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How much of a lawyer are you after 1 semester?

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on Feb 4, 2010 in The 1L Life

My 2L and 3L friends are collectively rolling their eyes at the post title, but I promise it’s a serious (or at least seriously-intended) question :angel:

Just how much of a lawyer is a law student after their 1st semester?

Some background behind the question is in order, so you don’t think I’m totally batshit crazy for even asking. Everyone talks about the big life adjustment that is law school — teaching you to “think like a lawyer” and all that jazz.

But my (admittedly unproven) hypothesis is that 90%+ of any such adjusting is going to take place in your first semester, since presumably if it hadn’t you would have already failed out of law school.  Unless of course you go somewhere with a B+ median.1 ;)

So assuming, arguendo, that my hypothesis is right, the next 2.5 years will be spent not on training you to be a lawyer so much as forcing you to have at least a passing knowledge of the current state of the law in various subject areas.

Not sure if that’s worded well enough to convey my point, so let me try a computer comparison:  basically in the first semester you’re taught all the logical constructs of programming (conditionals / loops / etc) and then for the next 2.5 years you get taught logically-identical variants of programming languages (Java / C++ / etc).

Or maybe a movie comparison works?  It’s like the first Matrix movie, where the first semester is for explaining wheretf you are and rebuilding your atrophied muscles from scratch, then the next 2.5 semesters get spent uploading various martial arts like kung-fu straight into your brain.2

Hopefully at least one of those three made sense :beatup:

So going back to the question, let’s say you finished all of your required credit hours in Contracts, Legal Research, and Civil Procedure. At this point would you be competent enough to litigate a Contracts dispute pro se? Or will some other course over the next 2.5 years add still more training that you’d need to be effective?

Not sure why that particular question crossed my mind tonight, but I figured I’d throw it out there if any of my 2L/3L/post-L readers have insights they wouldn’t mind sharing :)

Back to reading for Contracts, just in case I need to represent myself any time soon ;) Have a great night everybody!! :D

  1. JUST KIDDING AGAIN! I promise I still :heart: y’all Tarheel ppl (you know who you are)  and it won’t become a habit :* []
  2. And if you haven’t actually seen any of the Matrix movies, you need to get out more. Seriously. :P []

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