segamebgeh wrote:Hi all,
I've been recently admitted, but am having some last-minute doubts about going to law school. Any advice would be appreciated.
I went to UChicago for undergrad, and one of my favorite courses was "American Law and the Rhetoric of Race," which some undergrads were allowed to take. I realize they're different, but are required courses like Civil Procedure or Torts pretty far removed from the pace/rigor of electives like that?
And if anyone went to UChicago for undergrad as well, how would you say the workload compares? I've read on this board that the "fun goes to die" cliche is more accurate for undergrads than law students--did you have a fairly smooth transition?
Thanks for any help!
Heyyy. Also a UofC undergrad. Also graduated from the New Collegiate Division, but not LLSO (you can probably guess which). This'll be kinda rambly because halfdrunk.
The workload is more, relative to the undergrad. I think one thing many people realize after leaving UofC undergrad and doing grad programs somewhere else is that the UofC undergrad, while really demanding in some ways, is also pretty soft in a lot of other ways outside of the sciences. It's just assumed that you're doing all the outside work because this is UofC - no one actually notices if you aren't, and because so many classes especially in NCD/humanities end with papers, everyone tends to do pretty well. This just isn't the case with a curved issue spotter exam, like most of the doctrinal classes in law school will have. Especially in 1L there's a pressure on the day-to-day work that just wasn't there at the undergrad. The undergrad has lots of safety blankets that the law school doesn't have.
That said I don't know if I'd say it's more "rigorous" in the sense that UofC-folk think of "rigor". The practical side of shit tends to get discussed a lot more here rather than like The Underlying Theory of Law or whatever. At least on my side of NCD there was a lot of reading current scholarship, big lofty capital-T theory discussions, etc and that only really happens in some of the electives at the law school, or at least that's been my experience. Ultimately it's a different field, but I think the law school also just has a different pedagogical approach. More being-talked-at. Less open-ended discussion. It's not /easier/, but it also doesn't ask for the same kind of active participation.
I think I had 2-3 lectures total in undergrad and they were all required science classes. Everything else was like a 5-20 person seminar. This will basically flip first year, whether you go here or somewhere else. Your only seminar in 1L will probably be legal writing. After that you're limited to 4 seminars each year for 2L and 3L.
A big difference is that I rarely felt the undergrad was a competitive environment. Mostly just kids nerding out about finally being around other smart/excited people their age, and getting to study cool shit. At the law school, I tried to ignore the competitive bullshit as much as possible during 1L and... you just can't help but notice the tension sometimes. It's peoples' futures on the line and especially in winter quarter when the first set of grades come out, it's a tense place. Lots of bullshit competitiveness that continues well after any point at which it should matter. I dunno if that's more true here or at other law schools. But it's distinctly different from the undergrad either way.
I do think skers is right that overall you should be asking whether you'll enjoy life as a lawyer rather than life in law school. That said if you're going to go to law school no matter what, and are picking between similar schools (w/r/t employment data) as you probably are, it's fair to ask where you'll be happiest for three years.
Honestly if you're looking for "UofC undergrad - the law school version", I don't think they're that similar of places. The weirdo quota is not even close, which is either a good thing if you hated that about the undergrad or a bad thing if that was part of the draw. Obviously I don't have any experience going to any other law school, but in terms of attitude YLS seems like a much closer comparison.
As far as transition: similar to you I worked a couple years between UG and LS so I don't know how much of this is attributable to what, but I felt it was fine. I did well without killing myself on work, though I definitely worked more in any individual quarter of 1L than I did in any individual quarter of ugrad (including the one in which my thesis was due).
Re: second-guessing: not yet. I'm kinda ambivalent currently on whether I'd make the same decision if I could go back to pre-law-school and do it all over again, but that has nothing to do with law school. It's been at least reasonably enjoyable for most of the 2+ years I've been here. But the spectre of biglawl looms. THAT's what you should be worrying about. If you liked LLSO classes you'll probably like law school classes even though they are different. Not quite as clear you'll like actual lawyer work, though your job sounds reasonably similar on the surface.
Iunno. That probably has like 6x as many words as anyone cares to read, but feel free to PM.