Ultra Vires


Dr. 3L: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Law School

Law students like to joke about how little work 3Ls do and how fun their lives are. Well, I have three things to say to that: (1) 3L can be really fun, but you have to earn it; (2) the best way to have fun is to plan ahead and work really hard… just not at anything “academic” (see: irrelevant to real life); and (3) the ideal 3L lifestyle is no joke – it’s everything life can be if you play your cards right.

“How do I do that,” you ask? You recognize the following 3L TRUTHS:

1. Working hard does not necessarily result in good grades

If most of your grades are Bs and B+s when you work hard, most of your grades will be the same if you stop working hard. Or if you stop doing any work at all. You can maintain decent marks by doing the bare minimum – and the bare minimum does not include going to class (unless there is a participation grade). I had my most academically successful semester of law school in the fall and I did far less work than I had in any previous semesters. If you haven’t gotten an A yet, you probably won’t. So fuck it – put your efforts elsewhere.

2. Getting good grades does not necessarily result in becoming a good lawyer

Your A in Advanced Civil Procedure is probably still posted on your parent’s fridge, but it won’t impress any of your clients. Part of being a successful lawyer is being good at dealing with people, no matter what your practice area. You know who clients and colleagues like dealing with? Interesting and happy people. You know what makes a person interesting and happy? Not how in depth their notes from Corporate Tax are.

So use all of that time you would have spent slowly typing out something you could quickly copy and paste from a previous student’s summary to do something – anything! – else. Learn to cook new recipes. Go for a hike somewhere interesting outside of the city. Buy a ridiculous Groupon. Host dinner parties and make lasting memories. Because then you’ll have something called a “personality”! Because writing a 5000 word paper won’t get you the same respect as completing a 5000 pound bench press. Because everyone will think your articles in UV are totally super ninja badass.

Plan each and every day so that you never stop working on something. Just make sure you spend next to zero time working on school.

3. You should probably say goodbye to your friends, family and everything you love

Oh, by the way, your life is going to get awfully crowded very soon. This may be the last time in your life – IN YOUR LIFE – that you can do some of the things that you really want to do. Like take not-so-infrequent weekend trips to cool American cities. Or telling your children you love them. Once you start articling you can basically work as hard and as often as you like for the rest of your life. You can’t spend eight months learning muay thai or writing short stories. Take advantage of it!

I would like to end on a quote from one of my lifelong idols, Kelly Clarkson: “Some people wait a lifetime, / For a moment like this / Some people search forever, / For that one special kiss / Oh, I can’t believe it’s happening to me / Some people wait a lifetime, / For a moment like this.”

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