If you’ve decided to go to law school or are already a student in one, you probably know what is expected of you. The best students at law school set the standards for the rest to follow – high grades, participation in all activities that matter, and finally, on graduation, a plum job at one of the best law firms in the country. In fact, most law firms hire law school graduates based on their grades and the level of their co-curricular activities.
But, although grades are important, they are not the only criteria for success in your real life as a lawyer. Some of the best attorneys who enjoy successful legal practices today did not have the perfect grades at school. In fact, most of what they have achieved, they have done so through experience in and outside the courtroom.
So if your grades are not so good, if you’re likely to keep to yourself rather than participate in activities like Law Review and others that count towards your future job prospects, it’s not cause for too much concern. What’s more important than grades is:
- Knowing what you want to achieve in life – if you think you would be better suited to work in a smaller firm where you have a greater amount of responsibility and a better chance to climb up the promotion ladder, follow your dreams rather than getting caught up in rat race for the plum jobs in large legal corporate houses.
- Setting a plan and adhering to it – if you think you have what it takes to become a good lawyer, you need to work hard for it. There are ways to impress and convince employers even when your grades don’t show you in a positive light. If you’re passionate about your career in law, it will come across in interviews. At the end of the day, it’s not your grades that matter, but how well you are able to grasp real-world situations and apply the knowledge that you’ve learned for the benefit of your clients.
- Achieving a balance between work and personal life – when you become a law student, you sort of expect to keep long hours. This continues and becomes worse after you graduate and secure a job. It is important to keep your nose to the grindstone, but not at the cost of everything else in your life that matters, like family, friends and other social and recreational activities.
Life is not graded according to our grades in school, so it’s time we stopped burning ourselves out in trying to be the perfect law school grad with the perfect grades.
This article is written by Kat Sanders, who regularly blogs on the topic of online court reporter school at her blog Court Reporter Schools. She welcomes your comments and questions at her email address: firstname.lastname@example.org .