November 4th, 2013 at 12:30
If you are considering law school, I want to encourage you right now to adopt the right attitude so that when you are here, you will have the most success possible. After all, you will be paying a lot of money for a great educational experience and you likely want to make it a worthwhile venture, right?
I would say that attitude is a HUGE part of that.
Start now towards a positive attitude and be the law student who takes advantage of all that the school has to offer. That includes classes – I’ve said it before on this blog and I’ll likely say it again… Go to class. There is no better way to get your money’s worth than going to the classes you paid for. Read your assignments. There is no better way to understand the course material than to read the assignments in the (expensive) books you paid for. Pay attention in class. There is no better way to get to know your professor’s own view of the subject and to formulate your own understanding so that you can perform well on the final exam. I would add to this list that you should take advantage of all that the school has to offer – from the Professional Development Office, to the stellar librarians in the law library, to public service opportunities, to networking events, to study skill workshops. I encourage you to view these things as tools that will help you construct your goal of becoming a successful attorney.
My own opinion is that law school is no place for negativity. It’s good to be realistic, but I would say that you will not be as successful academically, nor professionally if you approach law school from a negative, burdened perspective. Here’s the reality: law school is hard. It’s supposed to be hard. We are becoming members of a respected and elite profession. We should never lose sight of that fact. We have to give up our weekends sometimes. We have to do extra work sometimes. We have to stay up for many late nights in a row to finish a project sometimes. But this is part of the privilege of being here. And it is what we pay for. Don’t undermine that by adopting a negative, burdened, put-upon attitude because it’s hard and it takes up your free time. Embrace it! When you take everything that is offered to you and use it for your own personal improvement, you will be a better attorney in the end – and I would argue, a better person, too.
So stay positive. Don’t look for things to complain about. Find what is good in all that crosses your path in law school, and use it to become that Rock Star Lawyer. I think you’ll find in the end that your experience was meaningful, and that you will be better prepared to go out into the community and make the profession proud.