When I first began law school, I knew nothing about the law. And I do mean NOTHING. I had no family members in the legal field, I had zero understanding of what lawyers actually do, and I did not know basic legal definitions, like what summary judgment is or the difference between a civil and a criminal trial. I cannot stress enough how little I knew, you guys: it was bad.
But then, of course, 1L happened. Through reading cases and occasionally Googling embarrassingly simple things, I learned. I now know things like how many federal circuit courts there are and the names of all the Supreme Court justices. But at some point in the middle of all of this legitimate learning, something unexpected happened: the law also became my hobby.
Now I should be clear about this: I do frequently participate in non-legal activities. I think you kind of have to if you want to stay sane in law school. But law school is also a big part of who I am as a person, and that manifests itself outside of a purely education context. To list a few examples:
- I actually purchased a Notorious RBG t-shirt, and I am a self-professed RBG fangirl.
- I play trivia on Thursday nights with a group of my law school friends. Our team name? Beyond a Reasonable Stout.
- I followed the jury selection of the Boston bomber trial on Twitter, and I live streamed the Aaron Hernandez case a few days ago. Just… for fun.
- Documentaries. Oh my goodness, the documentaries. I’ve always been a documentary fiend, but I now watch almost exclusively legal documentaries when I have free time. Some of my favorites (most of which are available on Netflix): Hot Coffee, How to Die in Oregon, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father, Capturing the Friedmans, The Central Park Five, and The Staircase.
I used to worry during 1L, when my classmates would be discussing the latest Supreme Court docket or the implications of a new bill of some kind, that I would never develop that same passion for the law as they all seemed to have. As it turns out, my relative ignorance of all things legal just caused me to be a little slow on the uptake.
Now, fully enmeshed in my fourth semester, I am officially a law nerd. I think that is definitely one of the most unexpected consequences of law school for me: this deep sense of truly caring about the law beyond a purely academic or career-driven sort of interest. And it’s also one of the BEST parts of law school; I never expected to feel this way, but I’m honestly privileged to be able to have a career in a field that affects every member of society in one way or another. It makes me wonder how I went so long without being fascinated by the legal world.