Law Students

How Law School Is Just Like High School
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Summary: How is law school like high school? Let us count the ways. 

For some of us, high school was a blast. It was a time when we didn’t have any cares in the world, and we saw our best friends everyday. It was a place where we thrived and never wanted to leave. For others, high school was an era of getting shoved into lockers, dealing with Mean Girls, or fighting to win meaningless class presidential elections. High school was a cutthroat and scary place that they were desperate to leave, and to their dismay, they realized life in general was just like high school. The rich jocks got everything. The pretty cheerleaders were still adored. The weak nerds ended up doing all the grunt work but never getting the glory.


For some law students, they were dismayed to learn this truth, and they were even more upset to learn that law school was just like high school too. But how?

Gossip spreads.

Most law schools are in one building, which means students see the same teachers and the same students every day. This tight community is similar to the ways of a small town–where any type of gossip spreads because of boredom or malice.

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“Law school shrinks your peer group from around 15,000 down to around 500. Now you’ve gone from a big city to a small town,” Alex Davis of Blueprint LSAT said. “Everyone knows everyone else’s business.”

Cliques form.

Any time someone ventures into a new environment, it’s common to form bonds quickly with those around you. Especially if you’re all doing the same things and hate the same people. Kate Currer of Bitter Empire said that this clique formation is totally high school because not only are people building fast friendships, but those relationships also change just as quickly.

“These friendships do not necessarily last throughout law school,” Currer said. “Recruiting season brings out the worst in people, ruining some friendships. Some cliques that were built around section allegiance disintegrate in favor of lines drawn by journal membership or club participation. In high school, a friendship may be lost to theater; in law school, moot court might be the relationship killer.”

Grades matter.

In high school, your grades matter because you need them to go to the next step–college. In law school, grades matter because law firms use them to determine who they want to hire.

“When you are considering a lateral move, there are certain firms that will never look at you unless you have certain grades,” Harrison Barnes of BCG Attorney Search said. “The most prestigious firms-such as Latham & Watkins, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, and Munger Tolles & Olson, among others-will almost never hire you, or even interview you, unless your academic performance falls within a certain cutoff set by the firm, regardless of what stage you are in your career.”

Your year in school matters. 

Your first year in law school is akin to your freshman year, and your third year is similar to your senior year, according to Currer.

“A 3L does not hang out with a 1L, a 1L who dates an upperclassman is “cool,” but upperclassmen who dates a 1L is “preying” on them.  1Ls are considered to be “adorable” and “naive,” regardless of how much life experience they actually have.  And of course, 3Ls in their last semester are all-knowing and exhibit strong symptoms of “senioritis,” Currer said. 

Do you think law school was similar to high school? How so? Let us know in the comments below. 


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