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It isn’t that she doesn’t miss you or wouldn’t love to hear from you – she’s just really busy and probably stressed out. She may really want to help you, but please don’t pressure her into making that kind of choice.If she doesn’t return your calls/IMs/texts/carrier pigeons, don’t panic. (And if you do actually pick up a hobby, introduce it to your law student when finals are over! Having a law student in your life can be a challenging experience, but a rewarding one.Hopefully this little post will promote more of the latter. Special thanks to the many law students who provided me with their words of wisdom! Though NYU Law students are a diverse bunch in many ways, there are traits and common understandings we come to share as we go through this journey together.As they say, above all, law school teaches students how to think like lawyers.Recently, I wondered: if I could have given my loved ones a little pamphlet called “Knowing Your Law Student” before I began my 1L year, what would it have said? At some point, your law student will enthusiastically tell you about something interesting she’s learned. Law school is remarkably good at putting a bubble around students that convinces them that everyone understand what they’re talking about. There may be a drop in your law student’s ability to tend to the non-law school parts of his life. Should any conflict arise during this time, address it in a calm manner at an appropriate time. It may not be The Paper Chase, but it’s not Sesame Street, either.
Students, feel free to send a link to this post to your loved ones (or print this page and mail it to those less tech-savvy loved ones). Legalese will find its way into your dinner conversations. If you really want to bone up on the subject, by all means – but it’s certainly not required. It reminds us that there’s still a whole other world outside law school, and that can be incredibly refreshing. Voice your needs when appropriate – and, if possible, not during final exams time. Much more could be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. During final exam season, you may want to find yourself a hobby. You may feel helpless to comfort them – but actually, it’s quite the opposite.
Your law student has other law students to talk about that stuff with, anyway. When the law student in your life says she’s busy, over and over again…she probably is. You may hear from your law student less around this time of year. You have the power to ground your law student in reality, and remind them of the bigger picture. Your law student can face very serious, even career-threatening consequences for giving legal advice, and she knows it.
It all develops very naturally, gradually, almost insidiously.
Then, the inevitable occurs: that moment when you realize that one of your loved ones on the outside just . Maybe it was when your friend from college came into town for the weekend, clearly assuming you could go three days without doing a lick of work whatsoever.
Or when your significant other’s eyes glazed over when you discussed the fascinating world of the non-delegation doctrine.
Or when that family member *shudder* asked you for legal advice.