Sunday, January 3, 2021

I Am Depressed and Thinking About Dropping Out of Law School

When I started law school I was super excited.  On my first day I met so many eager people who were all wanting to explore the depths of the law and become amazing attorneys one day.  After spending most of my high school days and four years of college wanting to be a lawyer, I was finally in law school!  Everything seemed wonderful, and my family was so proud of me.

The autumn days were filled with joy.  I would wake up early and be amongst the first in the law library, tort or criminal law book wide open, reading a case for the third time of even fourth time.  There was always something new to glean from the words of the judge.  I especially loved criminal law and have often dreamt of one day being a judge or prosecutor. 

Then something happened in December.  I stopped caring about law school.  It was like a light went off.  I went from loving the law to hating it.  I had to drag myself into the law library but was tired of the books.  Torts, criminal law, property.  Ugh!  Property law was the absolute worst.  What a depressing subject!  I looked outside, at the dark and dreary sky and thought to myself, why in the world am I here?

My professors noticed that I didn't seem to care as much.  "Is something wrong?" one of my fellow classmates asked.  

"Why do you ask?" I answered.

"You don't seem into it anymore."

"How can you tell?" I replied.

"When called on today you said you didn't read the case.  You always read the cases."

"You're right.  Something has changed.  I don't feel excited about law school anymore."

I walked towards my small apartment in the dark evening.  Cars would pass by and their lights blinded me as I walked.  I felt empty.  The old me would have cried.  Now I just would go home and lay on my bed, staring up at the ceiling, wondering what I would do with my life.  

I no longer wanted to be a lawyer.

In the corner of the room was a stack of textbooks, hornbooks, and examples and explanations books.  I read a copy of your book, From Law School to Lawyer, and I wondered if that was to be my fate.  How could have I gone from being so excited to this?

It is now my second semester of law school.  I am thinking about taking a break, but have no idea what in the world I would do in the meantime.  I can't move in with my parents again.  Yet, at the same time, I am going crazy.  Help!

***

Law School Depression and Dropping Out

Law school is a tough place, and you will not love it every day.  Some days are harder than others, and it is natural to think less of law school as time passes.  For me, I thought about dropping out in my second year after transferring.  The thrill of getting top grades and transferring to a higher ranked school was gone.  I was not sure if I wanted to practice law.  And so I thought long and hard about dropping out, just as you are.

I decided against it, and made my way through my last two years of law school.  I didn't take the traditional route to becoming a lawyer.  But, this is not about me, this is about you.

Depression is very real in law school.  It hits many people very hard in the winter months.  This is because the winter is a dark and cold time and many people realize that they miss the daylight.  Many people find that going on a vacation to somewhere warm and sunny during the winter break between semesters is beneficial.  Not everyone can do that, however.  There are other things that you can do to help you deal with seasonal depression that may be lurking below the surface.

I recommend adding more light to your house.  This is especially true if you live in the northern United States.  Not all law students are lucky enough to be going to a school in California, Florida, Hawaii or somewhere warmer.  Many of us end up going to schools in the Northeast where the sun sets at 3:45 pm.  Yes, it's depressing to be going to school in the dark and getting out after the sun has gone down.  It's like you live in darkness.  That really can affect your mood.  This is especially true if you are coming from a place that was sunnier.

I lived in California before going to law school in Massachusetts and later New York.  I was incredibly depressed as a result of the darkness that enveloped life.  This may be your problem.  If that's the case, consider getting a light therapy lamp.  Keeping one of these around you when you study is super helpful. It can help boost your mood.


Taking a semester off is sometimes a good idea, but it's not always so.  Sometimes it's impossible to do this, and it can be harder to go back after a break.  Having something non-law related in the future to look forward to is super helpful.  One thing that I did in law school was book a trip to Central America for a month in the summer.  However, that made it harder for me to have an internship during the summer months.  Lucky for me, I was able to have a short one with a local lawyer.  Talk about having your cake and eating it too! 

There are many small steps you can take to increase your mood during law school that don't involve booking expensive trips away.  You can take a weekend trip to a spa or bed and breakfast.  I did this a lot with my wife in law school and it helped with the mood.  Don't think of your law school experience as semesters, but break it up into weeks.  Instead of focusing on everything you have to do during the semester, take it one week or one day at a time.  It's a three year long adventure.  There will be bumps in the road.  But, once you look back, you will see that there were some good times that you miss.  I don't think that you are ready to give it up if it was your lifelong dream.  I recommend you think long and hard about it and ask yourself what you can do to make your life better in the meantime.  

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Is It a Good Idea to Date in Law School?


I'm a pretty motivated student at a pretty good law school.  I would say that I'm probably in the top half of my class, but maybe higher.  The other students don't seem as engaged as I am and many of them are in a relationship.  I was thinking about staying single in law school but there is this girl who I sit next to in most of my classes and she is pretty good looking.  Well, she is pretty talkative and recently asked me out on a date.  At first I was a little apprehensive because I don't want to see my GPA drop, and it's my goal to transfer to a top law school such as Georgetown or Columbia if possible.  I think if I stick to my studies I could do it.

Anyway, I said yes and we went out for dinner.  She talked a lot about law school (of course, it's our life), and said she was feeling pretty burned out.  She said she needed something to keep her mind off of briefing cases and didn't care too much about getting good grades.  At first, I just listened and didn't give it any thought.  She's a great girl.  A lot of fun, super attractive, and always smiling.  She asked if we wanted to keep going out and I said "of course."  

We have now been together for about a month and a half.  We have some serious feelings for each other, but I have found that she is not into law school while I am.  I mentioned transferring and she said that she didn't see the point of it.  It worries me because I am wondering if dating while in law school was the right choice for me.  Will this come back to bite me in the end?  On one hand, she's an amazing woman and I don't want to give her up or lose her.  On the other hand, she's not that motivated as a student and thinks that I take law school too seriously.  I wonder, if I don't take the chance to do well, transfer, or graduate with a high GPA, will I regret it?  What about getting a job as an attorney after law school.  The truth is, I am terrified at the job prospects after law school. 

What should I do?  I don't want to break up, but I also want to maximize my career potential.  Any advice?

***

Is Dating in Law School a Good Idea?
Questions regarding dating while in law school are difficult ones.  I didn't date in law school myself (I had already been married for close to 10 years) and my wife was very supportive.  I think that it is important to be with someone who is supportive of your goals.  This becomes more tricky when you are both in school and have different goals.  

I would suggest sitting down with her and having a serious talk.  Do you both really want the same things?  Will this cause friction down the road?  Will this lead to regret?  

She may seem amazing at this point, but will her amazingness overshadow the idea of not doing well in your career?  How important is your career (it seems very important to you given how serious you are taking your legal studies).  

It is good to set boundaries.  In law school, boundaries are super important.  Maybe tell her that you would like to see her, but that you are devoted to your studies.  If she doesn't really understand that, then it may be a shadow of things to come.  

If you are dating in law school, you should ask yourself what your long-term reasons for dating are.  Is it just to have fun?  You said she was attractive and fun?  Are those two qualities enough to derail you from your long-term career goals?  If you end up transferring to another city or state for law school, will your relationship hold up?  Long distance relationships can be hard.  I imagine they are even harder while in law school.  

These things require you both to sit down and talk with each other for a while.  If you don't confront these possible scenarios now, they are going to be more problematic when you start to work towards your goals.  

Also, you should ask yourself if your dating and worrying will hurt your chances of doing well on final exams.  Law school is hard enough without trying to date someone who doesn't really support you or your future goals.  

I strongly recommend against dating during the first year of law school if it can be helped.  I understand that law school can be super boring at times and that some diversion in the form of a pretty face and fun person may be nice, but you are probably paying at least five figures to go to law school.  This is your moment to shine.  The first year of law school is the most important year that there is and it will affect your legal career in the years to come.  Many people find this out way too late.  

A frank and honest conversation with her is needed.  It's a scary thing, but so is not getting the career or grades that you dream of.  Think of it as practice for the courtroom when you are going up against an angry and powerful opponent and a judge who seems to not really like anything you have to say.  If she is the right girl, she will understand.  If not, then it may be hard, but not as hard as many years sitting in the bar, drunk and unemployed, wondering if you should have done something different in 1L.

Have a question of your own?  Submit it to [email protected]

Have better advice?  Please comment below!

Write A Guest Post For a Top Ranked Law School Website


Are you looking to gain some experience writing and want to be published on a high ranking legal website?  We are currently looking for article submissions on a wide variety of topics relating to law school, the legal profession, and law in general.  If you have something you want to share, we welcome your submissions.

As a thank you, for every submission we will publish your name, any links to your websites, social media, and give you a copy of our two books: "From Law School to Lawyer" and "How to Win At Law School."  

You may be wondering:  What are some good topics to write about?

We look for any article that may be of interest to our readers.  Popular topics are:

•Dealing with depression in law school.
•Law school study habits.
•How to succeed in law school.
•Stories about your life in law school.
•Things you wish you new before going to law school.
•Job related posts.
•How to guides such as "how to get an internship or clerkship."
•Law school news.
•LSAT and Bar Exam topics.
•Things you wish you knew before law school.
•Favorite and least favorite things about law school.
•1L regrets
•We will also publish your case briefs with your name and web link(s) on them if you submit them to [email protected]

Why should you consider writing an article for our site?

Writing and submitting articles that get published on reputable websites provides one with many benefits.  First, it's great for your portfolio.  For those who look to lateral outside of law to fields such as copywriting or content writing, having a list of articles published on high-traffic websites can give you much credibility in this competitive world.  

Writing skills are needed in almost every profession, but this is especially true of law.  If you are looking to increase your writing skills and gain exposure, then publishing on our website can help you develop your skills.  

Likewise, if you have aspirations of working in media (such as Above the Law), you will want to get as much exposure as possible. Many law school students have their own websites, and what better way to link to a website than to submit an article to ours.  

We have almost 10 million views, with students from every law school in the United States reading our content.  If you want to get your name out as well, submit your work to [email protected]

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Six Things Every Law Student Should Have (Under $50) - Gifts for Law Students


What do you get for the law student in your life?  What are the best purchases you can make to improve life during this crazy period of legal education?  

Here are some of my top picks for the best items that every law student should have!

Many of these items are quality of life items that you may have never thought about buying.  Yet, once you see how much of a help these small items are, you are going to want to snatch some (or all) of these up right away!  

Foldable Book Stand







This Portable Book Stand may seem simple, but it is really a great thing to have as you study and take notes.  Think about it, if your book is flat, how much extra time are you spending looking down at your book and then typing?  With this book stand, you can also keep your eyes on the professor while having your cases displayed right in front of you.  It's better for your neck, as well.

When I was in law school, very few students had these stands, and I always wondered why.  This bookstand folds up very small and can slide right into your bag.  It unfolds quickly and easily, making it a breeze to set up in class so that your ready to go once the professor enters the room.  If you take notes from your books, this stand is definitely a must have!

What's the alternative?  Looking down at your book, bending your neck and causing unneeded neck strain?  Or, you can just look forward and see your book, your laptop screen, and professor all at the same time?  Honestly, this one is a total no-brainer!

Earplugs

















These HEAROS Ultimate Softness Series Ear Plugs may seem unconventional, but they actually are quite a good thing to have.  First, they come in handy if you have a roommate and want some good quality sleep.  Second, they are great for focusing when you study in a noisy area.  I even found that being in the library can be distracting at times, and these little earplugs are great to have around.  

Perhaps where these earplugs really shine is during final exams.  If you can focus on your own final and ignore those around you, you are going to do better than you would if distracted.  Do yourself a favor and pick up a box of these.  They are a game-changer.

Sleeping Mask
















Is getting a good night's sleep important to you?  It is for me, and this MZOO Sleep Eye Mask is a great tool to make sure that you get a fantastic night's worth of rest.  I found that once I used a sleep mask, I couldn't go back to sleeping without one.  It's well known that sleeping in complete darkness is far better than sleeping where light is present.  

This soft sleep mask provides comfort and blocks out the light so you can get a good night's rest.  That's so important in law school, as the quality of sleep that you get each night is going to affect how well you retain information and stay alert in class.   You can either get out of bed, feeling all groggy in the morning, stumble to class with a coffee in one hand, textbook in the other, and hope that somewhere during your Torts professor's long-winded presentation you happen to feel wide awake, or your can take matters into your own hands and say "you know what, I am going to make sure I get a better night's sleep."

Seriously, the sleeping mask is a total game changer.  Once you get used to it, you won't want to go back to sleeping with your eyes uncovered.

Wall Calendar

















Law school is not the time to be disorganized.  While fumbling your way through life may have worked in undergrad, law school is loaded with important dates and events.  This large Wall Calendar by AT-A-GLANCE will help you organize important events so that you can be successful.

What I like about this wall calendar is that it is quite large.  You can't help but notice it if you hang it up in a spot that you often frequent.  It's a great addition to your study room.  The big square spaces give you ample room to write important notes for events such as exams, moot court dates, and law review deadlines.  Sure, you can write it all in a planner, but having a large wall calendar will get seen a lot more.

This is perhaps one of the biggest ways to get a leg up on your competition.  Disorganization is a real thing for many law students.  How many times do you notice your classmates not having read a certain text because they forgot.  That excuse doesn't work when the law teacher calls on a student, and even if the student looks like they got away with it, the teacher remembers.  If you want good letters of recommendation and a good relationship with your professor (as well as being ready for finals), being organized is an absolute must!

The easiest and cheapest way to get organized is to get a calendar that works for you.  A pocket calendar may cut it for some, but this is the real deal.  It's the ultimate calendar for the ultimate law school gunner.

Sunrise Alarm Clock

















Sleeping in is for Undergrad.  Seriously, now that you are a law school student, this is not the time to sleep through half your class.  

Do you have trouble waking up early?  This Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock  can help you with that. Not only is it a functional alarm clock, but the natural light helps one to wake up and start their day on a high note.  

Many health experts recommend not sleeping with your cellular phone, and this is very important in law school.  Having an alarm clock like this helps with getting a good night's sleep, and sleeping well gives you an easy and natural advantage over your competition.  

Natural Therapy Lamp

















This Miroco Light Therapy Lamp is an amazing study friend if you live somewhere dark and dreary.  During winter, it can often be difficult for those in the Northern states to study as darkness comes sooner.  If you like natural light, this is perhaps the best way to get it.  

Many people suffer from winter depression and don't realize it.  One reason is due to the shorter days.  Natural feeling light helps people to feel energized.  Natural light is very helpful not only for mood, but for studying.  Illuminate your textbook and notes in natural feeling light with this light therapy lamp, which is small enough to take with you no mater where you go.

***

There you have it.  Six amazing gifts for the law student in your life.  Each item was handpicked as a way to make your law school experience even better.  

Have any other ideas for gifts that a law student may enjoy?  Did something change your life while in law school?  Share your ideas in the comments below and we may add some to this list!

Disclaimer:  The items shown contain affiliate links.  

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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Am I Too Old For Law School?

Many people want to go to law school, but they are afraid that they are too old to enter the legal profession.  Many fear that they will be overlooked if they are not young--not able to stay at a firm for many years.  For others, the fear of standing out in law school keeps many from enrolling and chasing after their dreams.

Even worse, there are articles floating around on the internet that say that if you are over thirty years old, nobody will hire you!  

In order to understand if you are too old for law school, we must look at the age of law students.  How many older law students are out there?  What is an "older law student?"  And, are older law students successful?

Some people say that anything over 30 is an older law student.  I find that absurd.  Let's look at students that are over the age of 45.

The average age of first-year law school students is about 24, according to The Balance Careers.  Yet, I would take everything else that this website says about older law students with a grain of salt.  

Every law student is different.  Every forty or fifty year old is different.  Some people have more energy.  Some people have a "younger mindset."  I have seen sixty year olds with more energy than some thirty year olds.  

Some things to consider if you are an older law student:

•You probably have a larger network of friends and more social connections than a person in their 20's.
•You probably have a highly developed method of living skills that many mid-20 year old students don't have.
•You may be more driven than many younger law students who get lost partying instead of studying or gunning for top jobs.
•You may get on far better with law professors, who tend to also be older. 

What are your goals?

Do you want to go into private practice?  Do you want to work for a big law firm?  Do you hope to work in public service?  Getting into a big law firm that recruits from a younger pool of graduates may be an issue, but this isn't the only route for a law school graduate.  Contrary to popular belief, not everyone desires go land in "Big Law."

Career Trend states:
"There are benefits to attending law school and becoming a lawyer later in life. For instance, students may be more financially stable because they can enter school with less debt and non-traditional students can apply their professional experiences to law school and the practice of law. However, someone over the age of 30 may find it difficult to balance their career and family life with the process of becoming a lawyer.

Let's look at the age of students at law schools:

Age varies by school and program.  Part-time night programs generally have older cohorts than full-time daily programs.  There are some schools that traditionally accept older students.  Many students are over thirty years of age.  

There are plenty of people who started school in their 40s who go on to become very successful attorneys.  

"After a lifelong career in television production, I decided to go to law school at age 50. I still think it was one of the best decisions in my life."

"a lady in her 40s has the best grades in our class (she is going to graduate at the top of our class including day students) and she got offers from every major firm at OCI." See Top-Law Schools.

Here are some examples of age ranges at various law schools.  You can just type "_____ law school entering class statistics" into Google and find out the statistics for almost every law school that you may be interested in.  

WNEU law even had one student that was 69!  What's holding you back?

Brooklyn Law School:


Columbia Law School


Western New England University School of Law
St. John's University Law School:



Conclusion

I went to law school at 28-31.  There were quite a few students who were older than me.  Going to law school at 30 is not an issue at all. 

Going to law school at 40 is not much of an issue, either.  Almost every law school will have students who are 40 or very close to that age.  

Law school is a professional school.  This is not undergrad.  In professional school, you have people from all ages, some who have worked in other careers, entering at different life stages and advancing their careers.  It is quite silly to say that one person is "too old" to go to law school.  

Look at your own goals.

Why are you going to law school?

Do you need a Big Law job to feel satisfaction?

Are you comfortable with the debt or do you have enough money to pay for it?

What do you want to do after law school?

Have you made your decision to go to law school?  If so, let me take one more moment of your time.  

Perhaps you have heard that law school is a pretty cutthroat place?  A place where grades are everything?  Yes, there is some truth to that statement.  

Some law schools are cutthroat.  Some people will do anything to get top grades, even if it's somewhat unethical.  

It's no secret that law schools are full of people who are motivated to win no matter what the cost.

Many people also think that the best grades and the highest ranks are given to those who are gifted. 

Let me tell you right now to rid yourself of that belief.

Those who do the best in law school are the ones who know how to play the game.

If you are an older law student, you likely already know some things that the younger crowd doesn't know.  It's no secret that people in their 20s don't really have their lives together.

A person in their 40s or 50s has been around the block.

Before you begin law school, you should get familiar with how to be successful in law school.

That's where my book comes in.  

I wrote "How to Win at Law School" to help people get the top grades and highest class ranks.  Everyone knows you have to memorize laws and write amazing final exams to get good grades.  Duh!  But, most people don't really understand what goes into that.  

Sitting back and looking at flash cards for six hours a day and highlighting your cases in 5 colors isn't going to get you A's.

I know how to get As.  I did it.  I also saw law school differently than almost everyone in my class.  

One of my professors commented: "You are one of the most serious students in the class.  You will do well."  

I crushed law school.

You can, too! 


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