For all the 3L’s preparing for their last days of exams I ask you take this warning seriously. It will happen suddenly and you will not be ready for it. It may come at you with whiplashing speed or perhaps it will bloom slowly across your memory. Either way law school is fundamentally built to cause flashbacks.
Some will be good, some bad, probably a few scares and laughs – hopefully nothing that will actually keep you up at night. However flashbacks to law school will follow you no matter how much distance you put in years between you and the last three you’ve spent here. And here’s why – having attended a professional school and now entering the profession, you are going to come across reminders everywhere in your day to day life.
Just like a familiar smell of a heavily applied perfume can remind you of Grandma or that awesome slow jam on the radio can bring you back to your first high school dance, the words promissory estoppel or mens rea can shoot your memory back to 1L year. Maybe you successfully answered a question on the fly, or perhaps it was a palm-sweating situation where you faltered – either way the legal world is rife with reminders good, bad, and indifferent.
My request of all of you as you finish up with exams over the next few weeks, is that in preparation for your legal career be ready for the these flashbacks to surprise you around every corner. I obviously am not even practicing anymore but I can tell you that my conversations with all of you and the work that we do has me thinking back to law school almost on a daily basis (As a side note to 1L’s and 2L’s reading this, please, no more stories about Civ. Pro. – my psyche can’t handle it).
And it’s not just what happened in the classroom. Coming across each other whether it is in the courtroom or the conference room you’ll be reminded of your time in school together. And BU is a special place in that regard. This is a very active, collegial place where the community is dynamic and life outside the classroom is an important part of the BU Law experience. That means there are just that many more opportunities for history to surprise you in the unlikeliest of places.
So you have officially been warned. You’ve run the gauntlet of law school to start off your career and leave the stress and hard work of law school behind. Only now you’re aware that there will be constant reminders everywhere conjuring up these memories so make them a positive. Use them to inform your decisions, to reflect how far you’ve come, to teach those that you will mentor, and how you’ll grow as an attorney with experience and hindsight, albeit sometimes delivered via a surprise flashback.
Flashbacks are a positive thing no matter the experience they remind you of and fortunately the field of law will induce flashbacks all the time. You have been warned.
Don’t be afraid to look over your shoulder, Josh