: The Blawgraphy
Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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I was a film major

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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I was. It’s true. A film major. It’s not the kind of thing I bring up when lawyers or professors ask me about my undergrad. I honestly don’t know how in the hell I ended up in law school. Neither does any one else. I think my father is still sort of hoping I’ll just be a writer, you know, the starving, great-American-novel kind. I may not make any money, but at least he wouldn’t have to think of me out there, you know, suing people. The folks I knew in film school are generally baffled and saddened at my transition. At best, I’ve sold out artistically. At worst, I’ve just become, well, ordinary, that is to say, ambitious in most cloyingly bourgeois way.

Joys of Law School Orientation

It’s an easy thing to not explain. I mention it now only because we just had orientation for the incoming class of evening students at the University of Houston and it reminded me how much fun law school is. It also reminded me of the awkward intermingling of exhilaration and terror those first few weeks can bring. Orientation is the speed dating of law school. You get to answer the same three questions – (1) the who, what, where, why of your undergrad (2) why you came to law school and (3) what kind of law you want to practice – over and over and over again. None of this matters or is very interesting to anyone, but it’s all most people can think of to talk about in between the scintillating presentations on how to set up e-mail and how to calculate your impending debt load. My advice – make crap up. It keeps it interesting and no one really cares or remembers.

At the time, however, knowing the answers to these questions can seem very, very, very important. Some of your classmates, you soon learn, are already planning a lucrative ERISA practice, parlaying their extensive experience of having had or heard of a 401(k) into an associateship at Blah, Blah & Blah downtown law firm where they’ll get some experience before making the jump to General Counsel at BlahCorp. You may not know how eye-scaldingly boring and yet still preposterous that sounds for a while yet. For some of you, your failure to concoct such an elaborate plan for your life’s work seems to make plain to everyone your nagging suspicion that you have no idea what you’re doing here and obviously there has been some sort of programming error in the computer system at admissions. Relax.

I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, and Doggone It Law School Likes Me

People show up at law school for all types of reasons. Maybe you come from a family of lawyers and dare not disappoint. Maybe you’re just naturally combative and need to channel it into a socially redeeming avenue before someone snaps and kills you. Maybe you want to save the whales. Maybe you want to sue the whales. The chances are the reason you showed up to law school will change, probably more than once. The reason why is far less important than how you react when once you get there. Rehnquist, the late Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, famously went to law school after taking an occupational test that told him he should be a lawyer. Just think, you were bright enough to come up with the idea of going to law school all by yourself.

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Category: advice to law students, law school, university of houston


One Response

  1. Meagan says:

    Ooh, marine life lawsuits. I hadn’t even considered those yet… ;)

    Thanks again for hosting a great happy hour.

    ~ Meagan (incoming evening 1L)

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