I do know that it’s not technically Monday anymore, but I thought I’d start the week off with a post topic that I might keep going for a while. Who knows. We’re doing Monday Misconceptions or Monday Myths or whatever else you want to call it. Basically, things you thought were true about law school before you went there. Are they true? We’ll see.

Today’s myth is about frenemies.

I really hate that term. I think it was coined by some celebrity gossip blog or something, but it kind of fits the situation.

Basically, before coming to law school, I heard that it was cutthroat. Ruthless. People would go to the library to rip pages out of the books the class needed for research, so only they would have access. Your classmates will smile to your face, but if you turn around, they’ll stab you in the back.

The reality? Well, it’s just like any other situation where you have very smart, very competitive people all housed together, working toward the same prize.

After being here for one year, I can confidently say that the majority of your classmates will be exceedingly helpful. I have had classmates email me notes when I had the flu. I had a classmate track down an outline for me to use on an exam. One especially awesome classmate covered for me when I had a huge assignment due the next day (for work) and was on call in a class I skipped! I’ve had classmates share their books and study tips and Emanuel’s with me. I’ve even had classmates share job tips with me, which, in this economy, is a huge favor.

Then there are the small percentage of your classmates who perpetuate the stereotype. I once had a classmate stab me in the back over a job prospect I’d shared with him. It was a shitty thing to do and, even though he didn’t get the job either, it seriously undermined my trust in my classmates in general. But I still have to smile and pretend we’re friends so as not to create drama. We, along with other classmates, go out for drinks sometimes. We say hi and sit together at lunch. But under no circumstances will I trust him again. We’re frenemies.

So the gist of what I’m saying is that yes, law school is a pretty competitive place. There might be a classmate or two who will make you regret trusting them… but the vast majority of your classmates will be incredibly awesome, and might well become some of your best friends. Competitive? Yes. Cutthroat? Not usually.

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