Moving on from law school

I’ve written dozens of columns about law school in general, and you might expect me here to wax nostalgic.  It would be hard, though, for me to do that — to say I’ll miss law school, at least unconditionally.

I didn’t have a terrible time, nor do I regret my decision to get a legal education. Quite the opposite: I’m a better thinker and writer because of it (please ignore what my ex-girlfriend says), and I do have a skill set today that’s more compensable than the one I brought to Ohio State, which was the ability to fix anything with duct tape and whipped cream. 

I’ve learned some law, and I’ve done many of the things lawyers do on a regular basis. I externed for two federal judges and I completed two clinics.  Put simply, I’ve learned a great deal here, both inside and outside the classroom.

It’s just time to move on.

Before I do, though, I’ll swallow hard and try my hand at waxing, to look in the rearview mirror and share one thing I won’t miss about law school, and one thing I will. Indulge me.

WHAT I WON’T MISS

Law exams. 

Three hours, all essay, closed book. That was my first one, in contracts. I nearly hyperventilated the night before, and unlike the guy in the book One L, I didn’t have a girlfriend whom I could wake up to help me relieve the tension.  No, I just stared at the ceiling and listened to Wyclef Jean, or something equally disappointing.  Since then, I’ve caught myself saying how happy I am that a certain exam is only three hours, proctored in class. Which is so much better, I’ve told myself, than an eight-hour take-home. 

Good riddance, to those. 

WHAT I WILL MISS

Friends and professors. 

It sounds generic and vanilla, I know, but I mean it. Among my friends are a guy who could name any album by any band, another guy who played golf professionally, and a girl who backpacked across Europe. These are interesting people, and they got me through law school.  We studied and drank together, and disagreed with one another as often as we agreed, maybe more. Never a dull moment. 

Many of my professors, meanwhile, were great — and a lot of fun. One stoked my interest in teaching and the first amendment, while another kept me humble (he once told me the best way to win my clinic case was not to be an idiot). I’m grateful that so many looked after me, or at least made me feel that way. And, yeah, that sounds corny as Corn Flakes, but again, I mean it. 

ADIOS

I’ll sign off with something I wrote as a 1L, in my first column for Ohio State’s alumni magazine:

No doubt, my classmates and I have endeavored to join an honorable profession, and to be part of one helluva journey for the next three years and . . . for the rest of our lives. I look forward to their achievements, their success; to our achievements, our success. 

Here’s to graduation and the rest of our lives. 

 

Jon Peters is a columnist for The National Jurist and a third-year law student at Ohio State University.

Categories: