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An estimated 2-minute read

The Despondency of Law School- or How I Learned to Start Worrying and Start Hating Law School

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Another year in law school- and another year of disappointment, dissatisfaction, lack of opportunities and a sort of helplessness which compels one to wonder whether there is an extrinsic force that controls one’s life; this coming from someone who is generally suspicious of inexplicable concepts such as fate, luck and destiny.

Good grades don’t seem to be enough. Having a good record does not seem enough. Being pro-active also doesn’t seem to be enough. Securing the best internships too does not seem enough. It is surprising how someone can still be devoid of the productive experiences he or she is searching for in spite of all the above. Perhaps law school is way more than that. One may lack the killer instinct (or the jugaadu nature that seems to be an asset) that is required to survive. Or one may just have made decisions which are textually correct but go absolutely awry for some incomprehensible reason.

These are not the words of a defeatist. These are words of an enthusiastic and exuberant student who entered law school full of promise and expectations. Somewhere down the line, as events kept unfolding, law school seemed like a mistake- in spite of enjoying the subjects and having an aptitude for them. Marks are definitely not a parameter to judge success; however, it increasingly seems to me that aptitude isn’t either.

This growing sense of despair and despondence forces one to search within oneself- what is it that one wants to take away from this legal education. Having spent tons of one’s parent’s money into a law school, one wants to give back to them. The saddest thing is when this conflicts with one’s desire to give back to society as well. Where does personal ambition fit in here?

One also wants to be successful to validate one’s own perception of worth or to be able to receive the accolades of others. All these questions lead to narrower conflicts of law firms v. litigation v. legal NGO’s v. civil services. This may be worsened by the fact that the career defining internship- that internship that helps you zero in on a career path you want to take up after law school- is just as elusive as was your law school seat before entrances.

Then there’s that sinking feeling when you realize that you are not cut out for a competitive law firm workplace environment, or cannot transcend the money factor in litigation or socio- legal activism (or maybe you’re not sure you really enjoy these at all) or aren’t even sure of how to proceed with that alterative career path you think you should try (academia?); makes you wonder if you’re in the right place. If not here, then where? Do we have the patience to hold on to a legal education that may give one rewards after a considerable period of time? Maybe, maybe not. Do we have the courage to out? I don’t see it as an option.

So you missed that amazing internship opportunity that was yours (for your own follies or otherwise), so you messed up a semester for some unfathomable cause (an existential crisis is not an excuse)- chin up! Law school is not a place for whiners or defeatists- but it sure as hell generates a whole lot of them!

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