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Top 3 Law Student Stereotypes

Updated: Aug 12, 2023

What are the top three most pervasive law student stereotypes that prevent law students from starting a law degree? I've sat in corporate office buildings and law student libraries. But I have to admit that I'm not fussy about where I sit, a lot of fuss is kicked up concerning whether potential students are cut out to study law in the first place. As such, we've created a list of the top three most pervasive stereotypes that plague wanna-be and current law students. It's best to explain this using Monsters Inc referenced for absolutely no reason at all.



1. I'm not smart enough

Firstly, where do you even get the audacity to believe this about yourself? The way I just want to hug someone when I hear this. Did someone try to convince you when you were younger that you didn't have the intellect to survive the legal industry? I have a rude awakening concerning the fact that law isn't inherently difficult to understand. It's not intuitive but that's why you read the case studies so that you can become a better law student and lawyer. Realistically, the leap between legal history and the current legislation we have today isn't a large one.

In my experience, the most difficult things about law school aren't really whether you're smart enough. It's whether you can meet the time demands of your readings, and have the humility to express when you don't understand something even though it seems like everyone else is on board. In addition to working on your legal research skills and critical thinking i.e. not taking things at face value. Let's not forget the personal nightmare as well which is legal problem-solving.


Legal problem-solving casually expresses that your solicitor's uncle who owns a world heritage protected property shot a beaver hunter on his land and the beaver was a protected species but his cousin Deborah is the local park ranger who allegedly deleted the evidence footage of the protected beast. You are the office clerk responsible for finding cases for the principal solicitor. What remedies would you include in your letter of advice? Just let me swap places with the protected species already.


It's easy to think that you might not know what to do in situations like this and after a few years of law school my understanding of how to approach legal problems has steadily increased but it's not immune to being completely wrong and needing more practice. As such I hope that anyone considering becoming a law student or prospective lawyer isn't held back from the idea that intelligence is the core of what carries you throughout your law degree. Often qualities such as discipline, time management, self-compassion and patience are personality traits that will help see you through when law school feels unbearable.





2. I don't know anyone in the legal industry

Is there anything more unbearable than admitting that your parent(s) have connections in the legal industry and that's how you happened to attain a high-profile legal position? Arguably no. However, the idea that you need a wide network of contacts to excel in the industry or a certain amount of hand-holding to get you through underscores the individual efforts of hard-working law students. Arguably, what I find most toxic about this thought is that it predicates your success on something largely external and out of your control. It's giving, well I wasn't born into general wealth so I might not even try. But the reality is that you can still try to make genuine connections at networking events and some of the people you'll meet along the way might actually become lifelong friends. You don't know how your career journey is going to unfold but I would hope that it doesn't start with short-changing yourself. You deserve the opportunity to strive and pursue what you're passionate about.





3. Imposter syndrome

It's not throwback Thursday but let me take you on a mystery ride back to my first and second years of law school. Yes, imposter syndrome isn't new and I'll leave it up to Google to take you down that familiar rabbit hole. During first and second-year law school but first, especially you're confronted with a dichotomy between the students who seemingly have a lot of the answers and those who are too afraid to ask in fear of their tutor jumping down their throats and accusing them of not doing the readings. At best your anxiety imagines your tutor giving you an eyeball worthy of a modern roller coaster. But the reality is that your learning trajectory doesn't have to look like everyone else's for you to take up space, share the same classroom and ask those questions that may give you second-hand embarrassment. You belong there just as much as everyone else and you're not alone in intermittently feeling insecure about that. The reality is that anyone can be a law student, with enough grit, determination and passion to make a difference.


What are some thoughts that are preventing you from enrolling in law school? If you have any questions or queries about the law school experience you're invited to contact us at editorsurviwelaw@gmail.com



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