What I Learned in Law School Is...
The most common question I get is are you enjoying law school? I usually respond with a little chuckle and ask “do you honestly think it’s enjoyable?” I mean really!? Law school is like that meme of the little dog trying to hold it together as he sits consumed in flames, while everything around him is crumbling to pieces.
Okay, maybe that was a little dramatic! It’s hard, literally the HARDEST thing I’ve ever done, but I know nothing worth having comes easy.
In orientation, they drilled us in on the notion that “law school is a jealous mistress!” During every presentation, we were continuously greeted by this statement. At that moment, I hadn’t quite grasped the full capacity of what that statement meant, and how it would apply to my new life.
Before I go down that tunnel, let me backtrack for a moment. Another common question I hear is “what are the steps to getting into law school?” This is a question I really enjoy because I feel as though I am empowering someone who is just like me, a wandering senior in undergrad, trying to find my way. Yes, I said senior. It wasn’t until my senior year of undergrad that I started figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. So if you don’t know yet, relax, you will be okay, it’s all going to work out. I spent four long years trying out different things, only to get a BA in psychology, which I probably won’t ever really use. I was frustrated, fed-up, and out of prayers when God slowly began to reveal his purpose for my life.
It was November when I started putting the pieces together, I was graduating in May, and I had no clue of how to begin the process of getting into law school. I had no attorney friends or family, so I had to figure it out, essentially on my own. I registered for the February LSAT, keep in mind most applications are due by early March, so I was PUSHING it! Most people take the LSAT at least twice to get a decent score, but I didn’t have that kind of time, so for me this was all or nothing. December arrived swiftly, and I still hadn’t begun to prepare for the LSAT. Many people opt to take LSAT prep courses, but they range from $500-$1000, and I didn’t have the time nor money for that! So I got on Amazon, ordered a Kaplan test prep book and went to werrkk. The book suggested a three-month study plan, but I managed to do what I could between classes, work, and balancing three student organizations in those two months before the test.
The LSAT was gruesome. Full of logic games from your 10th grade algebra class but of course more nuanced. But I got over that hump. My score was decent. Not what I wanted, but it was my only shot.
I knew that I wanted to attend an HBCU for law school since I had missed out on that experience during undergrad. I had also heard about the rigor of law school, and knew that I would need a strong support system to get through, and who better to love on you than your own people?
Several months rolled by, and I heard nothing. As graduation grew closer, I began to hear every graduating senior’s most dreaded question: “What’s next?” The wait was the worst. It was May and I had not applied to any jobs, nor grad school, this was literally my only chance.
I was checking the admissions site almost every hour of every day. The anxiety clouded my mind, and it started to affect everything! I couldn’t even fully enjoy my own best friend’s graduation ceremony (which was a day before mine), without contemplating what I would have to resort to if I did not get accepted. During her ceremony, I snuck off to the bathroom to give the admissions office a call to see if they had any news for me. I had spoken to this admissions counselor probably fifty times that week, so I was just praying she had something good to say this time. After holding for what seemed like a century, she came back to the phone and said “Ms. Brown, congratulations, welcome to North Carolina Central University School of Law.” I screamed. Right there in the bathroom stall, I freaked out!
Fast forward two years, I am now a second-year law student, and I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world! NCCU Law is known for producing practice ready attorneys, and I can truly say, despite the heartache, I know that this is where I am supposed to be.
So if I could give any advice to anyone interested in pursuing law I would say “Jump!” Jump out of your comfort zone, and take a leap of faith. Be ready to work. Learn how to effectively manage time because you will be engaging in academic related activity anywhere from eight to twelve hours a day. As expected, law school involves a lot of reading, and a lot of research, but don’t let that discourage you.
Don’t know what kind of law you’re interested in yet? That’s okay, a common misconception of law school is that you must concentrate in a certain type. Although it is nice to know what sector of law you want to practice for the purpose of finding relatable internships, law school prepares you for all types of law. From contracts law, to property, to the thrill of criminal law, you have to learn it all, so you can figure it out along the way.
If you want it, go get it! There really is no excuse for anyone who wants to go to law school. It may take some extra time to get the job done, but you can do it!
Aviance Brown is a second-year law student at North Carolina Central University School of Law. She is a 2015 graduate from UNC-Charlotte where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. Aviance currently interns at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, where she engages in social justice, community based lawyering.
Aviance will be launching AvianceSpeaks in February, which will be a blog dedicated to discussing several of her passions from Law to Christ. If you were inspired by this post, take a peak at her blog in the nearby future for similar topics and other inspirational posts.