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November 10, 2003

Pre-Finals Reminder

As DG has been noting, it's getting to be that time when the library is full of intensely studying peoples and the stress levels start going into interstellar orbits. So of course there's no better time than now to pause and consider Dahlia Lithwick's "Letter to a Young Law Student" for a quick reminder of what you're doing here in the first place. [Link via Professor Yin.] Remember Lithwick's sage words:

If there is one law of law-school thinking it's this: "If everyone else wants something, I must want it, too." Not since the days of the Tonka backhoe and Malibu Skipper will you have so lunged for stuff in which you have no real interest, just because everyone else is lunging. Law school manages to impose odd new values on virtually everyone. And each step of the way, law students make choices—to interview with certain firms, take certain classes, apply for certain clerkships—based on an impoverished sense of other options and the fear that other people will get all the good stuff if you don't grab it. This is hard advice to give and harder, I expect, to take. Fear and conformity dig some pretty deep paths at law school. Don't just follow because they are there.

The other day, So Sue Me posted her advice for incoming 1Ls which I also recommend, especially tip #7:

If you are not comfortable with idea that you will become cynical, do not apply to law school.

I'm wondering if perhaps the two peices of advice go together. Does the massive pressure to conform actually produce the cynicism?

As for me, I'm honestly just tired of it all. I'm tired of reading cases and never getting to really discuss them (the Socratic method is absolute shyte, pedagogically speaking—just ask Professor Leiter), and tired of talking about outlines and study habits and whether to attend the next BarBri review session and what's going to count or not count when I'm working for a firm. That reminds me, I think I'm going to get a t-shirt to wear every day that says: "No offense to you if you're hoping to get a firm job, but please don't assume that I sympathize with your hopes because, well, I don't."

Oops, that cynicism might be getting the better of me.

"Maybe all I need is a shot in the arm." —Wilco.

Anyway, good luck to all you 1L peeps in getting through this November hump. May your outlines write themselves and may all your cases be short from here to December.

Posted November 10, 2003 07:58 PM | law school

I've read One L: The Turbulent True Story of a First Year At Harvard Law School by Scott, also read Planet Law School and thought they were both great.

Have you read Planet Law School? Thoughts?

Posted by: law wannabe at November 12, 2003 09:58 PM

I haven't read Planet Law School, but I've read One L, Brush With the Law, and Law School Confidential. I'm currently working my way (slowly) through Getting to Maybe, which I recommend above all the others. But while Getting to Maybe is a great way to prepare for the kind of studying you'll need to do in law school, the others are all just general guides that are helpful, yes, but which can't really prepare you, I think. Everyone has their own experience of law school; it's good to be as prepared as possible going in, but I think you still have to expect to be surprised by what you actually find.

Posted by: ambimb at November 13, 2003 05:31 AM

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