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Law Student Rites of Passage


There are certain moments in life that you will never forget; some are wonderful, others not so much. There are plenty of the ‘firsts’ that we can all expect to come across in our law school journey. Here are some of the law school initiation experiences that have really stuck with us.

Reading your First Case, and Understanding Nothing

The experience of reading your first case will stay with you for a long time. The experience will largely be in the hands of your teachers: some may want to make you nervous and give you a terrifying case like Mabo where you only get some vague impression there was an issue about land. Others may ‘ease you into it’ with some tiny little case about bailment from the late 1800’s where the English is not the English we use today. (Some modern-day judges also eschew the English we common folk use).

While the case may not be remembered, the law might be forgotten but the interior monologue ‘look at this, look at this! I am reading a case! I am a law student now!’ is remembered forever.

Understanding the Legal Problem Solving Method

For most of your life you have been thinking with a certain process, and now you need to think in a totally different way. Wether is the IRAC, ISSAC or some other acronym that strikes fear in the hearts of law students in their first weeks, you will find it pervading your everyday thinking. That vending machine did not just fail to vent your noodles, it breached a contract to boot! (Reference to Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain v Boots Cash Chemists (Southern) Ltd totally by accident).

The First AH HA! Moment

What more is there to say, other than it is often preceded by a long time bashing you head against a textbook. A little hint, if Kirby is in the judgement first, read his judgement first!

The First Law-Induced Break Down

You have cases, textbooks, tute work to read, an assessment, a mooting competition and other commitments each week, but you manage to get it all done. Then it’s week 7 of contracts and you just don’t get it; well, you thought you did until the tute where your lack of understanding was highlighted in painful clarity. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back and now you’re a blubbering mess in the privacy of your study hole. Breathe, we have all been there, it is all a part of your law school initiation.

When he’s not writing for Survive Law, Obiter Ovum is musing about law school and such in his own corner of the Internet. Click here to check out OO’s blog.

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