When You Need an Adult But You Are an Adult

Hendrik, 28    

“[A] Combination of things [brought me to law school]… It was something I had always wanted to do, I was fed up working in the oil industry and wanted to do something good with my life, I had gotten involved with the Democratic party in Alaska, which was on the opposite side of my clients on some important issues; I was bored with the HR role in which I was working at that time; I was looking for an excuse to move back to NJ/NY; my wife was having trouble finding the work she wanted to do in Alaska; and the timing just felt right.  [I left] a promising and already very lucrative career. On the other hand, it was a career that was starting to feel unethical to me, so I was very ready to walk away.”

Getting back into the “swing” of things… I just tried to treat it like a job… Get to school at 8, leave at 5, and study at school, not at home. This part really wasn’t that difficult for me. Harder was learning how to study for law school, which was much different than studying for engineering. 
Biggest shock of coming back to school… Everyone being 5-6 years younger than me: Snapchat; “Try-hard;” craft beer snobbery. 
Greatest challenges in law school… I got a C- on my contracts midterm. I went to see [my contracts Professor], who explained that I was answering questions all wrong. What issue spotting meant to me intuitively was “spot the issue in the gray area that will determine the outcome.” It wasn’t until that meeting with [my professor] that I understood I was supposed to be writing down all the obvious stuff first, and that that’s where most of the points are. It was much different than working, where you are rewarded for quickly getting to the important stuff. 
Greatest resources… [My contracts Professor] for me. I’m sure that most Seton Hall professors would have done the same if I’d spoken to them about a midterm. 
Law school and your personal life… When I was in law school, my wife was working full time and working on a master’s at night. I had the rare experience of being the laziest person in my household while going to law school. Nevertheless, I tried to keep business hours at school and not bring school home. I was pretty successful at that except during the couple weeks before finals, each semester. I did this for 1L and 2L. For 3L, I went home whenever I wanted… I took clinic seriously, but not much else. 
Your Story/Advice… I was the first in my family to go to law school, and I didn’t really have a good idea what to expect, both in terms of classes and jobs. After doing some internships, and especially after starting to work at a law firm after graduation, I realized that the work experience I had was way more valuable than the actual law school. You need the law school credential to do the work, but the day to day stuff is more about good work habits than it is about taking law exams. 

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