Rejoice, 3Ls! Exams are coming to a close and it is time to pop the champagne! You survived law school!
It may not have been all great, but you made some memories that will last a lifetime. In reminiscing with some of my classmates, we came up with some of our favourites from the past three years in the hopes that it will encourage those considering our path.
One of the best parts about law school is the many opportunities for students. From conferences to seminars to speeches, law school is packed with things to do no matter what your interests. Your law school may also cover the cost and expenses of travel and food to attend a conference or see a speaker out of town. This allows you to meet professionals in a specific field and build a network of contacts nationally and internationally without adding extra debt. Over the course of three years, I had the opportunity to meet with judges from the Supreme Court of Canada, academics and students from across Canada and lawyers from what seemed like every corner of the law. I found that if a particular legal interest was expressed, professors would ensure that I was aware of every opportunity pertaining to that interest and sometimes even help facilitate an event.
Some students identified how much they had grown, professionally, over the three years. Through various rounds of interviews and a couple summers of employment, many found they had developed and strengthened the skills required for a professional environment. They felt polished in their interviews, knew how to write a succinct cover letter and, most importantly, felt confident networking with a room of lawyers and other legal professionals. My classmates discussed how, in 1L, they would have had no idea how to approach a lawyer, but now, they have few apprehensions.
Students also discussed the lengths they went to in order to land a job and, while seemingly excessive, proved to be very worthwhile when they were hired. One student said, “I had no idea what it meant to prepare for interviews until I was in law school. The research, the preparation and the mock interviews took forever, but in the end they really paid off. I do not think I would have done that without career services prompting me. I would not have done it without law school.”
The late nights
One classmate expressed how much she enjoyed the late nights spent with her friends studying in the library. Perhaps the most interesting of memories, she said, was that, “at a certain point, a level of delusion would hit and we would all be laughing hysterically. Sure, we were not studying, but we were together, surviving law school, together.”
I can recall having a number of late nights preparing for a moot competition and, while it is not my favourite memory, it did forge particular bonds with my teammates.
“In law school, you learn that professors are people and they are actually pretty cool,” said one classmate.
My classmate’s statement was met with resounding agreement. Throughout a four-year undergraduate degree, it is fairly common for students to have little to no interaction with their professors outside of class. This is not the case in law school. Often, students are encouraged to meet with professors outside of class and may even end up working for them. For the most part, professors have an interest in the success of their students and they are not afraid to help out along the way.
Last but not least, my classmates could not deny the friendships they built over the past three years. I know I could not have endured law school alone. My classmates each discussed how their friends helped them, from providing study notes to being there for study breaks. One student discussed how crucial her friends were during the job recruitment period. “My friends looked over my application, did countless mock interviews with me, helped me pick out my suit for the interview and checked in throughout the day. Their support meant the world to me.”
Another classmate mentioned that he loved celebrating after midterms or exams. “Studying for exams was brutal, but when we were finished, the crew would commiserate, vent and blow off steam. We all made it through another round, and there is no better feeling.”
What is clear: The friendships established in law school are forever.
Law school was one of if not the most challenging endeavours, but it was not without rewards. I cannot believe that my three years are done. It feels like I was starting this journey just yesterday: I can recall the first-day jitters, the intrigue and the excitement. Now, I’m faced with the mysteries of articling and I can’t help but feel prepared. What’s better: I know I will not face this next chapter alone.