Hey, wasn’t that an awesome holiday? I sure thought so, as I sat around my house reviewing case law for surprise hearings! Anyhow, it got me thinking that there’s a whole crop of 1L’s who just had their first week of classes. They marched into their schools and sat through those first lectures that are like “Socratic Abuse for Beginners” where the professors give you a taste then talk about the high-minded ideals of the practice of law and tips for law school success. The 1L’s probably left feeling good about themselves and their decision to go to law school.
Well, we can’t fucking have that, now can we? So today, the old embittered veteran is coming in to smack some sense into the little law school neophytes with my first in a series of mocking everything they hold dear and some tips for the parts of law school the orientation leaves the fuck out. Yep, today it’s “Boozy’s Advice for the Doomed: 1L Edition!”
IT’S A JOB, TREAT IT LIKE ONE
You may be one of those poor assholes who decided law school was a way to stave off adulthood for another three years. As undergrad drew to a close, you put down the popped collar, stopped dabbing like a goddamn moron, came to realize that your fraternity or sorority membership would mean jack shit after you walked across the stage, and accepted the fact that a degree in “Basic Geology: Banging Rocks Together For Fun and Profit” wasn’t going to get you anywhere in life. As the world was short on professional Beer Pong “Best Brah” players, the real world was an imposing place. So, naturally, you decided to go to law school because why the hell not, right?
First, you’re a fucking moron. Law school isn’t an extension of undergrad, it’s more like the cliqueishness of high school mixed with the terrifying sociopathy of a Silence of the Lambs movie. It isn’t play time, boys and girls, and the weak sure as fuck get eaten there. You’ll get eaten too, motherfucker, because you think the skills of “skip class, do nothing, and pass by cramming” which allowed you to coast through being a stupid piece of shit in undergrad are going to save your ass here, too. You’re fucking wrong, man, so fucking wrong. Law school is an entirely different creature.
From the moment you enter the doors of your school until the moment you leave, you need to remember that the program you’re enrolled in is preparing you for the theoretical practice of law, assuming you’re at a real law school and not one of those touchy-feely institutions that talks about how the law makes you feel. This is a degree and a program that certifies you as being fit to sit for the exam needed to enter into one of the world’s oldest goddamn professions, and the course work certainly goddamn reflects it. There’s no fucking midterm or “extra credit” work to bring up your grades when you spent one too many nights crushing it with the boys, Sir Douchebro, Esq. You need to treat law school like a goddamn job. The readings aren’t “suggestions,” they’re assignments that you need to perform with exacting detail, and research the fuck out of your questions, on a daily goddamn basis because if you don’t? Your ass will get fired.
It happened to people I went to school with, it sure as fuck can happen to you.
DO THE FUCKING READING
In undergrad you ran your ass to the store and bought a Cliffs Notes or stole your buddy’s class notes so you could spend half the goddamn night cramming in a dorm room with…I dunno, Dave Matthew’s Band (do people still listen to that?)…playing in the background as you taught yourself all the important aspects of the course. That shit ain’t gonna fly in law school. Daily there’s a chance that the professor will stick your ass on call, and you need to understand that means you’ll be asked to recite fucking everything about the case in detail, out loud, to a room full of your peers, specifically so you can look like the dumbest asshole on the planet. Law professors long ago discovered the most effective teaching tool was group ridicule of your dumb ass, and they use it like a scalpel to expose all of the laziness you may have.
Read the fuck out of the assigned cases, and I don’t give a shit how long it takes you. If you ever plan on practicing law, get used to spending long nights reading shit you don’t want to read to be prepared for something the next day, that’s like half the goddamn job. Think about this shit critically and try to see the counterarguments. Pose theoretical counterarguments to yourself, preferably out loud while sitting in your underwear in the living room of your apartment thinking about better days. Don’t worry about the roommate, they’ll be just as fucked up as you are on the law because you wouldn’t do anything as stupid as room with a non-law student, right? Right.
You’re still gonna look like a fucking moron, but at least you’ll look like a prepared moron.
UNDERSTAND LAW SCHOOL IS THE KILLER OF RELATIONSHIPS
I can count on one fucking hand the number of people who went into my law school class in a happy relationship and came out of my law school class in a happy relationship. In my section alone there were three divorces, two separations, and god only knows how many breakups. Law school is better at ruining relationships than getting Truth Drunk on Free Tequila Night at the local strip club/bordello. If your partner has no clue what the fuck your classes entail, they’ll never understand how much work it is. Even if they do, they will never understand the purely poisonous atmosphere that ferments in a law school section. Just accept the fact that you either need to be a ruthless son of a bitch to be the top of the class, or you need a very fucking supportive spouse/partner/whatever.
Sidenote to all the spouses/partners/etc.: Don’t break up with or serve divorce papers on someone for the two month period leading up to finals. You’re in this until then. Don’t fuck their shit up until school is on break…and that doesn’t fucking mean the holiday breaks.
DON’T SHIT WHERE YOU SLEEP
Related to the above: don’t fuck your classmates.
Man, just don’t fucking do it.
It’s easy to let this shit happen, because for the next 12 months, and possibly the next three years, you’re going to spend an obscene fucking amount of time around these folks. Like, you may go a whole goddamn week only seeing the faces of the people in your study group and no other person. It’s natural for that shit to happen, just ask submariners (101 people go down, 50 couples and one really frustrated motherfucker come up). Don’t give into the temptation, this is nothing more than a case of your genitals and judgment having Stockholm Syndrome.
That said, I know folks who found their spouses in law school, so that’s cool too…but spend time together unrelated to the school and do normal couple shit to make sure you aren’t just grasping for a sexy lifesaver in a sea of despair. General rule of thumb: if it’s not someone you’d want to wake up next to absent law school, it’s not someone you want to screw around with during law school.
REMEMBER, YOU AIN’T SHIT.
If you’re a law student, you aren’t a fucking lawyer. You don’t become a lawyer until you finish the three years of hell and come out the other side, then pass a bar exam. Until then, you’re literally fucking nothing more than a person with the bare minimum of legal training. This means you have no special rights, no special privileges, and no fucking regard. I don’t give a shit what your opinion is, and neither does any other attorney out there. You are literally scum to us. The Muggles may think you have valid and learned opinions, but the rest of us know what you are: a puffed up piece of work who thinks being able to cite fucking Palsgraf makes you fucking special or something.
Here’s the other half of that: we were the exact same way, so we get it. Remember, when a lawyer gently puts you in your place, don’t get offended. We’re reminding you that you’re only in the process of paying some of the dues while we’ve paid our goddamn dues in full (except for our annual CLE fees…shit, I should get on that). So don’t argue with us or try to engage us in a debate, because we’ll dismiss you out of hand, then mentally mark you up as the asshole who wouldn’t get the gist of what we were saying.
And you need to remember, we’re the assholes that’ll be hiring you, because your chances of practicing “International Endangered Space Animal Law,” or whatever bullshit specialization schools are promoting these days, are essentially fucking nil. It isn’t a real thing, and even if it was you’ll never be good enough to do it. You need the recommendations and good will of guys like me to land fucking jobs.
Good luck, assholes.
You’ve made a horrible decision.