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This is the Real Problem For Zero Ls

The One L problem is not the amount of work. Problem number one is that if you are the typical law student, you simply don’t know how to study. Better put, you don’t know how to sit still.

No doubt, you were smart enough all through school that you just cruised along with very little effort. Sure, there were the occasional papers or projects that required focused time on something. But the brainpower work—actually understanding the concepts? Everything in high school was kind of a joke.

And, surprise, surprise, that turns out to be pretty much true in college as well. Like I said before, if you don’t take the hard sciences in college, being successful in college never really requires extraordinary effort. But if you put in extraordinary effort in the hard sciences, chances are that you are not in law school. You are in med school killing yourself for the promise of a high paying future, or you are in engineering or architecture or chemistry kinds of grad schools, killing yourself for the promise of a mediocre paying future.

So if you were like me, you slouched into the humanities, you leaned into the liberal arts. Why? Ultimately for me it was because when it came down to it, I didn’t want to slog it out in the hard sciences. “I’m a words guy,” I used to say to myself, like I compiled dictionaries or something. Call it a character defect, a lack of will, whatever.

Plain and simple: School is a blast without work. It’s like summer camp with beer. I ended up in the National Honor Society without breaking a sweat. You probably did too.  Why change that great arrangement in college? I didn’t.  And hey, after waltzing through college on brainpower alone—and it didn’t require that much brainpower, come to think of it—I can just get into law school and secure my future in the upper middle class. Nice and tidy. All of this success with very little real work along the way. It’s the American dream.

But now you are actually in law school, and believe me, the halfhearted smart kid strategy is about to turn on you. You are about to hit the wall, as marathoners say.  You have snuck by on good looks and talent far too long; the other shoe is about to drop.

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