The Law School Stereotype

Everyone comes to law school wanting to be the perfect student. I’m willing to bet that in most peoples’ ideal world, they will get straight A’s, book their classes, and graduate top of their class with an awesome job lined up. Coming in blind, a lot of people have an idea of how that will all work out, too. There’s a law school stereotype floating around, an idea about the “right” way to go about it all, that many people get exposed to.

You know what I’m talking about. Maybe you’ve seen Legally Blonde, or watched a few episodes of How To Get Away With Murder, or maybe even just talked to someone who was in law school at the time. If that is your only exposure to what law school is like, you might walk away with a couple of preconceived notions. You might think study groups are practically mandatory, or that everyone is constantly out to get you on their way to the top of the curve. While certain aspects of that stereotype may turn out to be true for some people, but it’s important to recognize that for many, it just isn’t the way it works, and that’s okay!

Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, and the strategies that work for each individual are equally likely to differ. When I first came to BU law, I remember I immediately formed a study group and we met multiple times to discuss readings and prepare for classes. After a while, I started to realize that it wasn’t working for me. At first, it seemed kind of odd to me. Isn’t that what law students do? Work in study groups?

As the semester went on, I began to realize that there isn’t really one formula to follow for law school, contrary to whatever popular thought was on the subject. Now, as a 2L finishing up my third semester, I realize how important it is to kick aside those notions, and even sometimes the things that my peers are doing, and to do what works best for me. What I have found is that my strategies for success vary wildly from some of those around me, and even personally from class to class. Some courses I rely on study groups to help me digest and understand the material. Other courses, I need to work on my own because I don’t find working with others particularly helpful. And to be perfectly honest, sometimes a study group that works great for one class doesn’t work at all when the subject matter is different.

It’s important to realize that at the end of the day, law school really doesn’t have a structured, rigid path to success, and we aren’t all just cookie cutter students. Everyone learns this idea eventually, but I definitely wouldn’t have mind coming to this realization earlier than I did. To any new law students or anyone thinking of attending law school soon, keep in mind that at the end of the day, you know what works best for you. Don’t be afraid to stray from the norm if it’s what keeps you comfortable and successful. Elle Woods did, and look where it got her.

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