After my 1L Year, I guest-blogged on another fantastic site, the Legal History Blog. I prepared a top ten list for students with graduate training in history making the transition to law school. Now that I’m nearing my last semester, I thought it would be enjoyable to add three nuggets of wisdom I have gathered about being a law student and a soon-to-be lawyer.
Foremost, I am beginning to feel more like a lawyer than a law student. What does this mean? I will post my reflections in three parts.
The Village Lawyer, c. 1621, by Pieter Brueghel the Younger
- “Thinking like a lawyer” isn’t just about analytical skills.
Going in, I knew law school would emphasize a new way of thinking and analyzing problems. I would learn how to "think like a lawyer." Well, this much is definitely true. But I also think a good law school experience will help budding lawyers accept the heightened responsibility that comes with that skillset.
Experiences in my first two and half years of law school have helped me realize how important it is for lawyers to feel a sense of duty to others. Lawyers, put simply, have a certain wherewithal that lay people do not. During my past two summers, writing research memos for cases related to national security or the financial crisis, I realized how much could ride on a lawyer’s work. Likewise, when I field legal questions from friends and family, I see the personal responsibility that will come with becoming a lawyer.
What might seem oversentimental to cynical or jaded practitioners appears essential and basic to an enthusiastic law student. It helps, I think, for students just out of law school to start their careers with that sense of purpose. It will keep members of the bar from forgetting just how much rides on what they do and the advice they give.