Thursday, March 7, 2013

What You Need to Know About Being a Law School Mom

Many of you are finalizing your law school application packets in anticipation of fall admission and you have lots of questions. There is a lot of advice out there for prospective law school students -- from getting into the right school to landing that plum summer internship -- but law school moms have other concerns too, like juggling family and law school without going crazy. My "Notes From the Trenches" series has some great advice on balancing pregnancy and law school, paying for law school while paying for childcare, and even a sneak peek into the daily life of a law school mom. As for maintaining your sanity, well, I'm still working on that one myself.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Notes from the Trenches: Finding My Groove

This is a guest post from Rebecca, a newly minted law school mom of two.

I'm officially a law school mom! Here's what I've learned in half a semester:

(1) The legal profession is, as far as I can tell so far, a good fit for me. There's a lot of research and writing, an insistence on nit-picky attention to detail, and no shortage of ethical conundrums. Compared to failed craft projects and poopy diapers, I'm loving it.

(2) The work isn't overwhelming. I was in a doctoral program after I graduated from college, and there simply weren't enough hours in the day to finish all the reading we had then. It was objectively impossible. The reading I'm assigned now is about half that, so I find it manageable. I would say I work about 50 hours a week. A little more demanding than a full-time job, and maybe about the same as the average legal job?

(3) The professors all manage the class discussions in a different way. My Civ Pro prof is extremely organized and methodical, which I think is probably a good approach for Civ Pro. When she calls on you, she basically wants your answers to be read directly from the case. She'll often tell you exactly where on the page she wants you to find the answer. On the other hand, my Torts prof likes to ask us more analytical questions, the answers to which you can't find in the book. He's always telling us to "look up and just think." And my Property prof... well. He believes that he and his colleagues are in the business of training all of us to run the world, and that if all the non-lawyers out there would just butt out, we'd have as close to a utopia as humans can realistically get. He seems to view the class as an opportunity to perform, so he really doesn't ask many questions at all. And neither does anyone else.

(4) The parents club at my school is quite small. We don't have a night or part-time program, so there aren't as many older students as one might find elsewhere. I know of only four other students who have any children, and when I tell people I have two, it blows their minds. I'm only 28 and not used to feeling old, but I've spent the last several weeks surrounded by younger, attractive, single people, so you could definitely say my self-image has changed recently.

(5) #4 means the atmosphere is a little college-y. There are a lot of happy hours, drinking socials, etc. They even have formals. I'm definitely not criticizing; 6 years ago, I would have gone out any night of the week, too. But obviously, I can't really be part of that social scene now, and I'm finding I don't really want to be. In many ways, it's a relief to stay out of the social drama that ensues when you throw together a couple of hundred young, attractive, single people who feel like they have to prove to each other how smart they are. That sounds a little snarky, but I don't mean it that way. They are all smart, and they're just trying to find their social footing in a new place. But I'm finding different ways to connect with people, and in the meantime I can really focus on making good use of the time I pay other people to watch my kids.

So things are going ok. But our profs are starting to talk exams. Like I said, everyone is smart and every class has a mandatory curve. I might not be feeling quite so competent in January.