LSAT Kung Fu Blog / Day 1
You know how people like to say that today is the first day of the rest of your life (and then you want to punch them in the throat for being both condescending and clichéd)?
Well, I’m not here to say anything about your life, but I did want to let you know that in a real, non-clichéd, active and experiential sort of way, today is Day 1 for me.
I started law school today.
Well, everything I’ve said before about not wanting to go, that all still stands. But something changed for me last year, and I did something that very few other people in the world could have done: I decided on November 9th, 2016, that I was going to go to law school, and on December 2nd of that year, I received my acceptance (by email. The letter came a few days after).
Nothing about that is special except for the timeline; there just aren’t very many people who can decide to go to law school and be admitted within three weeks, because of all the stuff you have to do to get in (see the last 6-or-whatever blog posts I’ve written).
But, it just so happens that by dint of my day job, I had LSAT scores already valid and waiting to be considered. And because I’ve spent many years helping people craft Personal Statements, writing mine was faster than it would be for most people (faster probably than it should have been for me, to tell the truth).
I am fortunate to have known and worked with some wonderful people who wrote me some lovely (overwhelming, really) letters of recommendation on an extremely compressed timeline, and I’m also incredibly fortunate to have the ability to set aside the time I needed to work on polishing each part of my application (including a GPA addendum, because I was a wanton and callow youth!), so the time from my decision to the submission of my application was a total of about two weeks.
And today, after nearly eight months of waiting, we started the thing, under a darkening sky that I’m pretty sure isn’t a portent or anything (I do like to think I am a man of science. I know this whole total solar eclipse deal is rooted in observable cosmic phenomena that have nothing to do with the piddling affairs of humankind, much less my puny existence. Still. (And, sorry for the double parenthetical, but this really does show how I’m always trying to make things about me. We all do that to some degree, though, right?) No, no; I know. Not a sign. But still…)
So I’m going to write about it (law school. Not the eclipse).
If you guys are interested in hearing more LSAT prep from this blog, I will do that too—just ask me what you want to know about—but I think that for the next three years, this space will be mostly where I talk about what law school is like.
My experience won’t be the same as yours—I’m going to my school, you’ll go to your school, etc.—but I think you may benefit from hearing about my experience nonetheless. Or you may like hearing about me struggling (I’m sure there will be some struggling. I think it’ll be good for me; I’ve gotten soft. I think this will help sharpen me).
To answer some of the questions I’ve already gotten: I didn’t apply to Yale or Harvard or Stanford. I think I would’ve had a real shot at getting in, but I certainly don’t think I was a shoo-in (remember that I was a wanton and callow youth, plus, a lot of very, very qualified people apply to those schools). But the reason I didn't apply there was not a fear of failure; it was that I knew already that I wouldn’t attend even if admitted. I know that sounds delusional, but here’s the thing:
In 2015, my wife and I moved our son from Southern California, the only home he’d known in life, to a small town in the woods over 2,000 miles away. He loves it here now (and we found our daughter here), but the move was a tough transition for him.
Also, I am pretty sure I don’t want to live in New Haven or Boston or Palo Alto for my working life (I mean, how can I know for sure? Still, it’s not in my life plan, and I think my wife would literally kill me with her hands if I tried to convince her to move again to somewhere new where she didn’t know anybody. She’s an amazing and patient woman, but she has her limits), so going to school there would mean moving the kids for three years, then moving them again after that (probably back to the woods and our small town, because I love this place deeply).
I just couldn’t do that to my family, especially not when there is a quite good regional law school near us here, where I have a reasonable commute and nobody has to move anywhere.
It would have been fun to apply to Yale, et al, because I do think I had a good chance to have been admitted to at least one of the top three, and it would’ve made for a good story to have turned them down, but I just didn’t have the time. Life is full of little disappointments.
Yes, I did receive a full scholarship. It covers tuition, fees, books, and my parking pass. I even had enough left over to buy a second suit (I mean, it’s not an Armani). This means I will be able to do the work I want to do, without having to take the highest-paying job I can find in order to pay off student debt. Plus, I want to work around here, and the Career Center at my school is full of engaged people with roots in the community. They’ll be able to help me substantially as I seek a good job doing meaningful work.
I’m not going to name my school, nor my professors or classmates. I’m going to write candidly about my experience, and I haven’t asked anyone’s permission, and I don’t want to violate their privacy.
I will say that so far, I think it’s great. Like, really, great. If I were going to go to law school, it was going to be here (supra—see what I did there? I snuck in some lawyerin’ talk from my first reading assignments!), and I feel overwhelmingly lucky that this is the school I live close to.
I think it’s going to be hard. I think it’s going to be fun. I am just about dead perfect certain that it was the right thing for me to do.
Next week, I’ll tell you about how my first week went.
Questions? Comments? Complaints? Post them below, or shoot me an email.
Be good to one another, for we need it now more than maybe ever,