“It’s All Downhill From Here.”

false peakThere are a series of maxims you hear while going through your first year of law school. These are gems like:

“The first year of law school is like 33% of the time but 80% of the effort.”

“Oh man, 2L year is so easy! All you do is interview.”

“I don’t mind putting the extra effort in now. This is the hard part.”

“Sorry, can’t go to the bars. I’ll make up my drinking next year.”

If only it were true, folks. If only. I can confirm that the classes of law school do get easier as a 2L. For the most part. Most professors ask for volunteers in class, but you are expected to volunteer a certain number of times. The work is more familiar and takes less time, but on average there is at least the same amount of reading. You are required to take less units, though, and the time difference is notable.

The big issue is that there are too many things other than law school to distract you. The first and foremost on everyone’s mind is the OCI process, by which something like 30-40% of BUSL students find their 2L summer/post-graduation job. This involves spending hours prepping for a 20 minute first round interview in which you have to distinguish yourself in a positive way to a 30-something partner. This sounds easy, but remember – the partner doesn’t want to be there, and he/she has to meet upwards of 20 students that day. Then, you wait – either for a good news phone call or a bad news small envelope in your mail box. This process begins late-August (before school starts) and the nationwide follow-up interviews continue through October.

Then, there is the journal. A good third of the 2Ls are on journals (Law Review, International Law Journal, Journal of Science and Technology Law, etc.). This leads to a whole other source of responsibilities including editing, source checking, and note writing. Many students not in journals are in clinics and/or moot court programs, both of which lead to their own intensive time commitments.

Finally, many people work part-time jobs as 2Ls. Tuition and rent are expensive, and cash is always good. Whether you’re a bartender or a research assistant, a job always eats more time away than scheduled.

And, on top of all of this, that’s not to say that 2L grades “don’t count”. If you want to get a clerkship with a judge before working, or your post-graduation offer falls through, or you don’t have one to begin with, these grades still count and you’ll never feel like you’re putting enough effort forward.

To some of you, this may sound like a downer. But honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. You get three years of law school, no matter how much each one is worth. I’d rather make the best out of all three, knowing that they are all good for something. And, in the end, you are only going to get out of law school what you put into it.

Plus, you really can’t worry about it too much – I hear 3L year is a blast.

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