Terrible 2L. Destroyed any semblance of love or confidence I had in the law. Forum

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IamDoneWithIt

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Terrible 2L. Destroyed any semblance of love or confidence I had in the law.

Post by IamDoneWithIt » Wed Oct 06, 2021 8:30 pm

Upper T14. I think I am in the bottom 20% of the school; at a minimum I am good bit below median.

I have a BigLaw job lined up, so I have been told now "my grades don't matter" by the career services office. Even if I do my damndest I will be what? Bottom 40% of the class? I don't know.

I don't feel smart, I'm not confident in any conclusions I make. I thought I liked the law until 2L Fall where I got horrible, horrible grades. Luckily for me that was too late to impact OCI - I managed to snag a job before my grades were clear.

The grades rest of 2L made that better but not enough.

I have dreams of dropping out but know that is delusional with my debt load. I have no passion to read cases, do research, or write much of anything anymore. I don't like going to social events even, where I see professors who gave me shit grades.

The only thing keeping me going is the need to pay off my debt. My grades destroyed any confidence I can hack it at big law long-term; so maybe I could work for the government or the FBI, which I would enjoy more than the law.

I don't really know what advice I'm looking for here. I don't know how bad I am exactly; the career office refuses to tell me. They did tell me my grades won't matter right now as long I graduate but it's hard to take that seriously. I feel like I slipped into the school, and then slipped into Big Law. Not sustainable.

crazywafflez

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Re: Terrible 2L. Destroyed any semblance of love or confidence I had in the law.

Post by crazywafflez » Thu Oct 07, 2021 10:28 am

IamDoneWithIt wrote:
Wed Oct 06, 2021 8:30 pm
Upper T14. I think I am in the bottom 20% of the school; at a minimum I am good bit below median.

I have a BigLaw job lined up, so I have been told now "my grades don't matter" by the career services office. Even if I do my damndest I will be what? Bottom 40% of the class? I don't know.

I don't feel smart, I'm not confident in any conclusions I make. I thought I liked the law until 2L Fall where I got horrible, horrible grades. Luckily for me that was too late to impact OCI - I managed to snag a job before my grades were clear.

The grades rest of 2L made that better but not enough.

I have dreams of dropping out but know that is delusional with my debt load. I have no passion to read cases, do research, or write much of anything anymore. I don't like going to social events even, where I see professors who gave me shit grades.

The only thing keeping me going is the need to pay off my debt. My grades destroyed any confidence I can hack it at big law long-term; so maybe I could work for the government or the FBI, which I would enjoy more than the law.

I don't really know what advice I'm looking for here. I don't know how bad I am exactly; the career office refuses to tell me. They did tell me my grades won't matter right now as long I graduate but it's hard to take that seriously. I feel like I slipped into the school, and then slipped into Big Law. Not sustainable.
You need to take a breath.

Truly, you won't know you like law either way until you start practicing. Law school is fun for some and shitty for others. It is nothing like practice, at all. I'm in lit, and I can tell you that a good chunk of my work is just writing motions and/or doing discovery type comb through or compilation.
I felt the same way you did after my first semester- I think I did bottom 40%? Something like that? I felt like a complete dumbass- especially since I chose my T1 on scholly over the T20 options I had thinking I'd be top of the class- and I'd always done well in school, had a grad degree, and was literally a professor, lol. Maybe I am dumber than the rest of my peers, maybe not- the next semester I was in the top 20%- and honestly, it just really depended on the class and prof I had. I think I finished slightly above median- like top 45% lol? I tried to game the curve taking easy classes but would get a B- or something, and then in admin law I scored in the top 3, so it was just a cluster fuck for me.
1) Your grades are less important after 1L unless trying to clerk.
2) Your grades are significantly less important if you are not in the top 20%. In most employer's eyes there is no difference between a top 35% and a bottom 35%. Almost all of my interviewers did not care about my grades, ask or anything, nor did I present them.
3) The practice of law is not related to law school and grades are seriously not predictive of how well you'll perform.
4) You've got time to just get decent grades, being in the bottom 20% is fine, and don't break your back to get straight As, just try not to get below Bs. The 3.0 GPA wall is kinda real, so try not to drop too far below that (if you are at a T14, you should be fine either way tbh).
5) Breathe. Seriously. You may hate law- you aren't dumb, you won't do poorly at your AM or V law firm, you may do splendidly. Do not let some random test and grades define you. You may not be at a V10 firm, boohoo. Maybe you can't clerk SCOTUS, oh well. But god forbid, you may be at a V83 making the same amount of money, or still doing AGA work- it'll be fine, trust me.

nixy

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Re: Terrible 2L. Destroyed any semblance of love or confidence I had in the law.

Post by nixy » Thu Oct 07, 2021 12:34 pm

This sounds like classic imposter syndrome.

OP, how you "feel" isn't a good measure of whether you are smart or capable; our brains lie to us all the time. You're being graded on a curve against people who all had UGPAs and LSATs pretty close to yours, so there's probably not a lot of variation in raw intelligence, and someone is going to get stuck at the bottom of the curve. Don't use grades as your measure of self-worth. But equally, don't decide whether you like something based on whether you get good grades in it, because grades are subjective and artificial. Grades are also a really imperfect measure of whether you'll be a good attorney. How did you do during your summer in biglaw? If you did fine (which it sounds like since it sounds like you have offer?), you'll be fine. Plenty of people with ordinary grades thrive in biglaw, and plenty of people with top grades flame out.

I mean, I realize me making these statements isn't going to change how you feel, but I still wanted to make them. You're beating yourself up for no good reason and attributing power to grades that they don't have. Grades are a means to an end, and once you've achieved that end (getting a job), you shouldn't worry about them. You certainly shouldn't obsess about what sounds like one bad semester out of 4.

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Wild Card

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Re: Terrible 2L. Destroyed any semblance of love or confidence I had in the law.

Post by Wild Card » Thu Oct 07, 2021 4:23 pm

why did this destroy your confidence? did you do particularly well as a 1L or something? if your 1L grades were 6 B+s, and then you got 6 Bs 2L, then that's not so surprising.

my 1L, I got mostly Bs, a B+, and an A-. my 2L and 3L, I got mostly Bs, and once again a mix of B+s and A-s--even one A.

I still have no idea why I did well in some classes, and poorly in the rest, so all I feel is vague sadness. if I knew what I was doing and why I screwed up, for sure, I would feel distraught.

ultimately, grades aren't important unless you want to clerk. if you're transaction, this economy had plenty of my classmates moving from v50 to v5, from v100 to v20. it's insane.

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Prudent_Jurist

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Re: Terrible 2L. Destroyed any semblance of love or confidence I had in the law.

Post by Prudent_Jurist » Thu Oct 07, 2021 5:06 pm

I understand the feelings you're having. I really dislike law school. Right now I'm at the tail end: graduating in December, taking the February bar. I muscled through some 2L summer classes around my midlaw SA program just to graduate a semester early. The prospect of another year of this shit was too daunting.

Like others here, my experience with grades was a rollercoaster. For most of law school, I sat just above median, but that meant squat for Biglaw since I chose a T1 over a T14 for the free ride. 2L fall I got a B in a class I thought I understood extremely well, and I got an A in a class where I didn't know what the hell was going on even after the final. Ultimately, I gave up on trying to score well. I just studied hard. I gave up on social events; I do the bare minimum for my journal. I'm done.

I've attained clarity. I know now that law school is, at least for someone like me, not designed to make me happy, to ensure that I'm academically fulfilled, and not the hallowed ivory tower I anticipated. My other graduate degree was that for me. Law school is a step I tolerate but dislike at my core. It's not that I'm burnt out; it's that I'm a nuclear wasteland.

But I have hope. I know I haven't truly experienced practice yet, but the small amount of work I did I truly enjoyed. While my other summer peers were griping about another memo, I actually loved it. Getting to draft a section for a trial brief? Hell yes. Maybe the law firm will crush my spirits, but at least I'm going in excited. But there's nothing, for me, fulfilling about outlining all semester to write an exam; nothing exciting about writing a memo about some fake client.

I don't know if you can glean anything from my experiences, but you have permission to sit in the back, wear your shades, and flip the bird when you walk out of there after graduation. I absolve you of any guilt you may feel. Grit your teeth now and laugh when you're free. Maybe you'll enjoy law practice; maybe you won't. If you don't, fail upward. Even if you didn't enjoy lawschool, that doesn't mean it was a waste of your time. I'll come out with skills that are valuable; you will too. It's a big world out there; you can make a place in it somewhere.

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nixy

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Re: Terrible 2L. Destroyed any semblance of love or confidence I had in the law.

Post by nixy » Thu Oct 07, 2021 5:10 pm

Law school is absolutely not an academically fulfilling experience, nor is it even really designed to be. It’s a means to obtain a professional credential. That’s it.

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cavalier1138

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Re: Terrible 2L. Destroyed any semblance of love or confidence I had in the law.

Post by cavalier1138 » Mon Oct 11, 2021 3:35 pm

Just to crystallize a thought all these posts are getting at: If you enjoyed (or were interested in) the law before you saw your grades, then nothing has changed. Grades are not an objective measure of anything, especially not whether you will (1) enjoy legal practice or (2) be a good lawyer.

I know it's hard to see beyond school while you're in it, but this is not the end of your career.

IamDoneWithIt

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Re: Terrible 2L. Destroyed any semblance of love or confidence I had in the law.

Post by IamDoneWithIt » Wed Oct 13, 2021 11:30 am

Wild Card wrote:
Thu Oct 07, 2021 4:23 pm
why did this destroy your confidence? did you do particularly well as a 1L or something? if your 1L grades were 6 B+s, and then you got 6 Bs 2L, then that's not so surprising.

my 1L, I got mostly Bs, a B+, and an A-. my 2L and 3L, I got mostly Bs, and once again a mix of B+s and A-s--even one A.

I still have no idea why I did well in some classes, and poorly in the rest, so all I feel is vague sadness. if I knew what I was doing and why I screwed up, for sure, I would feel distraught.

ultimately, grades aren't important unless you want to clerk. if you're transaction, this economy had plenty of my classmates moving from v50 to v5, from v100 to v20. it's insane.
To put this in context, I did quite well 1L year and that, in a total whiplash, got 2 C+ in my Fall 2L year. A B-, too.

That's worse than B's by a good margin. I had personal issues that I know caused it at the time, but my GPA isn't annotated "grades received during time of great personal struggle."

nixy

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Re: Terrible 2L. Destroyed any semblance of love or confidence I had in the law.

Post by nixy » Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:16 pm

If you know you had personal issues that semester that prevented you from doing as well as you normally would, why are you defining yourself by those grades? Would you judge Usain Bolt as a runner based on a race he ran while injured? Why are you concerned you won’t be able to hack it at a firm in future if your poor grades were due to a specific personal issue at the time that presumably isn’t going to affect you at the firm? (Or if it is, then what do you need to do to address that issue?) I’m really baffled why you’re giving grades so much meaning in this specific context. Like I get being annoyed or worried that your grades may preclude some future opportunities (I have no idea if they will, but I get worrying about it), but that’s really different from losing your confidence in your abilities or your enjoyment of law (and to be clear, plenty of people don’t really enjoy law so I wouldn’t actually worry about that, but you say that you used to like it before the bad grades).

This is going to sound rude and it’s not meant to be, but you need to get a shift in perspective.

IamDoneWithIt

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Re: Terrible 2L. Destroyed any semblance of love or confidence I had in the law.

Post by IamDoneWithIt » Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:35 pm

nixy wrote:
Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:16 pm
If you know you had personal issues that semester that prevented you from doing as well as you normally would, why are you defining yourself by those grades? Would you judge Usain Bolt as a runner based on a race he ran while injured? Why are you concerned you won’t be able to hack it at a firm in future if your poor grades were due to a specific personal issue at the time that presumably isn’t going to affect you at the firm? (Or if it is, then what do you need to do to address that issue?) I’m really baffled why you’re giving grades so much meaning in this specific context. Like I get being annoyed or worried that your grades may preclude some future opportunities (I have no idea if they will, but I get worrying about it), but that’s really different from losing your confidence in your abilities or your enjoyment of law (and to be clear, plenty of people don’t really enjoy law so I wouldn’t actually worry about that, but you say that you used to like it before the bad grades).

This is going to sound rude and it’s not meant to be, but you need to get a shift in perspective.
It is not rude to say that. I appreciate the perspective shift you propose. My main concern was the preclusion of future opportunities, which then led to my concerns with practicing generally.

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