I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. –Phil. 4:13
Well, it’s been almost a year already. I’ve finished my first two semester’s of law school and will be considered a 2L (second year law student) by the end of the summer. I still have a ways to go (my projected graduation date is May 2019), but it’s been amazing to see how fast time has gone by.
Being a law student is intense. To give you a sense, let me tell you about my first two weeks. First, reading begins one week before classes start. I had to read 250 plus pages of cases and brief them (all while finishing the last two weeks of my Bachelor’s degree as well, but that’s another story). Reading law really is like reading another language. There are few things that compare to the mental push and focus (and the strange endorphine like sensation that comes from studying something like that so hard) of learning to read law other than learning a foreign language. The closest thing to it was when I learned Spanish.
Not only are you struggling to just understand the language, but the concepts as well. We do this by briefing a case, where you type or write up a short written brief of what the facts in the case were, the issue, the procedure, the rule, the application, and the conclusion that the court reached. All in hopes to grasp the “black letter law” (the rules) and how to apply them.
All this is expected to be done before each class. While in class the professor calls on students at random and asks them to explain the case to the rest of the class (brief it) while he or she socratically asks you questions about the case to help you and the class better understand it. So, if you didn’t read the case, or if you didn’t brief it properly, and get called on, you are going to look like an idiot. Depending on the teacher you will get different reactions if you don’t know the case, some will kick you out of the class that day and put you down as absent. Others will wait as long as it takes for you to figure out what was in the case, even if that means you and the entire class have to wait until you read it and explain it. Most of the time though, the people that do that don’t make it past the first few weeks. You can’t come to class unprepared and survive law school.
Trinity Law School (where I go) grades on a curve– as most law schools do. This means that there is only one A available for every class, and there are guaranteed F’s. You could have known the law, but been the worst at applying it and so fail the class. Also, in the core doctrinal classes there are only two assignments that count towards your grade. A mid term where you have one hour to write an essay based on a fact pattern that’s presented. And the final where you have 3 hours to do 30 multiple choice questions and two essays. The final is generally worth between 75% to 90% of your grade. This means you work hard for the entire semester, and only have three hours to compete for a passing grade to show for it.
On top of that, just to survive, I would read multiple books outside the required reading and every day I would drive I would listen to lectures on the law. As I would go through a course I would create an outline to remember and condense what I learned. By the time that finals are close by you will also do hundreds of multiple choice questions and at least five to fifteen essays per class just for practice. I spent between 8 to 12 hours a day studying 6 days a week (give or take a few slow 6 hour days). You can’t sorta know the law and how to apply it. You have to know it. Only the strong and the blessed make it in law school. There is no room for failure.
Law school is hard.
And yet I love it. I love it because it is a perfect combination of all that I feel like God has made me to do. I love it because it will give me a trade where I can provide for myself and others and still minister without being a burden to anyone. I love it because its just the right amount of hard, but still doable. I really believe this was His calling, and it was His plan to bring me here. I have Phil. 4:13 on my desktop and look at it every day– it’s a reminder to me that with Christ I can do anything. And its true. God took an underachiever, who barely graduated high school, and brought him to law school. It is only by His grace and His strength that I have made it this far. I never thought it would be possible, but with God it is.
I have also had the opportunity to be involved in the Christian Legal Society and the Federalist Society. With the Federalist Society I began as a 1L rep and recruited members to the club. Just last month I was elected as the President of the Federalist Society Student Chapter and have the opportunity to fly out to Washington D.C. for a weekend leadership conference — all on the bill of the Federalist Society (they pay for airfare, hotel stays, and food while at the conference). It’s been a dream of mine to go to D.C. someday, and now I get to go and not only see it but be a part of it. If you don’t know about the Federalist Society, they recommended the recently confirmed Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch to Trump. It’s a great honor to be a part of this Society, and it was basically handed to me by the grace of God.
I also was elected as the Attorney Liaison for the Christian Legal Society and have enjoyed the opportunity to get to know, and fellowship with, other Christian students and attorneys on campus. It’s nice to be in some form of ministry again after so long from being out of it (although I never stopped, I only stopped having a “title”). Being a part of these clubs is a great opportunity, but its also a big sacrifice when time is so limited in the busy life of a law student. So prayers would be appreciated.
I’m so thankful and blessed. God really did know better, and He does have a plan. And we can do all things through Christ, just as long as it is something that He is calling you to. I’m excited to see what God does with all this in the future. I know it will continue to be hard (law school only gets harder, and then of course there is the bar), but I know God will be with me.
I just wanted to update you all and share with you how blessed, and yet how hard, it has all been. I will keep you updated on how things go, especially the D.C. trip. Thank you to all of you who have prayed for me. Your prayers have been heard, and I’m thankful for you! Don’t stop praying though, God knows I will need it.