I remember the lead up to law school like it was yesterday. There was so much excitement. My family and friends were all proud of me – they wanted to share in the excitement by giving me gifts of hardbound editions of To Kill a Mockingbird and watching reruns of Law and Order to ask me if Jack McCoy was doing it like real lawyers did (like I knew, and no…).
It involved a lot of hard work. It took a lot of late nights. It caused me endless worry of “am I doing this right” and “am I really cut out for this responsibility”?
Just like breastfeeding.
Except there was one difference – no one tried to talk me out of law school.
No one ever said, “ed is best” and then tried to talk me into enrolling in some other type of degree-granting program they attended. No one ever told me that law school is just too hard and therefore I should not try. No one ever told me that I only needed to go to law school for 3 months or 6 months or some other magic number in order to get all that I needed from the program.
No one ever suggested I take my law books to study in the bathroom because it was “unnatural” (even though everything about law school is pretty unnatural). No one ever told me not to tell their kids I was in law school because they thought it would be “harmful” to them. No one ever told me that I should quit law school so I would sleep better because going three years with irregular sleep was just too great a risk to my health.
No one ever told me that once I got my first law school clerkship I would have to quit or reduce my course load because working and going to law school at the same time was “impossible.” No one ever told me I was “selfish” for finishing law school. No one ever told me if I had to read a case again right after I read it for the first time that I might not be able to learn enough to finish law school.
No one ever told me I was “hogging” all of the law knowledge to myself and that I should share it with friends, family, and even strangers at the grocery store. (If anything, people regularly wanted me to share less about the law.) No one ever told me that I should quit law school because people needed to learn to represent themselves and that by representing others in court, I would make them overly dependent on me and ruin their lives. No one ever told me to toughen up my typing fingers before starting law school by rubbing them repeatedly with sandpaper until they bled.
No one ever accused me of studying for “attention” because I was “one of those bandwagon law students.”
No one ever told me that after one year of studying U.S. law, I ought to switch to studying Argentinian law because that is what everybody does. No one ever told me that reading law books before bed would create a bad sleep association and I would need to break that habit immediately or I would have a sleep disorder for the rest of my life.
No one ever told me to put a blanket over my head while studying “to be decent.”
No one ever told me that I ought to quit because the late nights could cause me to have an accident on road and die, or worse, kill someone else. No one ever told me that they thought law students should not openly encourage others who were interested to go to law school because it might make people nearby who could not or chose not to go to law school feel bad. And no one ever told me that they quit law school because the pressure from their relatives to quit was too unbearable.
Law school was exactly as advertised, tough, but worth it. Not everyone wants to do it, not everyone can do it, and we should support, not discourage, all who want to try to accomplish that goal.
Just like breastfeeding.