The typical law student tends to be portrayed as a library-frequenting nerd with no work-life balance. However, in reality, law school delivers a holistic education. It provides opportunities for students to develop beyond the classroom.
Here are the five myths of law school debunked.
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Law school only focuses on readings, coursework and more readings. While there is a kernel of truth to this statement, it is untrue.
Granted the readings are heavier than other subjects, so you need to learn to read purposefully. Thus, long hours are usually spent at the library.
However, when exams are over or when weekends allow for it, breaks are in order. In fact, the Wills Memorial Library in the University of Bristol Law School cuts its opening hours after the exam period. This ensures law students do not spend their university lives confined to the library.
Law school is undeniably competitive and studying law degrees is challenging. Competition exists for prizes, in law-related competitions and mostly among contemporaries.
However, competition can actually be a good thing. A healthy dose of competition brings out the best between students. Yet a proper appreciation of law school should transcend mere competition.
There is a line between healthy and unhealthy competition. You can work out which is which by if the competition is to improve one’s legal skills or merely being competitive for its own sake.
3. It’s elitist
This myth could stem from the lack of adequate diversity in the judiciary, or from misguided conceptions based on certain drama serials (such as Suits).
Contrary to expectations, law school is a smorgasbord of personas. Law schools accept students based on merit instead of any other discriminatory criteria. Thus, it accepts students of all socioeconomic status from around the world.
Law school is a humbling but amazing journey. You have truckloads of readings, deadlines and other obligations to fulfil. Some may find this ‘way too intense’.
However, through forging past these obstacles, you learn to stand on your own two feet. You learn to find solutions rather than be fazed by obstacles. It is definitely difficult to contend with initially, but it gets more manageable. Like ducks learning to wade into the ocean, you learn to swim eventually.
5. It’s pointless – there’s too much competition
Undeniably, securing training contracts or pupillage is the hardest part of law school. University students have to contend with studying and career concerns. In some sense, law school may seem futile. You work hard to obtain a first or a 2:1 degree but struggle to find employment at the end of it.
Yet it is not. Learning to network is a necessary skill. Firms naturally favour those who go the extra mile to attend networking events or vacation schemes.
Applying the law on causation, law school is not the novus actus interveniens for failure to land training contracts. Rather, the onus is on the individual to do his/her due diligence.
In a sense, failure is commonplace in law school. You learn to manage your expectations and continue forging ahead.
Justice Benjamin Cardozo opines that the journey is more important, and it would be cheap and hollow were it not for the ‘rigour of the game’. Similarly, law school teaches the importance of appreciating the journey, through its ups and downs. It can truly be a fulfilling experience.