By Sherbune Paul • November 15, 2016•Writers in Residence, Law School, Curriculum and Classroom Dynamics, Other Law School Issues, Issues, Balancing Private and Professional Life
As a law student, your writing is the key to your academic success. If you can’t write, you can’t pass a law school exam, let alone excel in your studies. Yet, it’s not really your writing, is it? Think about it. You get told what to write, when you should be writing it, who to address, how long you have to write it, and exactly how you should say it. You spend a lot of time answering other people’s questions—namely, your professors’—in their very precise and particular way.
As a 1L, I found the process to be difficult and tedious but by 2L year it became second nature. It was to the point where it was robotic, I was like a computer spitting out IRAC with perfect headings, complete with full-on counter arguments and the occasional bit of public policy (if I was feeling adventurous). However, in my 3 years I never stopped feeling stifled. I got tired of answering just the questions before me and spotting issues that were hidden in plain view, I wanted to dig deeper.
If you are like me, you want to be a lawyer to advocate for others and yourself. You want respect, you want your voice to be heard, and you want to make a difference. I don’t think you can do that by spending day and night in the library writing practice exams. It’s just as important to write for yourself, and for others, about the topics that matter to you. Write about the topics that made you want to go to law school in the first place. It’s motivating to remember what it feels like to express your own interests, values, and positions. It is critical that you recognize the magnitude of what you have, you are a pre-law student, or current law student, or practicing attorney.
What you have is opportunity.
What you have is experience.
What you have is a title that people respect.
Most importantly, what you have is the education to articulate your point of view.
I urge you to use what you have to your benefit, as a form of self-care and even self-preservation. I urge you to use it to benefit others, if you can, by being an advocate, by educating others, or by raising social awareness. Writing for a law blog is a way to engage yourself with the abstract concepts and issues you learn about in law school and make them mean something to you.
You have nothing to lose, just do it.