Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Law, A Vicious Culture?

Prior to my acceptance into law school, my undergraduate education exposed me to many theories as to how the law school experience would affect the students during the three years required to complete a law program. In fact, many professors, who held Juris Doctor degrees advised the students to avoid law school as if it was the plague. Yet, none of the “myths” of law school that I heard paled in comparison to the “myths” that I heard during the law program’s orientation week upon being accepted. The orientation staff informed my fellow students and I of the fate that awaited us, that is primarily, the lack of a social life. While that could certainty be the case for some students, who choose to take on a heavy course load with numerous extracurriculars (including employment), I found the opposite to be true.

While I have certainly found myself missing the occasional meal, missing weightlifting sessions which are vital to managing my stress level, lacking sleep, and missing networking opportunities, these occurrences were rare and certainly did not inhibit a healthy work-life balance. My law school friends, and I would take an average one to two hours out of our day, after classes, to walk around the neighborhood surrounding the law school and simply talk. No subject was off-limits. A small routine but one that meant the world to us and our mental health. Our chats allowed us to clear our minds of the stresses of the dreaded first year courses even if we discussed the contents of those classes. Being able to speak freely was a value we came to appreciate and even though our chats would sometimes take up to four hours of our day, we did not regret the time we spent together, in fact it became a vital component of our success. 

Law schools, like many other institutions as of the late, are becoming more conscious of the need to maintain a healthy work-life balance among its members. In the field of law, this balance is important as it has the ability to impair or enhance our ability to represent our clients. The ethical rules maintain that we must remain a zealous advocate for our clients, but we must also consider ourselves, our mental health, and our needs as human beings. Personally, I would say that managing a healthy work-life balance is an unspoken tool acquired in law school.

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