What are the Best Parts of Law School?


In a recent article, I wrote about the absolute worst parts of law school. It was a gloomy post but it needed to be done, and now I want to tell you about what most students (including me) find to be the best aspects of law school!

The best parts of law school for most students are that it changes the way you think, you make lifelong friends, and you develop a number of skills that are transferable to a number of different fields.

But how does law school actually change the way you think and how is that a good thing? Every law school admissions office will recite the various skills you will develop in law school, but how much will you really learn besides the black letter law? Read on to find out why these things are the best parts of law school.

How does law school change the way you think?

You might have heard before that law school changes the way students think, but you might not know what people mean by that. Students are forced to kick their “willful ignorance” to the curb when they enroll in law school or suffer poor exam grades. In the real world, most people suffer from a number of maladies when they are forced to look at opposite viewpoints. Confirmation bias and herd mentality are serious problems that most people are never able to get past. Another constraint is the echo chamber, people will exert great efforts to maintain their echo chamber.

Why am I bringing up these societal issues in an article about law school? Because everyone suffers from these maladies, even you, but law school can help you with this problem if you allow it to. Law school makes most 1L law students extremely uncomfortable because it challenges how we think about problems. Law school forces you to look at both sides of an issue, assess the merits of opposing arguments, and pick a side. Once you have picked a side you better be able to back your argument up with facts and logic.

Starting to see how law school might change the way students think about issues? In the real world, people often argue with emotional appeals and are held down by high stakes tribalism (I like psychology a little too much). You don’t have that luxury in law school. Just try and make an emotional appeal that Bob should be sued for harmful contact battery on your Torts exam. You will get laughed out of the room. Lawyers don’t have the luxury of ignoring the other side’s arguments, and as a law student, you won’t either.

This kind of thinking does not always translate into everyday life, heaven knows there are lots of law students that are absolutely certain of themselves and of the supremacy of their beliefs. But if you apply the same problem analysis thought process you learn in law school to everyday life, you will be extremely thankful for it.

Law student friends are great

law student friends are great

Law student friends are one of the best parts of law school because they often have many of the same interests, they can be extremely useful during and after law school, and they are often intellectually stimulating.

I found it relatively easy to make friends in law school, and you likely have/will to. I say that because the vast majority of law students are there for the same reason: to be lawyers, and the majority of students will usually be from outside the area so they will all be looking for new friends as well.

Law student friends can be useful in a variety of ways. For one, finding a close law student friend is a must because everybody likes to gossip about what is going on at the law school. You need a really close law student friend for this because your friends from outside the school just are not going to cut it. You need someone in the school to vent about what is going on in your life at the school.

Law students tend to be a pretty diverse crowd in terms of their thought process. I have met a lot of unique people that think very differently from one another. Your close friends are most likely not going to think exactly like you, and this can be extremely helpful for collaboration. Forming collaboration groups with your buddies to take practice exams or review outlines can be extremely effective, just remember that collaboration groups can’t turn into hangout sessions or they will be a waste of study time!

Finally, law student friends make excellent connections after law school. There are a variety of different places where you can end up, and your peers will likely go in a number of different directions. Keep in touch after law school, your friends today will make important parts of your professional network tomorrow.

You develop useful skills

There are lots of transferable skills that you develop in law school. Some are over-hyped, but many of them are real. I touched on problem-solving and analysis skills above in how law school changes the way you think, but they are not the only skills you will likely develop.

Negotiation and public speaking skills are helpful in a variety of fields and you can target certain classes and participate in certain extracurriculars during your law school career to develop them. The key thing is that you need to take the initiative to learn these skills. Career services will tell you that you will develop these skills during your tenure in law school but that simply is not true.

I know plenty of people that did not learn a thing about negotiation and are still terrible public speakers after three years in law school. Why? Because they didn’t try to develop these skills. During your upper-class years, you can take classes such as Arbitration or Negotiation. Your school may offer upper-level Mock Trial and Moot Court competitions, take advantage of these. Most 1Ls also have the opportunity to participate in at least one if not several skills competitions that involve negotiating or public speaking.

Other skills such as presentation, problem-solving, and conflict resolution are generally developed and strengthened during your internships. Intern whenever you can during the school year and over the summer. Not only will you learn a lot about different legal subjects but you will also develop some of these useful skills I mentioned.

Conclusion

Overall, there are a lot of great things about law school that I have really enjoyed. I have made some great friends, developed some transferable skills, and I believe my ability to critically think has developed significantly.

I hope that you find these things to be some of the best parts of your law school experience and that you take advantage of the numerous opportunities that law school provides you!

Stephen Metellus

I am a 3L law student in Washington D.C and owner of theartoflawschool.com! I started law school with a lot of hopes and expectations, and it has certainly been a wild ride from the start! My goal is writing articles that help you in navigating through law school.

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