5 Things I Should Have Believed Before Starting Law School

Happy Sunday! 

I am pretty sure that many law school orientations are happening all over the country this week or it is the first week of law school for many as well. For me, this is my last week of freedom before my 3L year starts. I am doing some self-care, binge-watching a lot of Netflix and helping with my school's new 1L law student orientation as a student ambassador. I cannot believe I am starting my last year of law school and this journey is coming to an end. 

I have been thinking back to my 1L year a lot as my law school career is nearing its end and I have realized I was wrong about a lot of things before starting law school. Today I am highlighting 5 things people told me that I should have believed before starting law school and (stubborn me) I didn't believe until later. 

1. C's get Degrees
So when I started law school I was a straight A, occasional B+ student. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from undergrad, I got a full-tuition scholarship to law school and I had always been one of the smartest people in my educational endeavors. So then law school started and suddenly I was a smart person surrounded by equally smart and/or smarter people. The first semester I received my first C's, failed one class and I had a small meltdown (JK it was a large meltdown and I almost dropped out of law school. More on that in this post). Eventually, I came around to the fact that I am a middle of the pack law student and my grades are mostly B's with the occasional A and occasional C and THAT IS OKAY. Not everyone can be a straight-A law student. In fact, most people won't be. But that does NOT mean you will not be a great lawyer and do great things. A lawyer once told me that straight A law students may end up on the Supreme Court, B law students become great lawyers and C law students enforce justice. The legal community is big enough for everyone and you do not have to have straight A's in law school to be a great lawyer. So my approach on law school grades is: C's get degrees, B's make me smile because I know I am getting it done and the occasional A makes me cry and jump in circles out of pure happiness.

People told me law school would be harder than anything I had ever done and I didn't really believe them. As someone who had always excelled at everything I had set my mind to, failure wasn't even in my vocabulary. But they were right- law school has been the hardest thing I have ever done. It has knocked me on my ass, forced me to study harder than I ever knew I had to and has caused me to grow into a stronger, better person. So I wish I would have believed people when they said C's get law degrees because it's the truth and that is perfectly okay. 

2. Sometimes it's okay to say no
Law school stretches you pretty thin- you study all the time, you are searching for jobs, there are organizations to join, and internships, you have to find time to eat and sleep..... time management is key (more on that in this post). I have never been good at saying "no" to extra responsibilities. I had to let people down so when in doubt I say yes. To everything. I say yes to extra work hours, planning parties, leading organizations, doing extra work on the group project... and at some point, you just can't do it "all". People always say that it is okay to say "no" but it wasn't until I got a stress rash halfway through 2L year because I was so overextended that I believed them. I am still a busy person and I don't like to sit still and I still probably say yes to too many things but I also learned it is okay to say no sometimes.

It is okay to have a full plate and be busy... it is also okay to say no when you are overwhelmed. You have to put yourself, your education and your well-being first. 

3. I am capable of more than I ever knew
Earlier I said that I have always excelled at most of what I set my mind to. That is true. I also never was truly challenged intellectually until law school. About halfway through my first semester, I seriously thought I could not do it. I didn't think I could handle 4 exams in two weeks that were my entire grade. I did not think I could retain all the information I needed to. I truly thought this would be my downfall. But I did it. I survived and dare I say it, I even thrived. Law school has challenged me in every way possible but it has also shown me that I am capable of more than I ever thought possible. If someone would have told me that I would reach my lowest lows and my highest highs in law school, I would not have believed them but I should have. Law school is really hard and I almost gave up.... but I didn't and I have learned that it is amazing what you can accomplish when you dig deep and work hard. 

4. Career Path's Change 
People told me to stay open-minded about my career before law school. I didn't believe them. I was dead set on becoming a criminal defense attorney. The summer after my 1L year, I happened into an internship in my local criminal prosecutor's office. I feel in love. I do not even want to do defense anymore- yo ho, yo ho the prosecutors life for me!

Also, I also surprised myself by loving tort law. I never thought I would enjoy anything but criminal law but I do and that fact keeps my future wide open. I am not sure what I am going to practice- I hope I will be a prosecutor, but that may change and that's okay. I didn't believe people when they said to keep my mind open about careers before law school but I do now. 

5. It's actually fun 
I would not have believed anyone who told me law school would be fun before I started. However, I do genuinely enjoy law school. It is actually really fun (at times). I love learning and pushing myself academically. I love learning about the law- it truly is fascinating. I love the people I go to school with. I love soaking up wisdom from professors who have more knowledge in their little finger than I ever will know. I love 2am pizza runs after a 12-hour study marathon. I love bar review dance parties because we finished our finals. I love dressing up and presenting an oral argument because it makes me feel like I am actually becoming a lawyer. Law school is really, really, really hard. I am not going to lie about that. But it can be enjoyable. Find a good group of people, create a law school life balance and enjoy every second. The 3 years will fly by (trust me, I am in denial about the fact I only have 1 year left) so make the best of it.

Good luck to all of you starting law school or orientation this week!


  1. This is great. Thank you for such an honest post!

  2. Your 1L experience sounds a lot like mine. I, too, was used to getting mostly As and thought that law school wouldn't be a challenge because of that. Boy was I wrong! I was a bit hard on myself after not getting the grades that I wanted but as I prepare to start 2L, I'm trying to look at my first year more positively, and learn from my mistakes so I can do better moving forward.

    It's funny but I also wanted to be a criminal defense attorney when I started law school. I was dead-set on criminal law and was not really open to anything else. All of that changed after my summer internship, so right now I'm just going with the flow and hoping that I end up practicing an area of law that I like.

    Thanks so much for writing this! And congrats on making it to 3L year!

    1. You will do great! Just keep trucking along and it will continue to get easier! Good luck in your 2L year :)