parens binubus

more than you want to know about a law school graduate/bar examinee who is also raising two children and doing her best at being a partner to her love.

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  • Tuesday, August 15, 2006
    Is the Blogosphere Killing Law School? My Note to Pre-L's.
    A lot of blogs written by law students are less than a glowing endorsement for the law school experience. Wouldn't most of you agree? There are many law students who HATE law school, and feel inclined to post about it. They hate the system, and they hate the professors, and they hate the career options upon graduation, and they hate the debt and they hate the law. Or at least the studying of it.***

    On my school's internal bulletin board, we have one extremely bitter boy stirring up the pot on almost every issue at our school. The style of grading, the adjunct professors, the class selection, the posting a book list, whether the Socratic method is really modeled after Socrates, and on and on. His bitterness is hanging heavy over the entire atmosphere - even though I'm only experiencing it electronically right now. He's upset b/c his co-ops have sucked, and apparently, so have his evals.

    See that? The bitterness came from bad things. Bad things that ALREADY HAPPENED.

    A sad thing that I'm seeing is bitterness that people are picking up on even before they experience any badness.

    In these days with no clothes to iron or fun to squeeze into 2 short weekend days that also demand the completion of laundry, I've had more time to read up on some blogs.

    Some of these blogs are written by Pre-L's and 1L's who are just embarking on orientation.

    And guess what?

    They're bitter. About the system, and the assignments, and the professors, and the classes, and the prices of books.

    I think that's sad.

    Law school can be fun. I have found it fun. I have enjoyed my classes, and my professors. And the system? It's kind of worked for me - I know it doesn't for a great majority - but these Pre-L's don't know yet which group they're in. Where's the optimism? The excitement? The butterflies?

    I don't understand why, if you're disillusioned before writing the first check, people would even GO to law school.

    If I were to write a post right NOW for those who have accepted a spot in a law school class - it would be to tell them to stay away from law school blogs. Stay AWAY!!! At least until October or November of your first year. At the very least. Figure out for yourself what law school is. Figure out for yourself if the system works - if exams are just "graded randomly" (I think they are not). Figure out for yourself if your professor has anything meaningful to say. Don't listen to people who are jaded b/c something along the way did not work for them!! Whether success didn't come, didn't come as easily as expected, or if their personalities just didn't coalesce with law school well -- there's a reason why some law students feel that law school was the biggest mistake of their lives. In order for people to be this bitter, something went wrong.

    Don't take that upon yourself, before even walking through the door. And if it seems that believable, that likely ... why go? Why incur up to $150,000 in debt? Why put yourself through late nights, long weekends, and immeasurable stress?

    Shed the bitterness. Put it on a shelf until you've earned it, or it has earned you. Be excited, and happy, and grateful for the opportunity to better yourself, your options, and your career prospects. Look forward to the intellectual stretching, and the chance to push yourself.

    Enjoy it. Don't hate it just b/c others did.

    *** Update just to remark that I am not at all taking issue with those who post on their blogs about their experiences, and their perceptions of those experiences. I merely think that newbies should work to protect their individual law school journey from the influence of others in the pre and early days. I certainly do NOT think that people should be anything but honest out of a fear of jading others.
    posted by Zuska @ 10:41 PM  
    8 Comments:
    • At Tuesday, August 15, 2006 11:29:00 PM, Blogger TULstudent said…

      What you are saying is VERY insightful. I guess the title of my blog could probably be a turn off. All in all I have enjoyed law school, but I do find it very frustrating at times. I echo your words about the grading of finals, I don't think it's "blind grading" either.

      I really enjoyed my summer at a firm where I got to see the practice of law. I have decided that the study of law is very interesting, but it can bring out the worst in some people and that attitude spreads rapidly. I guess I'm part of the cause of that...sigh.

       
    • At Wednesday, August 16, 2006 10:42:00 AM, Blogger She says said…

      I LOVED law school. I think that makes me weird. But I also didn't go straight through, and that probably makes a difference. Law school can knock you around a bit, and if it's your first experience not being the best and the brightest, well, that can color your experience. And when you don't do as well as you'd like, you tend to blame the situation rather than yourself (but of course, if you do well, you're brilliant and it has nothing to do with the situation)... which is why I cannot stand Property.

      But I digress...

      Also, I made the deliberate, proactive decision to go to law school. Some folks just go because it's the next step in their educations. If that's the case, I urge those folks to take some time off and work first. It will enrich your school experience.

      I'm just sayin'...

       
    • At Wednesday, August 16, 2006 11:08:00 AM, Blogger Dave! said…

      I agree and disagree with your assessment of the bitterness of incoming students. I think the bitterness of the bloggers and the students is a symptom of a bigger problem: many people shouldn't be in law school.

      Like you, I actually enjoy law school. But I think I'm in the minority. I know when I decided to go to law school, my wife (who is an attorney) was supportive because she thought I would like it. But nearly every one of her friends (mostly lawyers) thought it was horrible and hated law school. Most of them don't like being a lawyer much, either.

      That's the problem. I am, like you, a "returning" student. I'm in law school because I made a very conscious choice to return to school. However, since orientation I've made a point of asking my classmates why they decided to go to law school. There are certainly a wide range of reasons... but all too common is "my dad/mom/sister/brother is a lawyer so it seemed like a good option" or "well, I graduated college and needed to do something" or even worse, "I don't know".

      I wish those types of answers were a small number, but honestly, they seem to be the majority. And you know what? Many of those people *do* end up bitter about it: because they don't belong there in the first place.

      I would say, if you are a Pre-L *do* read all the blogs by bitter law students and then, if you find yourself saying, "Wow, these people are bitter, but I'm excited about it." Go for it, and go. *But* if you are starting to feel bitter about it... and agreeing with some of those people, then take my advice (like "she says" above) and do yourself a *huge* favor: DON'T GO.

      Life won't end if you decide to take a few years off and work before going to law school. Your parents won't disown you. You may even find something you really love and end up not going. Or you might decide later it's something you really want to do and then go for it. But if you take the time to go for the _right_ reasons, I think you'll like it. But law school seems to be full of people there for the *wrong* reasons (family, peer pressure, money) and guess what? They don't like it. Go figure. Frankly, I do like law school... but if I took all of the people who really shouldn't be there out of my classes, not only would the teacher/student ratio be *great*, it would be even more fun for those of us who actually like it.

       
    • At Wednesday, August 16, 2006 6:07:00 PM, Anonymous beloved said…

      i'm not trying to be snarky, and i certainly don't mean to offend anyone here, but law is one of those professions that has a HUGE influx of people who go into it based on their impressions gleaned from TV shows, movies and books. an otherwise intelligent person can pass the LSAT and have the grades for law school and still not comprehend their own disconnect between what they experience and why it isn't like "the practice" or "ally mcbeal".

      i did graduate from high school with a person whose intention to head into the legal preofession was based entirely on their romanticized imprint taken from "to kill a mockingbird". that person has since become a bitter real estate agent.

      people go into many fields and professions for similar reasons -- medical school comes to mind, as does business school and teaching, and even crime scene investigation, i hear -- and i find little fault in the idealism and zeal that brings one to that place. for those who have, as woody allen might say, romanticized their profession all out of proportion it only makes sense that they would use the blogosphere to vent; like some failed, disfunctional relationship the participants rarely see their own contribution to the mess.

      so my hope would be that those who are planning and hoping to become law students have the facility to read through the disgruntled ramblings of the the pre-l's and ask themselves, deep down, if this is really what they want to do.

      and do it for the right reason.

      whatever that is.

       
    • At Wednesday, August 16, 2006 10:35:00 PM, Blogger LawMommy said…

      This was a really good post -- and I love the new template. L O V E it.

      I started to write a reply to this but it was way too long. So I'll link and post

      ;-)

       
    • At Thursday, August 17, 2006 9:59:00 AM, Blogger LawSchool Mama said…

      Great post! You are so right! If a person is not even excited about law school in the begining, what is the point? Like others here have said, I am a returning student, almost 20-years since college graduation, so I made a very conscious, and hopefully well-thought out decision. I LOVE law school. Does it beat me up sometimes? Sure. It's the nature of the beast. Is it still exciting to face the next round? You bet!

      People do need to go in with their eyes open, talk to practicing lawyers, talk to other law students, but definitely, come to their own conclusions about the experience. I think that law schools favoring students who have been away from school and out in the real world for at least a few years are definitely doing people a favor. People should figure out what they like and don't like about interacting with people, writing, attending meetings, working on computers..and on and on, before making a huge commitment to many types of graduate education, especially law. We have a high level of disatisfaction in this profession. People should examine that before jumping in.

      I like your advice about staying away from blogs for the first couple of months, or so. Besides, they can really suck up valuable study time. (Not that any of us would know about that....)

      Best of luck!
      -D

       
    • At Sunday, August 20, 2006 11:36:00 PM, Blogger rain_rain said…

      ...newbies should work to protect their individual law school journey from the influence of others in the pre and early days"

      I agree - but I think a really good way to protect yourself from the influences of others is to expose yourself to a wide range of influences. In a way, they cancel each other out - and you realize that, with such a diversity of opinions and experiences, your own, whatever it turns out to be, will be perfectly ordinary. Also, you learn a lot about the day-to-day of being a law student, which I'm already finding rather reassuring.

       
    • At Sunday, August 20, 2006 11:38:00 PM, Blogger rain_rain said…

      Oh, and that reminds me of something that... I believe it was Flannery O'Connor... said: Everywhere I go, I am asked if I think the universities are stifling writers. In my opinion, they are not stifling enough of them. (got some of the words wrong no doubt but that's the idea)

       
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