Twelve things family and friends need to know about law school


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

Everyone knows law school is stressful.

But for a law student, it can be difficult to describe how the strains of law school impact your ability to connect with their non-law school friends and family. Often times we suppress our frustrations because we don’t want to insult or be rude to the people we care about. Try as we might, every law student has caught themselves wishing that their non-law school companions understood certain facets of the law student life. To that end, I’ve compiled twelve of the most common things my peers wish their friends knew about their law school life.

  1. Sleep is hard to come by so it’s not unusual for us to prioritize sleep over going out.
  2. It’s not abnormal to have an offer (or a job) after your first or second year.
  3. Exam prep does not last a few mere hours, it requires literal days of hard work.
  4. Just because we don’t have an assignment due doesn’t mean we don’t have a lot of work. In fact, readings can be worse than assignments.
  5. On the topic of readings, it can take multiple hours to complete a reading for one class because of the complexity of the subject matter. So we’re not lying when we say our entire Saturday is being spent prepping for class.
  6. Non-class time is not necessarily free time. We have pro bono requirements, board meetings, journal meetings, assignments, etc.
  7. When we visit home we do want to see you, but it may not be feasible since we often have important school work, assignments, and other tasks to complete. Likewise, because law school often requires a sacrifice in the sleep department, sometimes our bodies are telling us to use our break to rest and recharge.
  8. Being a law student doesn’t mean we have the time, or the experience, to solve all of your legal problems.
  9. If we forgot to respond to your text message it’s not intentional. Often we get your messages when we’re in class, and though we mean to respond, the hectic nature of law school sometimes causes us to forget that we didn’t actually press send!
  10. Law school is expensive! Sometimes we can’t financially afford to attend all the events or dinners that you invite us to, so please don’t read anything into our rejection.
  11. In the majority of our courses grades are based on one final exam or assignment, and to make matters worse, we’re graded on a curve – meaning someone has to get a B- while someone else has to get an A. Furthermore, getting good grades is crucial for obtaining decent clerkships and post-graduation jobs.
  12. And finally, the law school workload is not at all comparable to the workload of undergrad, or even the average MBA. In our opinion, the law school workload and expected standard of achievement is much, much higher!

For my fellow law students, what things do you wish your non-law school friends knew about law school life? Likewise, for those non-law school readers out there, are there any questions you have pertaining to the day-to-day life of the law student in your life? Send me your questions and ideas on Instagram or Twitter: @The2Llife!

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