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2007, 07:20:36 AM »
I am a non-trad 1L right now. I don't have the time to be writing this right now, but maybe this will help.
This is how it goes. You get up and go to school at 9 and you are in classes until 2 or 3 P.M. and you get out and go to the gym or or walk the dog or something for an hour or so, and you have a meal and clean the kitchen and that's it for your free time. You sit at your desk (or at a table in the library) and you read and write and study from 5 or 6 until 11 or 1 or whenever you get done with everything and then you go to bed and get up and do it again. This isn't really solid time. You have to get up to get a drink or walk around the room now and then, so it's really not grueling. You make time for a few hours out to see a hockey game on wednesday night and you take saturday off if you don't mind working a full day on sunday and then the week starts over and you're at it again.
If you focus and get all of the work behind you in a reasonable amount of time you'll be better off. You will take most of your notes on the computer but when you are reading or doing womething else you should resist the temptation to check your email or surf the web. It burns your time and makes you late and crazy. Your time is really very important. Don't waste it. Try to get as much done during the day as possible and give yourself an evening off now and then. You will actually be living at a normal pace. It's important to make it rythmic instead of frantic, which means having regular conversations with your classmates about non-law topics and having lunch with friends and assigning regular times to study. About now (mid-October)everybody will be starting to prepare for final exams in December, and they will still have the writing and research assignments to deal with so time gets a bit tighter, and don't expect to go anywhere or do anything on Thanksgiving. It's a good opportunity to study. Try not to isolate yourself too much. You will have very little to say to anyone who is not in law school, but having a relationship or a pet or a regular group to go eat burgers with is a positive.
Good luck.

Re: Will life as I know it really come crashing to a halt?
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2008, 12:00:50 AM »
Somebody asked this in another thread but I'll repost it here since this is a perfect discussion for it:

Can I treat law school like a 9-5 job? If I'm truly disciplined and, during the day, study when I'm not in class, can I free up my evenings (exam prep time excluded)?

Re: Will life as I know it really come crashing to a halt?
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2008, 11:40:51 PM » least for the first semester. Most people don't arrive at law school and know how to read cases. Even if you aren't worried about your grades, it will still take you nearly the entire semester to learn how to read cases. I'm sure some people will tell you to use commercial study guides for the substantive law but it is important to learn how to read and pull apart cases.

The people I know who treated it like a 9-to-5 job are either on academic probation or just above academic probation this semester. You learn a lot first semester, and not just law, but it gets a little easier second semester. I don't know any full-time law student who has been able to lead a normal life. Even most lawyers will tell you it's impossible for the first year.

That's just my two cents.