Monday, December 21, 2020

Debunking a Law School Myth

Coming into law school, I had many ideas of what it would be like. (Most of them, I’ll admit, stem from the movie Legally Blonde.) Today, I am here to share two law school myths that have proven not to be true.

First, I assumed that the professors would be strict and unforgiving. (I attribute this entirely to the scene where Elle Woods is kicked out of her class for being unprepared. And while Hollywood movies have proven time and time again not to be an entirely accurate portrayal of reality, I was fully prepared for my professors to be exactly like this. Because better safe than sorry.) Therefore, I believed that you had to go into class knowing everything, and that questions directed at you would feel more like an interrogation.

I have been very relieved to learn that this is not the case. In the courses I have taken, the professors have been encouraging and supportive. While you are prompted to delve deeper than your initial response at times, not being 100 percent certain on your answer is totally fine. Moreover, it’s okay to get things wrong, to not know all of the answers, and seeking guidance is encouraged.

One such experience came two weeks into the semester, when one of my professors sent an email to the entire class. He wrote that he had noticed that many of us were not yet participating during lessons. He wanted to be certain that everyone understood the material, and emphasized that if we weren’t comfortable asking or answering questions during class, we could schedule a private session to ask him any questions.

This second misconception might be more relevant to international students, but, coming from a civil law system myself, I believed that I would have an extremely difficult time at LMU Loyola Law School. I would, essentially, be starting from scratch in an entirely new legal system.

However, as anyone interested in the LLM program might know, all international students are required to take the courses American Legal Research & Writing and Introduction to American Law. These two classes are pretty much crash courses to the American legal system. They have helped me feel prepared, and the professors understand that as international students, many of us are being introduced to an entirely new system. (Granted, I haven’t taken the end of semester exam/submitted the final papers yet, so here’s hoping I don’t end up with terrible grades.)

While I don’t expect my remaining months at Loyola to be a breeze (just because this is, well, law school), I’m very happy that the professors encourage asking for help inside and outside of class, and that LMU Loyola Law School has made the transition for international students as easy as possible. (Perhaps I’ll be able to write in my final blog post that law school being challenging is also a myth, but I’m not holding my breath on that one.)

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