During law school, I kept a semi-consistent blog where I basically just re-capped my weekends (super riveting, I know). I was looking at a post I wrote after the first day of my Bar prep course and how much I was already freaking out about failing:
But mostly I’m fearful because the one thing law school was great at was reminding me how unintelligent I am. I mean, when people asked me questions about theories or laws I would think to myself, “why are they asking me?” Seriously, my intellectual confidence took a beating so it’s no surprise that I am apprehensive about this whole Bar thing.
Now, some people may go through law school without a suffering even a scratch to their self-esteem. Not me. I went in thinking I was smarter than smart, and left confused as to how I even made it through. I mentioned it before, but it seemed like every endeavor I attempted was never successful or barely successful. It sucked. So going through law school and getting consistently knocked down makes you feel horrible. So much so, that once it’s time to take finals (or the Bar), you basically can’t even imagine a successful outcome. At least that was the mindset I had going into Bar prep Summer of 2010.
However, if I knew then what I know now–my mindset would be different. And so I’m going to share what I know so that you go into finals and Bar prep with more confidence that I had in 2010:
First, law school is nothing like real practice. Most of us know this already, but it bears repeating that regardless of the grade you got in torts or advanced evidence, you will eventually create your practice and speciality; something you will master and sharpen with time. Flowery essay answers are nice, but they do not make even a portion of what real practice entails.
Second, law school is an environment that is mired down in privilege and (often petty) competitiveness that encourages self-doubt. Of course, law school helps you think on your feet, think critically, think legally, and teaches you to work in adversarial settings, but it’s not a space where the best of the best always rise to the top. It’s not until you are able to flex your legal muscles in real practice that you will learn the depths of your capacity and skills.
You are capable of more than just churning out good law school exams and that is what you have to remember as you go into finals. You are capable of more than you know. You may think you’re going into finals without a full understanding of the concepts; still unsure of how to use IRAC; or graduating without ever having mastered the bluebook–but once you take your oath and work to seek justice for your client, you’ll realize just how fierce and zealous an advocate you can be–law school finals be damned. That realization will breed more confidence and will push you to create a purposeful and impacting career.