Monday, February 22, 2010

A current law student's advice for the Pre-Ls in 2010: in a word, RUN

This post originally appeared at Dennis Jansen.com and is re-posted with permission.

It’s that time of year again. Law school acceptance letters have gone out and the future victims students are trolling the student blogs.

My advice? Run.

If you’re not going to run, then consider these 5 tips:

  1. Do not go to law school just because your humanities major did not give you any marketable job skills. That’s like signing up for the military because you won’t condescend to work retail as a B.A. The legal job market collapsed last year. If you were looking for riches and employment, then try Starbucks or business school…or the military. At least they’ll pay for school if you survive.
  2. When considering schools outside of the top 10 (or maybe top 20) focus on the schools in the state/market you want to practice in. Your New Mexico JD isn’t as powerful in Maine, even if the New Mexico school is ranked slightly higher than Maine’s Bumble School of Law.
  3. If you are choosing between a well-ranked school and a scholarship at a less prestigious school, ask whether the scholarship is contingent on your GPA or class rank. Most students at these schools will lose their scholarships because of the curve. And yes, your competition is as smart and motivated to keep their scholarship as you are.
  4. Much of the prep during the summer before law school is a waste of time. Your time is best spent working, because your scholarship or loan money may not come in until classes start. Working out also won’t hurt, because law school is the land of coffee and pizza.
  5. If you really want to know what law school is like then read law student blogs. An outline of my 1L fall semester is here, and an outline of 1L spring is here. There more blogs are linked on the left-hand column of dennis-jansen.com.

Again, I recommended that you run, so don’t batter me with nasty messages this fall about how I ruined your life because this blog convinced you that law school is all sunshine and lollipops. It is not. Run.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pregnant / having kids in law school

A reader asked: I am planning on attending law school as a 1L in the fall but I just found out I am pregnant and would be due in October of my first year. I am now discouraged. When I saw your blog I was encouraged. I was wondering if you had children while in law school and how you managed that?

My reply: I had an 18 month old when I started law school with a husband in Iraq. I can talk to you about it at length, but it is not quite the same.

A number of women bloggers had babies while in law school -- four spring immediately to mind:

http://lagliv.blogspot.com/
http://magiccookie.blogspot.com/
http://ceepalmer.blogspot.com/
http://attyworkproduct.blogspot.com/

Cee and Magic Cookie each took a semester off and graduated a semester late. Lag Liv and Attorney Work Product graduated on time (I think). All were employed upon graduation, all four are married. However, you'd have to read their respective archives to understand how they did it. They each faced very different challenges bringing their babies into the world while law students. They are amazing, inspiring, clever and wonderful women and reading their blog archives would be a great way to spend an afternoon.

But NONE of them did it first semester 1L. They had summer, 2L or 3L babies.

1L is stressful. It is wonderful. I'd do it again. But it is the most important year and you need to be able to commit fully to it.

Advice, since you asked for it: I would defer admission for a year. Seriously. It is much easier to start law school with a 10 month old than to give birth right before 1L first semester finals.

I am going to poll the MILPs and see if they wish to add their insight in the comments -- they might disagree with me.

Also:

The Weekly MILP (Moms In the Legal Profession) Roundup is hosted on a rotating basis between PT-LawMom, Butterflyfish, and Attorney Work Product blogs. We originally rounded up just the moms in law school, but then discovered that those women eventually graduate. Who knew? So now all the moms in the legal field (heh... MILFs) are represented. We aim for Sunday posts.
See the past Round Ups at my other blog here.


(pregnant in law school; baby in law school; pregnant law student; pregnancy law school; infant law school)