Saturday, June 2, 2012

Shift from law school to law job is humbling, hard

Ever heard of the 10,000-hour rule? The idea is that, in order to master a specific skill, you must put in the equivalent of 10,000 hours of practice, or roughly five years of full-time work. The rule is staring me in the face as I begin the steep climb to competence as a rookie lawyer. The members of the Class of 2012  at U of L, myself included, spent the last year as 3Ls, the top dogs in law school. Now we're starting all over at the bottom. Louisville did a great job teaching me the law, but the field is so vast and there are so many things to learn. What's the difference between filling out a summons in state court compared to federal court?  How do you write a claim for loss of consortium? How does Medicare subrogation work?
Bar exam: that's me in eight weeks
Part of me wishes that I could push the fast-forward button and get to the point where I feel at least semi-confident about the areas where I will be practicing. For now, however, practice is not even my biggest worry. Bar prep started a week ago, and the exam itself is looming less than two months away. Listening to the Barbri lectures is like taking a mental stroll back through the first two years of law school. It's mildly interesting to remember all the cases that we read in order to learn tidbits of Contract law and Negotiable Instruments, but for the most part it's a painful process -- four hours a day of lectures so we can remember who gets priority in a fight between two creditors over a secured transaction (the perfected interest, of course), or whether a defendant's rights are violated when police conduct a stop and frisk search without probable cause (no, so long as there is reasonable suspicion of criminal activity). In addition to the lectures, we're supposed to be spending another four or five hours a day reviewing and outlining our subjects. Then there's the four or five hours a day I'm working at the firm that was generous enough to give me a job. How many hours are there in a day again?
Lots of people have given me advice about studying for the bar this summer. They've told me not to worry too much. They've told me to worry a lot. They've told me it's a marathon, and not to get burned out early in the summer. All in all, I've heard way more horror stories than pleasant memories. At least it's comforting to know that Louisville has a high pass rate, especially for students who did well academically in law school. It's also good to know that you only need a score of 75 out of 100 on each essay in order to pass the Kentucky portion of the exam. Then again, there are 12 essays, and only 30 minutes for each. Screw up just one, or fall behind on your timing, and you are in serious trouble. In the end, I imagine that bar prep, and work as a first-year lawyer, will be much like law school: a long and grinding path, with plenty of frustrations along the way but rewards at the end for those who persevere. Final note: I've updated the title of this blog because I am technically no longer a law student, and I've changed my profile accordingly. However, if you are interested in law school at U of L, or in the legal market in Louisville, you can still contact me with questions or thoughts. My email:

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff. Thanks for the heads up. I will prepare accordingly.