Advice for your law student self: crowdsourced -by Dr. Rebecca Jaremko
Knowing what you know now, what would you tell your younger law student self?
Twenty years after graduating from law school, I found myself teaching first-year law students at Robson Hall. It is not without irony or ambivalence that, twenty years in, having traveled the roads of many legal jobs, I find myself welcoming and seeking to encourage new law students on the cusp of entering our profession.
Since I’m unsure of what to tell students as they enter lives as lawyers, I thought I would crowdsource some responses.
The confluence of events of my reunion – at which no one who showed up was where they thought they would be on graduation – this teaching role, the pandemic, and a dramatic rise in awareness of the mental health and workload struggles, and substance abuse problems, endemic to the legal profession, led me to question what we as a profession should say to new law students starting out. So, I sent my students on a mission to interview lawyers, asking a series of questions that would differ depending upon the context, but invariably to ask a final question as follows.
Knowing what you know now, what would you tell your younger, law student, self?
The responses received seemed worth sharing.
The following list is a compilation of words of advice that the obliging and generous lawyers of the Manitoba Bar provided to my students. With gratitude to my students and to the practitioners who gave of their most precious resource - their time – to say these things, here it is:
· Set your priorities and stick to them; don’t waiver.
· Learn about vicarious trauma and protect yourself as best you can.
· Take it one file at a time. There will always be another. Just do your best on the one in front of you.
· Cut yourself some slack.