Life in the Law School Lane: 3 Unspoken Law School Rules

As my second year comes to a close, I have been reminiscing a lot on what it has meant to be a law student. This was mostly sparked by a discussion I recently had in one of my classes, in which we discussed the “norms” of being a University of Virginia School of Law student, and whether those same norms would apply at any of the other 200+ law schools in this country. Apparently, life here at UVA is truly unique, between our “collegiality” and softball and Thomas Jefferson motifs. However, I am certain that these rules can and should apply at the vast majority of law schools.

1. Beware of the “I’m so excited to announce…” Facebook humble brag

I am sure everyone has seen these Facebook statuses. They have become the new badge of honor – if you aren’t telling your 900+ Facebook friends about your upcoming time at that V10 firm or the Department of Justice or “Feeder” clerkship, are you even in line to graduate law school? People in law school do great things and we should all be proud of our classmates’ accomplishments. However, one should be mindful of what he or she is posting on social media sites like Facebook/Twitter (LinkedIn is fine in this instance, however) to avoid fostering resentment and splintering relationships with classmates who may have not achieved the same great things. Telling your friends and family that you made Law Review is awesome – but implying to everyone on Facebook that your grades are clearly amazing, is not.*

2. Keep talk of how much you have studied to yourself

Law school is a very competitive place, no matter where you attend. People are studying and trying to get the best grades possible, especially since grades are linked to job opportunities. However, if all you do is tell your fellow classmates about how “you totally stayed up until 3 AM trying to figure out alternate holdings for Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co.,” or that “you spent the whole second weekend of classes writing hypos,” do not be surprised if you aren’t invited to that post-finals Margarita session. Your classmates are aware that everyone is incessantly studying – they don’t need another stressful reminder of how much effort you are putting in, especially since there’s likely a very tenuous correlation between the students who “brag about how much they study” and those that actually do well.

3. Put your hand down with that crazy hypothetical

Everyone has that one classmate that asks the never-going-to-happen-in-a-million-years hypothetical. The question probably goes something like this: “There is a police officer, an elephant, and a train without windows that has broken brakes. The floor is slippery and there is no sign alerting customers to the wet floor. The police officer, while selling insurance across state lines on the moving train, forgets to read the elephant his Miranda rights and then slips. Meanwhile, the elephant has an options contract to buy the train headquarters that vests in 22 years. Would that be a Dormant Commerce Clause issue?” If you have an extensive hypothetical, wait until after class or office hours to ask the question. If the professor thinks that you have asked a worthwhile question, he or she will then likely email the class the answer, and your classmates can digest it on their own time.  

*For the pre-law students out there, the same goes for sharing your LSAT score on social media -- Just don’t do it!

What law school “rules” would you add to the list? Let the Ms. JD community know in a comment below! 


Lauren Nevidomsky is your "average" law student trying to figure out her way in the legal world. She tells the tales of her law school trials and tribulations with the hopes that she'll help make the life of even one law student easier and less stressful.

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All of these are spot on! I would add for post-law school “Don’t ask others how they did on the bar, if they want you to know they will tell you.” I haven’t gotten my bar results yet but I have had multiple people who have taken the bar give me this advice.

Julie Cummings

Well written.  In the words of C.S. Lewis: Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.

Julie Cummings

Don’t talk about how little time you have to do anything—especially to a person single-parenting through law school.

Julie Cummings

That last comment would be My Rule to add to your list.


Let’s add this to your list: Don’t ask questions just to try to show the professor you’re clever.  Oh, and REALLY don’t ask “thoughtful, insightful questions” that come straight out of the supplement.  If the prof read the same supplement, he just may call you out…

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