Paying it Forward 2L Style

2L

GUEST BLOG Stephanie Baldwin, 2L at the University of Arizona

Paying it Forward 2L Style

We’ve all been there… and now it is time to pay it back, by paying it forward by helping 1Ls. Often, I talk to my fellow 2Ls to find out what I should write about each week. My friend Katrina suggested this topic and also provided a meaningful quote that is the inspiration for this week’s blog. She said, “As a 1L I thought any advice or words of affirmation from 2Ls felt like a life raft. It is our duty to pay it forward.” She is so right!

I have already taken a few 1Ls “under my wing” by giving advice, and even going as far as getting some second-semester books off our free bookshelf for them. YES!  UofA has a free bookshelf in the library that often has textbooks on it! There are a lot of ways you can pay it forward by helping 1Ls. You might already be doing this through your club, as a BARBRI rep (pssst…. check out the 1L Mastery package), or in some other way. I know I talk a lot about networking and forming relationships with class members, but recently I met with an attorney and they urged me to not only form relationships within my class but at a minimum with the class above and below me as well. For now, let’s just focus on the 1Ls.

Join the Mentor Program

Ok, this may seem obvious, but be on the lookout to see if your school has a formal mentoring program, if they do, sign up. But, if you don’t feel like you have the time to dedicate to the program, be a mentor in other ways. For instance…

2L – Just say hi!

At lunch, make the 1Ls feel welcome. You will likely see a few at the lunch events and if it is on a special topic, you might share similar interests. This is the perfect time to strike up a conversation.

Share your Wisdom

Think about how it felt last year, not really knowing anything about the classes or professors. Now, we’ve been there and done that. You are a wealth of information! For example, you could give:

  1. Advice on Professors
    Share tips on preparing for class, surviving cold calls, or exam tips.
  2. Share Your Outlines
    Have a great outline, or know a resource that can help a 1L out? Let them know and share!
  3. Recommend Clubs
    Help a 1L navigate the plethora of student organizations and clubs. You know who has the best lunch offerings, which clubs have the best events, and provide the best support.
  4. Give tips on having a life outside of law school
    Law school often seems life-consuming, but one of the tips I heard over and over again was to find something else to do as well. Sarah, a fellow 2L, recommended to “Get a hobby that isn’t law school-related. I did Yoga that helped me have friends outside of law school and that was so important!” Share your secrets…

Also, Share Your Struggles

No matter where you are ranked, we all shared struggles during our 1L. It could have been school-related, like the fear of the first cold call, or the impact of living in a new city. I remember seeing 2Ls and it seemed like they may have breezed through 1L, so it was great to hear about their struggles. It made me realize what I was going through was not unique, and that I was going to be ok!

Let me know how you’re paying it forward on Twitter or Instagram @The2LLife. I would love to hear from you!

2L Year, The Time To Check Early Bar Exam Requirements

Believe it or not, the second year of law school is when you should begin researching early bar exam requirements.

If you’re a 2L student reading this blog, yes, that means pretty much now. It’s not too early to get moving on this process. Depending on the state/jurisdiction in which you plan to take the bar, you may encounter specific instructions, special fees and other details that will require plenty of advanced planning and work on your part. The goal is to avoid pitfalls later, when you really don’t want any surprises.

Download the free BARBRI Bar Exam Digest, which has all the information you need to know for every state and jurisdiction, including the UBE.

BE AWARE OF THE STEPS, SAVE YOURSELF MONEY

The bar admission requirements are just that — requirements — and certain ones come with a fee. Pay close attention. Make sure you are fully aware of those requirements and their deadlines. You may have something to do during 2L year.

Ohio is a good example. Your Application to Register as a Candidate for Admission to the Practice of Law (fondly known as Character and Fitness) is due by November 15th of your second year of law school. That second year requirement applies regardless if you are on a three-, four- or five-year plan. It’s a 30-page application that wants to know everywhere you have lived since the age of 18. Seriously.

Another example: In Florida, there’s an even earlier deadline. It allows (and encourages) you to sign up your first year of law school. In fact, the earlier you sign up for the Florida bar exam, the lower your overall fee.

REALIZE THIS IS NOT A QUICK AND EASY PROCESS

Even if you’re going to a state where you don’t have to file your bar exam application until the third year of law school, this is not something you can do in one night. Or even over the course of a week. You will likely have to do some significant digging into your personal, financial and work histories. Remember that traffic ticket you got in the middle of nowhere driving home from college your second year? You are going to have to hunt down the docket for it to include with your application. That’s only part of it. You may have to get forms notarized and references to provide letters of recommendation.

Here’s a helpful Bar Admission Checklist that will give you a general overview of what to expect.

PREPARE TO MOVE FAST, TIME MAY BE LIMITED

Some states have a limited timeline established for you to file your bar exam application. In New York, for example, the application filing period is only one month. No extensions. Late applications are not accepted. The last thing you want is to wait another six months to take the bar because you missed a deadline. As a 2L student now, you can see these coming with more than enough time to gather and do everything you need on schedule.

KNOW THE TOPICS TESTED, TAKE THOSE COURSES

By checking bar exam requirements (going into fall semester of 2L year or sooner), you get to see what’s tested on that exam and then plan your course schedule accordingly. If you’re bar exam state tests Commercial Law and Secured Transactions, consider taking those classes in law school. Give yourself every advantage, early and often.

As with so many things related to law school, taking time to stay informed has its rewards.

2L: Back to the Classroom

2L

GUEST BLOG Stephanie Baldwin, 2L at the University of Arizona

2L Study Mode?

As I talk to my fellow 2Ls, the biggest struggle right now (besides the job hunt) is moving back into “study mode” after working all summer long. It can be a difficult transition. Especially when there seems to be such a focus at the beginning of the semester on OCI, and our 2L summer jobs. Here are some tips to help make the transition back into the classroom a little easier.

Pick Up Some New School Supplies

No matter how many times you’ve had a “first day of school”, for me, there is always something great about getting new school supplies to get me back into the mood for school. Think about what made you successful last year. What changes do you need to make? Grab some school supplies to help you reach your goals. I personally love taking notes in different colors.  I learned last year, that I actually remember what I need to learn better if I handwrite it versus typing it. So, when I found myself dragging the first week of school, I decided to go buy a colorful pen set and dedicated notebooks for each class. This made my second week of school so much better! I also reorganized my backpack using my Ipsy bags (pens in one, computer cord and mouse in another). This has already made my semester better (and more organized).

Reflect On 1L

Maybe you had a great 1L, maybe you struggled a bit. No matter how you felt you did, take time to reflect on your successful classroom habits and where you need to improve. Doing this now, might help you get back into your good study and classroom habits from last year, and maybe help you avoid some pitfalls. For me, this means more studying at home instead of in the library.

Use What You Learned At Work

This summer most of us worked in the legal field for the first time. I spent my summer with the trial division of a government agency, and it confirmed that I want to be a litigator. This led me to change up my schedule a bit this semester. Now I am taking classes that are focused on interviewing, pre-trial litigation and more. Use what you did this summer to help you refine your class schedule now that you have some legal experience. Perhaps you loved what you did, maybe you hated it. One of my friends was going to take a course load full of business law. They have since changed to a family law focus. Tailoring your classes will likely make you more engaged in the classroom. It will help you hone the skills you will need for your future career.

Consider Pro Bono Work

If you really enjoyed what you did this summer, and are missing it, see if you can add a clinic, externship or fulfill your school’s pro bono requirement by using your new-found talents. A 3L told me the hardest part of starting 2L was feeling like they “regressed” from being a productive, contributing member of the law community back to a law student. They felt that by doing pro bono work, that helped bridge that gap between their professional and academic careers.

I wish you a successful start to the school year! How are you transitioning back into the classroom? Feel free to send your tips to @The2LLife on Instagram and Twitter!

OCI to Offer: The Callback

OCI

GUEST BLOG Stephanie Baldwin, 2L at the University of Arizona

OCI

Welcome back to school my fellow 2Ls! Depending on where you are in the country you might be already into your second week of school, or just about to start. One thing we all have in common is the OCI process.

Last year I wrote a lot about preparing for the 1L OCI process, with a focus on your cover letter, networking, preparing for the job search, and thriving during 1L OCI . Mackenzie Way, the new 3LLife blogger (and last year’s 2L Life blogger) also wrote an amazing 2L OCI checklist, that I found very useful. Here, I want to focus on the callback, the third stage of OCI.

What is a Call Back?

A call back is exactly what it sounds like, you are being “called back” by the firm for a second interview. This time, instead of the interview taking place on campus, or at a hotel, it will usually be at the firm. This is important because you really need to pay attention to the “vibe” of the firm.

Three important things to do during the call back

Be Observant

Not only are you being evaluated, but this is also your time to see if you fit in with the culture of the firm. Look at how people are dressed, how they interact with each other, and how everyone you meet acts towards you. If the interviewers rave about how supportive everyone is, and works collaboratively but while you are walking from interview to interview, you see everyone with their head down, and no one interacting with each other, this might give you a different impression. We all thrive in different environments.  Some love the vibe of a busy office, while others enjoy a quiet surrounding. Be honest with who you are and what you like. This will help you land in the right firm.

Be “On”

From the moment you walk in the door, the interview has begun. Everyone, including the receptionist, might provide feedback to the hiring committee. Act appropriately, and present yourself in the best light possible. Remember that as you walk with someone between interviews, this is still part of the interview.

Your call back might also involve a meal. This could be lunch, dinner, or a happy hour. No matter how relaxed the atmosphere, remember that this is still a part of the interview. Try to order food that is not messy, and have the best table manners that you can muster. I had lunch with 3 people from the firm to start my call back. I knew not to order something messy, and then when my meal arrived, I realized it was likely the messiest thing I could have ordered (I thought the messy part would be on the side not ON the sandwich). Thankfully, one of the associates also ordered this sandwich, so we had a bit of a laugh.

Be Yourself

It might surprise you that you might not talk at all about the law, your career interests, or law school during your interviews. In many ways, you have already done the hard part by completing the first stage of OCI. Now the firm wants to know if they like you. Can they work with you? Are you a person they want to spend over 400 hours with next summer? Can they introduce you to clients? Can they train you? Essentially, they want to know if you will fit in with the firm. Here, most likely, your grades, classes, and prior degrees will not matter. Who you are, your personality, your ability to communicate and the things you enjoy, will. It is crucial to be you and not who you think they want you to be, otherwise, you might be in for a rough summer if you receive an offer. Remember they are looking for fit, but so are you. If you notice multiple awkward silences, or a strange feeling in your gut, pay attention to that.

Best of luck during OCI!

Have any questions, comments, or want to share your  OCI experiences? Reach out @The2LLife on Twitter or Instagram! I am excited to be joining you again this year as we experience #The2LLife.

The2Llife: Reflecting on 1L Summer

GUEST BLOG by Dani Gies,
Attorney Advisor at Los Angeles Immigration Court
(written as a Rising 2L entering the start of the fall semester, exclusively for BARBRI)

It’s time to take stock of what happened during the summer.

I worked for the Executive Office for Immigration Review (a component of the Department of Justice) in Immigration Court. The Court was attached to a detention facility, so all of the respondents in court were detained. I served as sort of the clerk to the clerk, since there was only one law clerk for the four Immigration Judges. Since there were only two of us, I got tremendous legal research and writing experience, and also learned substantive criminal immigration law along the way. I also made really meaningful personal connections. All in all, I had the best 1L summer job experience I could have hoped for.

Did you have a great summer, too? Tips to keep floating on Cloud Nine:

  • Thank your supervisor and those who made your experience possible. An email is nice for a coworker with whom you worked a couple of times, but I recommend a handwritten card for your supervisor. After all, taking on an intern is a lot of extra work for an organization and for the person supervising you. Furthermore, let them know that you really enjoyed yourself.
  • Keep in touch and follow up. If someone in the office offered their help to you in the form of a letter of recommendation, reference or just making a connection, be sure to follow up. While you are back in school living the good life, they’re still on the work grind and may already have another intern. Send an email to confirm their willingness to be a reference or remind them of the connection you were hoping to make.
  • Be introspective. Did you expect to like your work? If so, was it the content of the work or the type of work? Did you enjoy an aspect of the work you didn’t expect? How does this inform the types of work opportunities you will look for in the future?

Was your summer not as great as you had hoped? Consider this:

  • Thank your supervisor and those who made your experience possible. An email is nice for a coworker with whom you worked a couple of times, but I recommend a handwritten card for your supervisor. Even if it was not the best experience for you, taking on an intern is a lot of extra work for an organization and for the person supervising you. Furthermore, just because you left with a bad taste in your mouth does not mean you should leave the organization with one in theirs.
  • Keep in touch and follow up. If someone in the office offered their help to you in the form of a letter of recommendation, reference or just making a connection, be sure to follow up. Although the organization you worked for may not be the best fit, if you are candid with someone there, they may be able to refer you for a job better suited to you. Send an email to remind them of the connection you were hoping to make.
  • Be introspective. Did you expect to like your work? If so, what made you dislike your experience? Was it the content of the work, the type of work, the environment, the people? Did you enjoy any aspects of the work? How does this inform the types of work opportunities you will look for in the future?

If you didn’t cheat and read both sections, you’ll notice I gave the same advice, although worded slightly differently. This is because I firmly believe that it is just as important to learn what you don’t like as to learn what you do like.

You’re not married to your 1L summer job or your 2L summer job or the first job you get after graduating. Thus, every experience gives you more information about what work makes you happy and what gets you down in the dumps, leading you ever closer to the job that is right for you. I hope you’re able to view your summer experience in this light.

The Lowdown on the MPRE

GUEST BLOG Makenzie Way, 3L at the University of Pennsylvania Law School

We all know that to practice as an attorney we must take the dreaded bar examination.

Many of us also know that bar admissions requirements include the Character and Fitness application.

Law students are divided, however, on they’re awareness of the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination.

So what is the MPRE?

Structure and Overview

The MPRE is a two-hour, 60-question multiple-choice exam offered multiple times a year (generally in November, March and August). Registration is done online and takes a matter of minutes. Most importantly, the completion of your school’s professional responsibility course is not a requirement for registration.

Quick Quiz: When Should You Take It?

What year are you in law school currently?
a) 1L
b) 2L
c) 3L

How full is your course and/or social schedule this semester?
a) Extremely packed. I’m almost at the max credit allowance.
b) It’s law school; I’m busy, but I still have some free time.
c) Totally laid back.

Is there an MPRE examination center near your law school?
a) They’re all pretty far away and I don’t have a car.
b) There’s one pretty close!
c) My school is a test center.

What is your summer job like?
a) I’ll be working abroad.
b) I’ll be in a US city for the average 10-weeks.
c) I’m not working at all.

Have you taken professional responsibility yet?
a) Uh no …
b) I’m registered in it now.
c) Obviously.

Quick Quiz: Your Results

Mostly A’s: Sorry 1L’s, you must be a 2L or 3L to register for the MPRE. Otherwise, for eligible participants, it is not recommended that you take the fall and/or spring MPRE offering if your schedule is extremely busy. You likely will not have the time to study for the exam. Likewise, if you’re away for the summer or working throughout August, it is not recommended that you take the August MPRE.

Mostly B’s: It sounds like you’re fairly flexible when it comes to enrollment options. If you’re interested in getting the MPRE out of the way, register for the summer administration. You’ll likely have finished your professional responsibility course by then. Otherwise, keep the MPRE in mind when registering for your fall/spring semester courses. You’ll want to make time during one of those semesters if you don’t opt for the summer MPRE.

Mostly C’s: You urgently need to register for the next MPRE. As a 3L, you need your MPRE score to register for the bar exam. Don’t risk ruining your bar trip and interfering with your bar exam studying schedule by registering for the summer offering. Instead, head to the MPRE website now and register for the upcoming spring semester offering before registration closes!

The MPRE Registration Fee Has Increased

As of 2019, the on-time registration fee is $125; however, late registrations will be charged $220 (a comprehensive fee and registration outline can be found here). You are not charged at the time of registering. Instead, you pay when you arrive at the test center, so if you’re short on cash, don’t feel dismayed from registering anyways.

On The Topic Of Payment

If you’re going to a medium-to-large sized law firm, it may reimburse you for taking the MPRE and a prep course. Don’t hesitate to ask your firm if this is an applicable “bar-related” expense. Likewise, if you’re going into public interest, it can’t hurt to ask your law school if there are funding sources available to help with costs associated with the MPRE.

Recommended MPRE Preparation

Most law students, who have completed the MPRE (that I’ve talked to), seem to agree that taking a course in professional responsibility before taking the exam is a smart decision. Otherwise, they stressed that preparation is relatively minimal, especially in comparison to the bar exam. Still, most students said they enrolled in at least one virtual program — such as the free and online BARBRI MPRE Review course.

Major OCI missteps to avoid

By Samuel Farkas,
BARBRI Curriculum Architect and Instructor

At some point during law school, every student will attempt to dazzle potential employers as the perfect candidate. Here are few common missteps that will get your resume tossed quickly after you exit – and what you can do to avoid them.

“Surely you’ve heard of ME.”

You may have a stellar resume, grades and smile, but no one – most of all, future employers – find cockiness appealing. They do, however, like to see confidence. You’ll want to deliver “in the middle” with cautious confidence. Remain humble and ready to soak up precious legal knowledge. Present a firm handshake, make eye contact, sit up straight and be assertive in your responses and questions. Showing gratitude for your achievements and accolades, while underscoring how receptive you are to learning and growing professionally, will help you make the right impression.

“I want to work for you because I need a job and money!”

During On-Campus Interviews (OCI), you’re going to get asked over and over again: “Why do you want to work for us? Why would you like to be in [insert city name]?” Unless you’ve had your eye on a firm for a while, you’re probably looking for any good employment opportunity, wherever it may reside. But be honest with yourself. Do you really want to live in the office’s location permanently? If not, don’t waste your time interviewing with that firm. Sure, you can make up stories of relatives who’ve relocated there. However, you’ll do yourself and the employer a disservice. And if the actual office where you are interviewing does not practice the law you are interested in, keep looking. Pick firms where you would actually like to live, and then narrow down the firms you would actually like to work for.

“My apologies … I was actually raised in a barn.”

If you’re lucky, you may have the opportunity to interview with potential employers over a meal or call-back interview. Even though these may feel informal, maintain a respectable level of etiquette. Most students think they have good manners already, even if they don’t – because it’s in bad taste to point out bad manners, you’ve probably never been told that you chew with your mouth open or hold a fork incorrectly. Do yourself a favor, read an etiquette book or take a friend to dinner for a critique of your manners.

“You know like cellophane… ”

One of the worst things you can do in a job interview is to leave no impression at all. Many students try to morph into some expected version of the ideal candidate. This is not a good strategy. Try to stand out in some way. Wear a unique accessory, work in an interesting story or discuss a special hobby. Don’t veer into the bizarre, yet communicate something memorable. Simply allow your true self to shine through, keeping in mind that you need to filter it through a professional lens.

“What firm are you with again?”

The surest way to ruin your chances with a firm is to come unprepared. Knowing the firm name, office locations and practice areas are necessary but not sufficient. Do additional research on your interviewers and read any press the firm has recently received. Talk to former summer associates or clerks to get their experiences. Look at LinkedIn, the Martindale-Hubble Law Directory and other online resources to gather some data.

Be sure to reach out to your BARBRI Legal Education Advisor for additional help and advice on how to refine your job interviewing skills.

Summer Bucket List for 2L’s

GUEST BLOG Makenzie Way, 2L at the University of Pennsylvania Law School

We did it! 2L is under our belts, we are officially 1 year away from graduating and entering the legal profession. But before we enter 3L we have ten weeks of summer employment, and a month of vacation.

Now that we’re incoming 3L’s, how should we spend our summers compared to 1L?

  1. Establish at least one mentorship relationship with someone from your firm, or in your target location.
  2. Work on a case, or in an area of law, that really reminds you of why you went to law school in the first place (even if it’s pro bono).
  3. Branch out and visit a law school friend in another city.
  4. Escape the office for a weekend and go to the beach; work on that summer tan!
  5. If you’re located in your target city, explore your soon to-be-home: find a favorite diner, an ideal neighborhood, and a great after-work bar.
  6. Plan some form of post-employment trip, even if it’s just a road trip.
  7. Make at least one solid friendship with an incoming associate at your firm.
  8. If you worked in big law this summer, splurge and buy yourself something you’ve always wanted (though keep in mind you still have one year of school left).
  9. Make at least one friend in your city who isn’t involved in the legal profession.
  10. Set aside an afternoon, or ideally a weekend, to just reconnect with old friends or family and relax.

Without a doubt, 2L has been a whirlwind. Try not to forget all you’ve accomplished this summer. Embrace the opportunities that are thrown your way, and remember, this is our last summer before Bar prep and true career responsibilities take effect. Make the most of it while you can! And don’t forget, when you’re spending hours in the office this summer, it’s your friends and family who will get you through it all, so send them a little love, and find time to see them.

Quotes to get you Through Finals

quotes

GUEST BLOG Makenzie Way, 2L at the University of Pennsylvania Law School

Motivational Quotes

My Littleton fellow in 1L (a type of student teacher and mentor at my school) began our first class by having each of us say one motivational quote. When 1L exams came around our “class mom” printed the quotes and gave one to each of us as motivation to make it through finals. Since 1L I’ve learned that sometimes you really do just need that little extra motivation to get you through.

With that in mind, here are some motivational quotes to get you through finals! Write them on your mirror as a reminder, text them to a friend in law school as a pick me up, or use them as a catchy caption for your finals Instagram posts.

“Don’t let what you cannot do interfere 
with what you can do”
—John Wooden
“There’s a light at the end of every tunnel”
—Ada Adams
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. 
The most certain way to succeed is always 
to try just one more time”
—Thomas A. Edison
“You’ve got to get up every morning with determination 
if you’re going to go to  bed with satisfaction”
—George Lorimer
“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. 
You have exactly the same number of hours per day 
that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, 
Michelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, 
Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein”
—H. Jackson Brown Jr.
“Your positive action combined with 
positive thinking results in success”
—Shiv Khera
“The best way to finish an unpleasant
task is to get started”
—Anonymous
“School is tough, but so are you”
—Anonymous
“Don’t stress, do your best and forget the rest”
—Tony Horton
“You are so close to the victory, don’t you 
dare give up now”
—Anonymous
“If you believe in yourself anything is possible”
—Miley C

Dating in Law School … is it Possible?

GUEST BLOG Makenzie Way, 2L at the University of Pennsylvania Law School

Dating in Law School? Are you Serious?

Law school has a reputation for being the place where love comes to die.

In general, law students are notorious for being strapped for time, overflowing with stress, and unreliable when it comes to social commitments. Obviously, 1L is the worst when it comes to juggling your academic and professional responsibilities with a relationship, and the general ‘proceed with caution’ warning for 1L relationships is pretty spot on; but many law students still question whether a relationship is feasible in 2L or 3L.

As an upperclassman, you have moderately more time, or maybe it’s just less pressure, which lends itself well to dating. At the same time, we’ve all heard familiar warnings: “don’t date someone in your friend group;” “don’t date someone in the law school at all;” or the classic “just don’t date while in law school.” What truth if any rests in these warnings? Better yet, what are the pros and cons of dating as a law student … or dating a law student?

First off I believe there are three important divisions when it comes to law school dating:

  1. beginning a relationship in law school, versus maintaining a pre-existing relationship;
  2. dating a law-student versus a non-law student; and
  3. committed/exclusive dating in law school, versus more casual dating.

When it comes to maintaining a pre-existing relationship in law school I think it really depends on the circumstance of the relationship – i.e. are you long distance, married, long-term, short-term, are they a student, a professional, etc. However, as a general rule of thumb, if your relationship survived 1L it probably stands to reason that law school won’t be what ends the relationship (if it ends).

With that said, after entering law school, most dating concerns regard beginning a relationship in law school. It’s here that I think the second and third division really come into play. So let’s dive in!

Dating a fellow law student has both its advantages and its drawbacks.

Generally speaking, a law student will better understand your life; they know when the busy times are, what the stress is like, and likely share some similar interests. If the individual goes to the same school as you then you have some added “scheduling” benefits – for instance, instead of having to arrange a specific time to go to dinner outside of school hours, you can grab a quick 15 minute lunch together in between classes, chat during your breaks, or study together in the library. Essentially, with a law student at your school, you get more face time without necessarily having to sacrifice your class/study time.

Remember though, that facetime perk can work against you when you’re in a fight, or if things end poorly since it means you’re going to have to see them and, to some extent, interact with them. Likewise, dating someone at your school is bound to attract some level of attention amongst your peers, so if you like your privacy this may not be the route for you. Finally, dating someone at your law school, or a law student generally, may just be too much law school.

By the same token, dating a non-law student has its perks and downfalls as well.

Most obviously, dating outside of the law school lets you separate your personal life from your academic/professional life. You don’t run the same risk of delving into crim con pro, or reminiscing about those 1L civil procedure cases. A non-law student can help ground you, and remind you that there is an outside world. At the same time, a non-law student may not understand the commitment level that law school entails, which may result in them pushing you to give more than you are able. Likewise, you may find it hard to relate to non-law students, since they likely won’t understand your fascination with SCOTUS cases, or nerdy legal subjects.

Law student versus non-law student aside, another sincere debate involves committed versus casual dating.

Obviously, given the strain of law school, casual dating is technically easier. You don’t need to worry so much about being selfish when it comes to prioritizing your school and other time commitments. You still get the benefit of companionship. Though, casual dating, especially within the law school, can result in added stress if you’re not fully prepared to be non-exclusive.

Likewise, casual dating can lead to drama – in the case of internal law school dating, just remember someday your peers will be your professional connections; you likely don’t want to be remembered at alumni events as the classmate who spent fall semester hooking up with Jess from section 2 only to throw a fit at bar review and spend the rest of the week crying and/or arguing in the hallway. Finally, casual relationships can be financially burdensome since they often require you to eat out, take Ubers, and pay for other date related expenses.

Committed dating, on the other hand, can be seen as somewhat more difficult.

You really need to commit to balancing law school and your relationship. Though your partner should understand that law school is a top priority, you also can’t be completely selfish.  After all, you’re a unit. The security of a committed relationship is nice since stability for some law students is hard to come by. Unlike many casual relationships, in a healthy and stable relationship, you’ll benefit from having someone to rely on emotionally and beyond. That emotional support can be paramount in keeping your mental health at a good level throughout law school.

On the other hand, committed relationships take time and energy that you may not have to give. Jealousy can be a real factor, especially if your relationship is long-distance. And while you shouldn’t plan for a break-up, it’s probably good to note that a committed relationship ending generally hits harder than a casual relationship ending. Finally, entering into a committed relationship in law school may result in you having to rethink your post-graduation plans, since your partner may not want, or be able to go to your desired city/country.

That’s all a longwinded way of saying, dating in law school is certainly possible … it just may not be for you, or what you’re used to. However, if I could offer some limited advice on dating in law school it would be the following:

  1. Be reasonable, know yourself and what you can and can’t handle. Don’t compromise that just because of the law school culture and norms.
  2. Know what you want and seek clarity from others. If you want to be casual then make that clear so you don’t end up saddled with unnecessary drama. If you want commitment, but don’t have it yet, ask. Don’t stress yourself out and inadvertently relocate time and energy that should be devoted to your studies.
  3. Try to keep your dating life and academic life separate, especially if you date within the law school – not to say you don’t bring your person around, just have some level of division. For instance, don’t register for a class just because your current fling or partner is taking it if you’re not otherwise interested in the topic; don’t pick your post-graduation job or city based on someone unless the relationship is sufficiently serious to warrant it; and don’t let your relationship drama becomes the talk of the town within the walls of your school.