Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Make Friends in Law School

By Diane, 1E

For all the extroverts and social butterflies who are afraid they will lose themselves in books once they hit law school—fear not. One thing you will hear over and over again during orientation and alumni panels is this: Students make lifetime friends in law school. 

 That’s right. You thought law school was all about cutthroat competition and ousting classmates in order to slide into a coveted “top 10%” position, right? While I won’t speak for every law school student, my experience so far hasn’t been like that at all. Do we all want to graduate? I’m sure the vast majority of us do. Do we want to graduate with lackluster grades? Probably not. But do we want to succeed at a classmate’s detriment? Nope. If anything, the competition experienced in law school pushes one to excel—not with the intention to watch others flail helplessly behind, but to keep up and be in good company. It’s what I like to call, “healthy competition.” It’s precisely this healthy competition that helps friendships in law school flourish.

Professors and alumni will tell you that success and friendships go hand-in-hand in law school. If you want to have an edge, form a study group. Compare notes, briefs, and outlines. If you’re absent one day, your classmates will help to fill you in on what you missed. Classmates will have different takes on practice exam questions; listen closely and see how your analyses compare. There’s a lot to be learned from other law students. This teamwork naturally leads to the formation of friendships and also prepares you for your future legal career. The law, after all, is a field that generally requires a significant amount of human interaction—whether it’s at a law firm, in a courtroom, or with clients. 
Study group friends having dinner
in Downtown LA after class.

So, don’t go to law school with the intention to “win” rather than make friends. As you will learn during orientation, your legal reputation begins as soon as your first class commences (sometimes even before that). Take the time to get to know the people you may very well be working with after you pass the bar. If you’re more of an introvert, consider this an excellent opportunity to open up and meet like-minded people. If you’re an outgoing person who flourishes in social settings, law school won’t hinder your ability to network and have fun. Just make sure you maintain a healthy balance of work and play. A study group is a perfect example of that balancing act. While we do manage to get a lot of productive learning behind our belts during our group study sessions, we can’t pretend study groups have no social benefits whatsoever. Besides, group learning (and perhaps “group commiseration”) is better than braving the courses alone. As an added benefit, if you’re tired of studying at the library, nearby Downtown Los Angeles provides the perfect stomping grounds for you and your friends to explore. 

And, really, why wouldn't you want to get to know your study group friends? They come from all walks of life - they all have interesting stories and unique reasons for going to law school. So, enjoy these fleeting years in law school and walk away with friends whom you'll be in touch with for life. One day, you might be the alumni sitting at an LLS panel, gushing about all the wonderful friendships you fostered in law school.


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