At the end of this Bloomberg Law video, Above the Law’s Elie Mystal predicts law schools will split into two tiers, one for law students who are aiming to become white-shoe law firm partners and Supreme Court justices, and another for law students aiming for a middle-class existence in smaller markets.
Randall’s how to succeed in law school is a nice broad post on exactly that, and you should read it.
But here’s my personal take on law school success. It’s the law school do-over, written as a kind of internal monologue, and most of it is framed in the negative: no, stop, and don’t. It’s not for all law students, but it’s what I would do if I had a law school do-over, and if you’re headed to law school or working your way through now, remember this:
Being a law student does not make you a Jedi.
These are dark days. While law schools and Biglaw continue business pretty much as usual, the good people at Law School Transparency continue to track how the lost generation of lawyers with no real job prospects grows every year.
Steven J. Harper, a Harvard Law grad and 30-year litigator at Kirkland & Ellis, has weighed in on the problems and suggested some solutions in The Lawyer Bubble. It’s the perfect book for a terrible time.
“The Hessian could be a restaurant, a start-up, a clothing brand or more.”
—Designer Ben Pieratt
Pieratt has created what I’m calling a “brand in a box.”
It’s a complete brand identity, as Tim Nudd writes for AdWeek, a business Pieratt named the Hessian. For a cool $18,000, you get pretty much everything you need (at least as far as branding is concerned), all before you’ve even got a product or service to sell.
It sounds quite foolhardy. It’s a lot like putting the cart before the horse.
But this Hessian brand-in-a-box business got me thinking. Why couldn’t you, an aspiring law student turned lawyer-entrepreneur, start a law firm before you’ve even graduated from law school?
On the flip side, I also witness behavior that leaves me less than impressed.
Here are three ways to create a bad impression with a law school professor.
On January 22, 2013, the New York Times ran an article entitled, “Experts Debate Two Year Law School Option.” According to the article, New York State Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman is interested in a proposal that would allow law students to sit for the New York Bar Exam after completing only two years of law school. The proposal was made at New York Law School on January 18 during a panel discussion on legal education. Some reasons cited for the proposal include the rising cost of a law school education and the poor job market, along with the perception that the third year of law school consists mostly of “filler” classes without much value. Keep Reading ⇒
If you’re in law school (or recently graduated) you should find a way to hang out with judges while they work. The benefits are off the charts, and it’s pretty fun (at least some of the time). You’ll learn more, and more of value, spending time with a trial court judge than doing pretty much anything else.
For some lawyers, trial courts are a lot like the end zone in football—the place where you either win or lose the game. But for most lawyers, trial courts are the place you’ll do almost anything to avoid visiting. Either way, much of a lawyer’s time is spent thinking about how an issue might be handled in a trial court. That’s why spending time there, and getting inside judges’ heads, is so worthwhile.
The danger of being in the safe and warm embrace of law school, however, is that you become too reliant on other people’s insights and feedback.
At dinner recently, my friend overheard our waitress tell another table that she was a law student. When the waitress came back to our table, we told her we were lawyers and asked her about law school. She is a 2L at a local school. I asked what kind of law she wants to practice, and she replied “something that will pay.”