Ten ways 2L Differs from 1L

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

Nothing can get worse than 1L right?

I’m not so sure, because 2L differs from 1L. While 2L certainly has its benefits, and I’m apt to say it is marginally better, I also feel more pressed for time – which I didn’t think was physically possible. Maybe it’s not that 1L is worse, or 2L is better, but that they are simply different, and as such, have different impacts.

So here it is … my short list of how 2L differs from 1L:

1. Unlike 1L, where there are countless blogs, books, and student opinions available, hardly anyone talks (or writes) about 2L… meaning you’re on your own in terms of preparing yourself.

2. Re-enter the social life. In 1L you’re expected to live in the library so you really only need to juggle class time/assignments with studying. Conversely, in 2L you’re supposed to branch out, attend events, network, etc., while still maintaining your grades and classroom presence.

3. Case briefing? Unless you’re in all doctrinal classes, you’ve probably forgotten what case briefing is, or at least don’t need to case brief for every single class as you did in 1L.

4. Course selection, aka the holy grail of not being a 1L. Gone are the days of forced enrollment in classes that may, or may not interest you.

5. The whole ‘clerkship’ thing. You may have talked about clerking as a 1L, especially during your summer job hunt, but 2L is the time when you actually have to apply for, and decide whether you want to pursue a post-graduation clerkship. No pressure though!

2L differs from 1L

6. A marginally better diet(maybe). In 1L you almost forced into attending a large variety of Lexis and/or research training lunches, as well as other school mandated events where the food of choice is generally pizza. In 2L you no longer need to attend those events so you can avoid pizza if you want to. Plus, in my experience, most 2L targeted events have a healthy food selection.

7. Journals …we love them for the resume boost, but man are they a lot of work. I think every 2L on a journal has at one point during an edit questioned: “why did I think being on a journal was a good idea?”

8. Navigating classes with new people, a struggle not encountered by the average 1L since the section structuring ensures you’ll have class with the same people for the entire year. While meeting new people is great, there’s also something comforting about getting cold called in front of people you already know which is gone in 2L.

9. You may have been a 1L rep of a student organization, but as a 2L you’re probably now the treasurer or hold some other board member position that grants you more involvement and influence, but requires more accountability, time, and effort.

10. And while I could go on, the most notable difference about 2L is that you enter with a sense of security because you survived 1L– whether that sense of security is realistic or not, we’ll have to wait and see!

Do you have more to add to the list of why 2L differs from 1L? Share them with me on Instagram or Twitter: @The2Llife