Top 10 Breakdowns of 3L

[ Makenzie Way, 3L at the University of Pennsylvania ]

In 1L, our universities, professors, and mentors took us by the hand and gently led us through what it meant to be a law student. In 2L they pushed us out of the nest and told us to fly – and we tried! Now as 3L’s we’re all on our own, and that’s fine … or is it?

For the most part, 3L is relaxed. Job stress and grade stress are pretty much behind us and we’re simply coasting towards the finish line.  Compared to our 1L counterparts, we’re confident, some might even say cocky, about our ability to succeed in law school. Yet, we’re also majorly confused about what being a 3L means; we don’t know how to navigate these new waters and we wish there was more help available!

The relative uncertainty of our 3L responsibilities, combined with our post-law school reality leads to some pretty unique breakdowns, including:

(1) When spring semester rolls around and you finally realize you don’t have enough pro bono hours to graduate or apply for the New York bar!

(2) Being spammed with an overwhelming amount of bar course advertisements, yet still freaking out about making the right choice to ensure your success.

(3) Finally accepting that you need to finish your required senior writing requirement and/or journal comment because you procrastinated in 2L.

Navigating the Board of Law Examiners Pennsylvania

(4) Navigating the bar exam registration and all its complexity without any assistance from your university or employer, and feeling utterly lost and confused throughout.

(5) Seeing the price tag associated with bar registration and silently thanking your firm for reimbursing you while simultaneously cursing them for not reimbursing you immediately!

(6) Having a serious internal debate about where to study for the bar exam, including a cost-benefit analysis of paying rent versus living rent-free at home.

(7) Being hit with the realization that student loan payments begin before we begin receiving regular paychecks – yikes!

(8) Searching for information relating to when exactly you’re supposed to begin studying for the bar exam and ending up frustrated at the lack of concrete information/advice.

(9) Desperately trying to find suitable, yet affordable accommodations for your family for commencement weekend because your apartment simply is not big enough.

(10) Realizing you should have made graduation reservations waaaay in advance.

And finally, as a “bonus”, there’s a high likelihood that during many, or all, of these breakdown scenarios you’re also faced with the general feeling that everyone else is much better at navigating all of these 3L scenarios (when in reality, they’re just as lost as you are).