In Defence of Hating Law School
If you know me, you’ve probably heard my various grievances about law school.
The extreme work loads, the social pressure to constantly take on more projects when we’re already overextended, and the stuffy cultural conventions surrounding the profession combined can make law school an alienating, instead of rewarding, experience.
In response to these concerns, I often receive the same piece of advice from family and friends: “just drop out!” But three years in, I’m still here.
If you have ever felt the same way, you are not alone. Over the last year, many of us have come to the same conclusions about law school. The pandemic did not on its own make the institution worse, but rather worsened the cracks that were already there. Returning to school in person, many of us have struggled to readjust to a world that has been far too keen on going back to “business as usual.” If you were already questioning your belonging in law school, this has likely made your choice to stick around all the more difficult. But, if you’re reading this, you’ve likely chosen to persevere too.
If you’re on the fence about your place here, remember that you came to law school for a reason. Whether it be to serve your community or advance a particular social cause, your goals are bigger than just yourself. Find motivation in your empathy for the people you are here to serve. Never lose sight of the individual in case law, and resist the tendency of the legal profession to reduce people to theoretical abstractions.
Find like-minded friends. Listen to alternative legal media (I would suggest 5-4 Pod: A Podcast About How Much the Supreme Court Sucks). On campus, around the city and online, there are communities of like-minded students and lawyers to find strength in.
And remember that above all, the law is defined by the powers and peoples that know how to use it as a tool best.
It’s okay to hate law school, but never lose sight of what brought you here. And never forget that these institutions belong to us: ours to use, remake, and if necessary, tear down