New Attorneys Share the Biggest Regrets from Their Law School Days
While law students try to stay positive and view law school as a challenge, there are a lot of days and weeks where burn out understandably gets the better of law students. Knowing this, I polled several new attorneys – those who have recently been through the glorious journey of law school – on what advice they would give to their younger selves and to reflect on regrets, if any. Here is what they had to say.
I Wish I Would Not Have Been Intimidated by my Professors
“I was always afraid to challenge my professor in class because I thought I would be wrong or be made fun of for being wrong by my classmates. I wish I realized back then that I would understand the law so much better if I asked more questions and went further with the professor’s hypos in class rather than fearing and trying to stop the Socratic Method process as it happened.” -Jeff F.
“Office Hours. Yah, I avoided them. But I know a lot of friends who swore that their law professors basically told them exactly how to write the midterm or final exam during those meetings because they built that relationship with their professors every week. Almost as if the professors wanted those students to do well.” -Samantha M.
I Wish I Did Not Always Feel Like I Had to Have the Right Answer
“I wish I would have celebrated being wrong more. In my short year as a lawyer, I have learned so much from the things I have screwed up in court and at my firm and am now getting to a point where I don’t beat myself up for it. I kind of know that things will happen for a reason, and I try to take the experience as a whole to the rest of the case and new clients.” Tori A.
I Wish I Would Have Volunteered More to Get More Practical Experience
“I wish I would’ve taken more of the practical litigation or mediation/negotiation lab classes. It’s one thing to learn contracts and torts but completely another to practice it.” Antony D.
“I am glad I did not listen to the Dean of the law school who rejected me from the externship program because, according to her, I was not academically qualified. I went out and got my own clerkship with an Appellate Judge and learned so much more practical advice from him and the courtroom staff than I ever did in law school.” Maben T.
I Wish I Would’ve Been a Tad More Humble
“I remember thinking in the first week that I did not need the intro skills and writing courses because I already knew how to write and study from undergrad. I wish I would have been more open and toned down my arrogance (sorry to my early profs!) to take in a new situation. I may have even done better my first year if I did.” Graham T.
I Wish I Would Have Kept Up with My Studies on a Weekly Basis
“I thought I could cram for my law school exams like I did in undergrad and still get the best grade in the class. My midterm grades quickly dispelled that myth, and it took a bit for me to figure out how to get all the work done. I wish I could have told my then law school self to spend 10 minutes every Sunday simply calendaring all the reading and then adding in time to make update my outlines and practice writing essays.” Tamera W.
“I would say to my law school self: just do the work starting in week one — don’t let reading snowball because that increasing snowball stressed me out so much more than I needed to be stressed as a law student.” Jeff F.
I Wish I Would Have Created my Own Outlines and Not Used Someone Else’s Stuff
“I thought I could use the outlines of someone else who got a 4.0 in the class. Wrong! Memorizing how someone organizes the material did not help me understand the law, much less be able to apply the law to different fact patterns on the exam. I learned that it’s really putting the material into your own organization that gives you the understanding of the law.” Mason T.
I Wish I Would Have Exercised More in Law School
“I gained weight in law school because I was sedentary and would feel guilty doing anything other than studying. Looking back, exercising for 30-45 minutes a day would have really elevated my performance, my mood and got me that vitamin D (I was in beautiful Southern California) I so badly needed. Anyone can fit in a walk, and I was lame for not treating my body better.” Loren H.
I Wish the Bar Exam Didn’t Freak Me Out So Much
“I studied for the Bar Exam exactly how I studied in law school (and I did well in law school). But the pressure I put on myself studying for the bar was so much more intense. I wish I would’ve trusted that my study process would give me the same results on the bar exam because I probably wouldn’t have as many grey hairs right now!” Ed M.
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