Attending law school can be a challenging environment for anyone, but are there key indicators for those who have their doubts about attending law school?
A recent commentary on Quora from former law school professor Alice Baker provided some useful answers for those who face the law school condundrum.
There are some factors that should be considered regarding law school ambitions.
The 5 Key Law School Indicators
(1) The only reason you’re thinking about going to law school is because you are about to graduate with an undergraduate degree in ___________ and you can’t think of anything else to do with it. (Fill in the blank with the major of your choice.)
(2) You don’t have good enough moral character to be entrusted with your client’s life savings.
(3) The only reason you’re thinking about going to law school is because you are under the mistaken impression that all lawyers lead exciting lives and drive Lamborghinis.
(4) You don’t have good enough judgment to say “no” when you should, even if it means losing a paying client.
(5) Your prior academic performance indicates that you are unlikely to ever become a lawyer. (My general rule of thumb is that you need to graduate in at least the top third of your class in order to be a viable candidate for law school.)
Is law school incredibly stressful? Yes.
Does this mean that you shouldn’t attend law school? Not necessarily.
Since I’ve never met you, I have no idea how good you are at handling stressful environments. When it comes to stress management, there’s a wide range of outcomes. I’ve seen law students who managed the stress of law school in healthy ways and remained on an even emotional keel throughout the entire three years of law school. I’ve also seen law students who didn’t manage the stress of law school in healthy ways. It depends on the individual.
If you’re concerned that stress management might be an issue for you, personally, I would encourage you to develop healthy self-care strategies before you enter law school so that you don’t have to figure out those strategies at a time when you’re neck-deep in a stressful environment. If exercise works for you, then do exercise. If music works for you, then do music. If yoga works for you, then do yoga.
I have three rules for stress management.
- Your stress management strategy cannot involve alcohol or any other mind-altering substance.*
- Your stress management strategy cannot involve anything illegal.
- Your stress management strategy cannot involve self-harm.
I’m dead serious about the alcohol. Alcoholism and substance abuse is a huge problem in our profession. You need to find a way of managing stress that doesn’t involve getting plastered. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for a world of trouble.
As long as you abide by my three rules, you may choose any stress management strategy that you like.