Does Law School Have a Toxic Atmosphere?

Starting out law school I had no idea what to expect. None of my family had gone to college, let alone to law school. I had zero preconceptions and did not know what to expect.

As you’ll see, law school is a small bubble. You go to class with the same people every day for a whole year. You study in the same building, the same library, and many rarely leave until late into the night. That could drive anyone insane. But, it gets more complicated. Law school is full of gossip and drama. You’ll hear how so and so said this controversial thing in class, and how so and so are dating now, and blah blah blah. It’s almost like you’re starting high school all over again.

Screen Shot 2019-01-01 at 21.32.41 It’s like the beginning of Legally Blonde where everyone is mean to Elle – as shown here in the scene where Elle gets rejected from a study group.

This is, of course, only true if you let gossip and drama guide your daily law school life. BU, however, stands above the classic law school experience. Many law schools will try to convince you that they rise above the gossip and intense competition. And while BU does try to convince you of this, I am quite confident that the students at BU are different. Though they may occasionally seem intense on the outside, students truly care about one another. For no particular reason, they will always go out of their way to help one another. The only pretense being that they believe you would do the same for them. For example, when I came to Admitted Students Day at BU I was on crutches after undergoing surgery for a torn ACL. The students at BU picked up my papers for me at every turn, pulled out my chair, and even hand delivered my lunch. The students were incredibly kind and it was one of the reasons I decided on BU in the first place. I knew I could not thrive in a toxic environment focused purely on competition, there had to be a sense of comradery.

The atmosphere in law school is generally intense and people are working very hard to ensure they do well. But, that does not give anyone an excuse to bad mouth one another or hurt each other. BU students do not stand for this, and we usually have one another’s back. If you find yourself gossiping about others, excluding others, or going out of your way to hurt your fellow students, then you probably should rethink why you are going to law school.

Being a lawyer requires interpersonal skills that make people want to work with you. When employers hear that you were cut throat in law school and burned bridges at every turn, your job prospects might dwindle. Regardless of job prospects, being a good person is in your general interest as a human being. Law school can be toxic, but you can rise above that atmosphere by striving to treat your classmates as you wish to be treated.

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