Never in my life have I been repeatedly asked the same questions so many times as in the first week of law school. These questions are standard and so frequently repeated that by the end of the first day of orientation a new friend suggested to me that it might be faster to simply write on all of our foreheads the following information: name, hometown, undergraduate university, and undergraduate degree. These four questions are the basics that you find yourself asking everyone, even as you feel a small twinge of guilt for being so unoriginal and barely scratching the surface of who your classmates truly are. For a while, I attempted to switch it up by asking people what their favourite band was, but let’s face it, that’s basically impossible to answer without having the time to develop a series of flow charts and highly complex ranking system.
If you talk to someone longer than the amount of time it takes to cover the Fundamental Four, the next question is often “So, why law school?” Several of my small group members have concrete, concise answers for this and I am slightly intimidated by their conviction in the fact that this has always been where they belonged. My own path, on the other hand, has entailed a series of events which culminated in the decision to go to law school.
I first had a taste of what it might be like to practice law in grade 7 when my class did a mock trial. I was one of the defence attorneys and standing in the heritage court downtown in my gown, I felt completely in my element. In high school I somehow wound up in almost all science courses and entered university as a science major, unsure of what I would do after I graduated. After two years at UVic, I decided to transfer to UBC and get my B.Sc in psychology, which I thought would eventually lead to a Ph.D in clinical psychology. I really loved a number of my upper-year courses, but after a year of volunteering in a lab cleaning rat cages and observing their sexual activity (I wish I were joking about that, but unfortunately I’m not), I became somewhat disenchanted with research. Around the same time, I took a forensic psychology course with a truly phenomenal professor and my interest in law was reignited. As a result, I decided to write the LSAT and take it from there.
The last stop on my way to deciding that law was probably for me was in late April 2010 when the class average for an 8 credit stats course was dropped to 72% from 81% at the very end of the year, thereby violating several university policies (fact: they were supposed to have scaled throughout the course). A fellow classmate and I wound up fighting the head of the department on the issue and successfully had our class’s average raised 5%, a pretty significant victory considering when we went into our first meeting with him we were promptly told that while he “sort of” felt bad for us, there was no way he was going to change it. Regardless of the outcome, I thoroughly enjoyed researching my case and became even more interested in the possibility of doing it for a living.
Long story short, my path to law has not been a straightforward one. There are no lawyers in my family, no philosophy or political science courses under my belt, no debate teams, nothing; simply a string of relatively random experiences. I’m interested to learn more about my fellow 1Ls’ journeys as the year goes on because we are definitely an eclectic mix. So, on that note (yes, I am predictable…), why law school?