Law School: The Journal

Below you will find the summation of blog entries which comprise episodes from my so-called "Law School Journal." For me to say that everything recorded below is absolutely true would be a lie: At this point, I have no idea what may happen to me in 1L year, and it may not make much of a story. This is a narrative written purely for my amusement. While the rest of the blog may contain real comments, questions, and anecdotes from my day-to-day life, these LSJs are a dramatization based on and inspired by true (or not)-life events. Details, certain events--all may be altered, subtly or not, for the sake of privacy and the narrative.

In other words, it's just a story...[of my life]. 


The year is 2008. I have just finished my sophomore year. It is the early portion of summer. I am sitting alone in my temporary summer lodgings: a room in a part of the Quad foreign to me. I have just started my first summer working for my University's Conference Services Department, hired as manager. The weather is already blazingly hot, but the personal air conditioning holds the heat at bay. I am at my computer.

I did not always want to be a lawyer. Indeed, most of my life I had fervently opposed the notion. My mother was a lawyer in private practice. She worked long hours, and there would be some periods during my high school years when our respective schedules would be so busy that I might not see her for days. My mother worked hard and earned little for her efforts. I had spent long days with her at her small office before I was old enough to stay home alone, and had learned then that this was not the life for me.

In the summer of 2008, I found myself sitting alone in my room. Just a few weeks earlier, my grades had come trickling out of the long pipeline that was the final review and tallying of all of my accomplishments over the previous semester. The grades had not been good. A look at my transcript would not have suggested that attending a top law school was in my future. At that moment I wasn't even focused on the possibility of law school. At that moment I was fixated on the terrifying reality that if I didn't manage to make a change, my chances at employment were shot. That in itself was saying something. I went to a strong undergraduate business school, and I started my four year stint with the shining figure of $80,000 fixated in my mind. This was the average starting salary of a graduate of my school.

The figure was something of a fallacy to me: I was a marketing major, not the option which brought with it massive rewards in exchange for massive time commitments. My choice of major ensured that I would have the opportunity to keep my creativity, though I might never reach as high highs, financially, as some of my classmates. Add to that the recession, which by now was more than a notion, and the view among business owners that marketing was a luxury which could be cut in lean times. With my transcript, my theretofore lackluster resume (in my opinion), and these conditions, I was coming to realize that I would be happy just to scrape together any internship next summer, never mind a dream firm job.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what led to my lackluster showing after my second year. I would not say that it was lack of trying. Perhaps it can be best described as an “incorrect application of my talents.” I had spent my high school years doing well: I took hard classes, but still managed to be successful enough to get slightly over a 4.0 cumulative QPA. “QPA” stands for quality point average, a GPA weighted to account for APs and Honors. Perhaps I had always believed that I could manage to do “just well enough” that I could always manage to scrape by. Perhaps I had forgotten that my goal should always be to shoot for an A, and accept a B only as the exception rather than the rule.

Perhaps, I thought, I wouldn’t be staring at these C grades.

The air outside was hot. My face was grim. My future looked bleak. Unfortunate circumstances, but an auspicious evening nonetheless:

This was the evening I decided to go to law school.

Chapter One: Preparation is the Hardest Part

It is the summer of 2009. By some sheer grace of God and sweat, blood, and tears, I’m now looking at a somewhat less troubling GPA. I find myself in a position remarkably similar to last year: I returned to work for my old department, in the same location. My room is not far removed from my original habitation. I am on the internet looking at law schools. My chances, despite my improved GPA, look slim. I begin to stumble across the websites that many aspiring law students find themselves browsing: “Top Law Schools,” “Law School Predictor,” “Law School Numbers.” I refrain from asking too much about my chances: I already know they are poor.

Every year, thousands of hopefuls set their sights on law school. With the economy being the way it is currently, the opportunity cost of getting more education is at a shockingly low level. Nevertheless, the legal market has long  since succumbed to the weight of far too many students coming out of law school for far too few places to work.

It has been a long time since when my mother went to law school. She went to a strong school: what aspiring law students would now call the "T-14." She describes from her experience the school administration could cheerfully promise that everyone who graduated from the school would find a job, and it was simply a matter of determining how cushy a job one would get. Gone, it seems, are those days.

The law school application process is a lot more forward thinking, I think, than in my mother's day. Applicants now are no long simply fixed on the strengths and opportunities of the schools themselves but also on that all important question: Will going to this school get me a job in 3 years? With the costs of law school attendance continuing to rise, pushing the total cost of school shockingly close to $200,000 in 3 short years, plus the weight of interest, going to law school seemed to become a business decision, a risk analysis. Learning for learning's sake was well and good, but only if it paid off with employment. Or at least, that's what I learned on TLS.

A year after having decided to consider law school, I found myself in a better position than before, certainly. I would hesitate to say I was in a "good" position, but I certainly was in a better one. I had worked hard in my classes, harder perhaps than I had ever needed to in undergrad. It has paid off, and I had my best year by far. Now as I sat in a very similar position thinking about my future, I exposed myself for the first time to the world outside of my door. I logged on to

TLS, as the frequenters of the website call it, is a forum for but aspiring and current law students to meet and socialize about all things having to do with school. At the time of my first log-on, I didn't stay long. I don't know if I even bothered to generate a user name and password. If I had known how much time I would spend poring over the forums, seeking to extract the all-important pearls of wisdom from the waves of alarmism and overly opinionated commentary about nothing of import, how it could so easily consume a man, turning him into an obsessive follower of every thread vaguely referencing something of interest, I might have been appalled. At the moment, though, I was innocent. At the moment, though, I was sane.

A condition, I assure you, which would not last.

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