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Michael Hartley, 2L's picture

My name is Michael Hartley and I am 21 years old. I went to undergraduate school at Rhode Island College where I graduated with a B.A. in Political Science with a concentration in Public Administration and a minor in History. While at college, I served as a member of the Student government for...

Michael Hartley, 2L's Post

1L Year vs. 2L Year

Posted by Michael Hartley on 09/29/2013 at 02:23 AM

This analysis is to show 2Ls how far they have come from just one year in law schoo,l and to give 1Ls hope that the worst is near an end. Let's be honest, 3Ls won't be too interested in this analysis, expect maybe to see how right/wrong it is.

After a solid month of being a 2L, there are many changes I have observed from 1L year. One is the workload. There is a substantial increase in the workload from 1L year. However, it feels as if there is a so much less work and so much less pressure as a 2L. For example,  if I had to read 50 pages in 1L year over a weekend for Monday I would feel like that was so much and I would get stressed and feel like I couldn't do it. As a 2L, I might have to read 100 pages for Monday I know it'll get done at some point. I think this change happens because you grow accustomed to the work. You know how to read what you're reading and that's a significant skill. During 1L year, I had to literally re-read cases 1, 2 or 3 times before they sunk in. That was extremely time-consuming. I don't think I've re-read a case this year (though that might not be a bad idea).

Secondly, in 2L year I have a significant uptick in extracurriculars (as does almost every 2L that I talk to). 1L year I felt like I couldn't do anything besides my coursework and even that was barely keeping my head above water. I was also the 1L Rep on SBA (the Student Bar Association), but that was it. This year, I have coursework, an internship, am a member of the Honor Board, and am President of Alliance. I feel like I'm swimming fine in the same water I struggled in last year, even though I have much more commitments. I think this is from a combination of what I've already discussed, but also learning how to manage your time better. This is an invaluable skill law school forces you to learn in order to be successful. 

Lastly, a huge difference from 1L year to 2L year is how cold calling is handled by students. Personally I have gotten to the point where cold calling does not phase me whatsoever and I know many 2Ls who feel the same way. As a 1L, I know many are terrifed of cold calling. It's really no big deal. When the professor calls on you, you say something. As long as its somewhat relevant and you have a well-reasoned argument to back it up, you are going to be fine. The law seldomly has clear cut right or wrong answers. The professor is looking for analysis to get you to really digest the material. And hey, if you are dead wrong, at least you were dead wrong in class rather than on your exam. Learn from it and move on. Don't dwell on it.

I hope that this was helpful to some 1Ls and showed some 2Ls how they've changed.