Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Taking Action, Law School Tutorial Part III

Welcome to Installment III of Law School Tutorial.

Action.

In this stage, you take concrete actions to fulfill your (perhaps newfound) dream of going to law school.

(a) Taking the LSAT. First, you have to take the LSAT. You may, for instance and for a pretty penny, enroll in an LSAT test preparation class. If you can't afford this course that helps you improve your score on a test that supposedly measures innate ability, you should at least buy a study book or two and and take practice exams.

Remember to hurry on these problems, for the LSAT is timed! See, the LSAT doesn't test mere reasoning ability, it tests your ability to reason in an unreasonable amount of time! The test-makers don't want you to know that many college grads could score highly on the LSAT when given enough time to really think about the problems. After all, it's best for for the public and the legal profession to have future lawyers who can answer questions quickly without adequately thinking things through.

If you don't do well on these problems, don't worry, they don't have anything to do with the classes you will take in law school. You probably just won't get into law school. (Lucky you.) If you do well on these problems, don't get too cocky, they don't have anything to do with the classes you will take in law school. You probably will get into law school, though.

During the exam, you will be crammed into a room that is a bundle of nervous energy. People will diligently bring their entire packets of number 2 pencils just in case they are so nervous they break the tips of all 25! And, despite each pencil having its own eraser, they will bring those pink rhombus-shaped erasers that we all used back in grade school. Someone will have a nagging cough, the "moderator" will be on a power trip, your palms will sweat the entire time and you will have to pee a little. Get used to this feeling. It will be with you during every law school exam and then magnified 10 times during the Bar Exam.


(b) Finishing your Application. You will also complete the rest of your application. As mentioned in the last installment, the rest of the elements are of little importance. That deserves repeating. Your undergraduate GPA is the second-most important factor, but if you're out of college there's nothing you can do now to change that. Half-heartedly fill out the application forms and essays. You want to "save the world," you say? That's cute. But no one cares. Law school is a business and they just want your application fee and then, possibly , your tuition dollars.

Please note, that if you are African-American or Latino/a, you will have a better chance at getting into schools than do white students with the same LSAT/GPAs. That's just the way things are. But be ready for people to assume that you didn't "earn" your spot in law school and/or that you are not as smart as the white students, even if you did and even if you are. This opinion of you will likely persist throughout law school and throughout your career, as you will continually have to prove yourself to your colleagues, to judges, to other professionals, and to adverseries.

If you are a woman, your professors and other students will most likely treat you with respect. And you will, likewise, respectfully not show your anger at old cases like the ones saying that women were the property of their husbands, could not be parties to a contract, could not vote, and at the fact that during the entire history of the Supreme Court, only two Justices have been women. And then when you are a lawyer, you will also respectfully smile at the opposing counsel who assumes you are a secretary and then later calls you "too pretty to argue with" during litigation.

Or not.


(c) Visiting Schools. By now you have already recieved glossy viewbooks depicting happy and diverse real-life law students and very important and Ivy-league educated professors doing Very Important Law Things! You know, like reading a book together in the Law Library or, perhaps, arguing a case in Moot Court.

You will have chosen your "dream" schools, your "reach" schools, your "realistic" schools, and your "safety" schools- having shelled out big bucks to get the chance to attend one of these schools. You will visit different schools to get a "feel" for them. Sometimes, these schools will invite you to a "prospective students day" and, upon arrival, they will hand you a little summary of a piece of law. During the law school overview presentation, the friendly greeter will morph into very-serious-Socratic-method law professor and start grilling prospective students on the law summary that was handed out because, when you're in law school you have to be prepared to be called on at all times, and its helpful if you are too scared to question the "teaching" methods some professors use in class.

Okay, so not all law schools do that. The one I ended up choosing did do that. Looking back, that probably explains a lot.

Inevitably, and because you stubborn-ley fail to heed my advice, you will choose a law school, send in your deposit, and prepare for your upcoming studies.

Sigh.


Until next time...

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