When I started law school I was given a lot of advice about what to expect. There were some particular phrases that were told to me over and over again…I am sure we have all heard them, for example ““A” students make great law professors, “B” students make great judges, “C” students make great money” or “The best grades will be made by the most quiet students”, but the one I heard the most and have taken most to heart was that “ in your first year you will be scared to death, in the second year you will be worked to death, and in the third year you will be bored to death”. Now I won’t disagree that the first year was pretty scary (well really the first semester), and that the second year was an enormous amount of work, but I would have to say that this phrase needs updating when it comes to the description of the third year. I cannot think of a single example of a law student, who is serious about their career after law school that is bored in their third year…not in this day and age. Perhaps there was a time when the third year was spent wasting time in anticipation of the bar exam and the awaiting job at the firm, but that is not the reality for law students today (or at least the vast majority of us).
If I use myself as an example, the third year of law school is filled with attending every organization meeting, court appearance, interview, internship, externship, and lunch meeting that you can fit into your schedule when you are not in class, and then somehow make time to develop your brand and skillset to highlight your strengths in your new legal career. Is this a bad thing? I don’t think so; I think this is a good “strengthening exercise” for future lawyers to gear themselves up for the looming legal market that is waiting for us upon graduation. I think of it as being similar to when a relay racer is about to receive the baton for their leg of the race…they don’t stand there and wait for the baton to be handed to them before running…no, they take off running in anticipation of the race, that way they are up to speed for the time when it matters. That to me is what the third year is really about…getting yourself moving after 2 years of law school, moving as fast as you can toward your career.
So I am proposing we change our description of law school to be “in your first year you will be scared to death, in the second year you will be worked to death, and in the third year you will be RAN to death”