5 Things You Should Know About Law School (That You Might Not)

By Betty Wang, JD on June 17, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Yes, really, another post about the perils of attending law school. Of course, there are profits, as well. There’s no denying that law school has its rewards and that, despite what many legal blogs like to wax sarcastically poetic about — the profession is pretty rewarding.

For masochists.

Seriously, it can be rewarding, but the first step requires is that you know what you’re getting yourself into when you apply to law school.

Now’s the time for many to be thinking about applying to law school. If you’re wondering if you are making or have made the right call, here are some things that you should know about attending law school that you may not know:

1. The Bar is going to be awful. It really does deserve to be the first point on this list. For those of you who eventually want to practice law out of law school, you know that the golden ticket to that is not just acquiring your JD, but passing the bar. You should be prepared not only for three grueling years of professional school, but know that a rather soul-killing three months after graduation are tacked onto those pre-requisites for being a lawyer.

2. Finding the law interesting and liking to write is not enough. While it may seem logical, those are good reasons, but not great ones. Make sure that you do your research well ahead of time and know what the legal profession is all about. Shadow an attorney for a day or chat with those who have already been through the wringer -- they'll tell you that there is so much more to practicing law than just liking the law and knowing how to write (and, in fact, many lawyers don't even possess those traits).

3. You, um, might get fat. Many people don't deal well with a sedentary lifestyle that often includes alcoholism and stress. If you can't handle this, your waistline has been warned

4. It's not meant to be a party. College may have been, and it might seem like a great idea to continue onto graduate school to extend your college experience of meeting new folks, having fun, and getting in some minimal learning all while coming out of it with a degree, but law school is not that. Sure, there is drinking. There is partying. But if your only goal is to socialize, maybe meet the love of your life, your priorities need to be reshaped. Because that is one very expensive party you'll be attending.

5. Nobody holds your hand. Law school is for adults, which you may not be or may not have been in college. There is no tour guide or easy-to-follow checklist that you're assigned to on your first day. You are expected to keep up with all the assignments, all the requirements, know which textbooks to have purchased already, keep track of your own units and courses, and keep track of your own tuition due dates. Not to mention that you may have no tests at all until the final which will determine half or sometimes your entire grade.

All without crying about it.

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