Law School Insider | Law School Myths: True or False?

Welcome to Law School Insider! In this multi-part blog series, you will hear directly from current law students about their favorite courses, law school myths, best pre-law tips, and more!

In this edition of Law School Insider, we asked fellow Illini about myths they heard before attending law school and whether they are true or not. Check out their answers below!

Classroom Experience

Law school professors are cold and unapproachable [myth], it’s untrue!”

-Sanjiv S. | University of Illinois College of Law

Your grades alone will dictate your future [myth]. Of course, it’s important to do your best, but firms take a much more holistic approach to hiring than they have in the past.”

-Sydney S. | Georgetown University Law Center

“I heard that law school professors are really cold and stoic and they cold call to embarrass you. This is far from the truth here at Illinois. The professors really want you to succeed and they want you to do well and cold calling is just so that they ensure you are keeping up & are learning as you should.”

-Cierra M. |University of Illinois College of Law

That cold-calling is the stuff of nightmares [myth]. It’s definitely not true! Even if you completely bomb a cold call (which happens to everyone at some point), it will not negatively impact your grade and everyone will have forgotten by the next class if not sooner.”

-Amanda W. | Duke University School of Law

That cold-calling is scary and everyone will remember when you failed [myth]. Cold calling, for most professors, will happen frequently and it is normal to be wrong! No one will remember when you failed (unless you keep reminding people about how it happened, so let it go!).”

-Vanessa A. | Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Cold calls are terrifying [myth]. They aren’t. Unless you get a really intimidating professor. Another was that you would need to work at least 60 hrs a week to be successful. That is kinda true unless you are just the most efficient human ever.”

-Nick S. | University of Illinois College of Law


“My favorite myth is that law school is competitive. In my experience, while students are graded in comparison to one another, everyone I have met has been incredibly supportive of one another and always willing to help. If you are surrounding yourself with people who want to compare grades, then remove yourself from that situation. Law school is stressful enough and it is important to be around peers who support your achievements!”

-Ashley T. | George Washington University Law School

That law school is kill or be killed [myth]. While there is obviously lots of competition and your performance in class is important, it is possible to help other classmates and do well yourself. I have made many friends here at Loyola and it hasn’t affected my ability to be successful in the classroom or with jobs.”

-Dan S. | Loyola University Chicago School of Law

“I would say one myth I heard a lot is that law school is very competitive and that people are out to get one another. While I do think that it is a competitive environment because there are a lot of smart individuals and the curve forces everyone to compete for grades, the University of Illinois College of Law still has a great environment where the students actually like each other and support one another.”

-Mackenzie M. | University of Illinois College of Law

That it is a lot like high school, and very competitive [myth]. The former is true, and the latter is not (at least at my school)!”

-Margaret B. | DePaul University College of Law

That people would be unsocial or extremely competitive [myth]. My school certainly has that reputation but people genuinely seem to want to help each other do well. And everyone wants to have a good time, so socialize!”

-Khalil R. | University of Chicago Law School

That people rip out pages of library textbooks so that their peers can’t read them [myth]. Not even close.”

-Alberto V. | University of Chicago Law School

Look to the left and right. One of the people next to you won’t graduate with you [myth]. Absolutely not true. Yes, it is hard, but people are not failing out constantly.”

-Clara T. | Southern University Carbondale School of Law


That the readings would be hundreds of pages every week [myth]. I’m sure this can be true depending on the class and Professor, but I’ve had classes that assigned 4 pages of reading for a class session.”

-Noah S. | William and Mary Law School

Law students never sleep/don’t have time to sleep [myth]. I actually prioritize sleep because it makes me feel better, I avoid sickness and I am sharper for classes. It is not hard to maintain an adequate night’s sleep.”

-Kayla C. | DePaul University College of Law

That you’ll have no free time whatsoever [myth]. It is ABSURD. Yes, there will be blocks of weeks where things are stressful and you’re working from sunrise to sunset, but generally, I have plenty of time to spend with my friends and relax.”

-Tara S. | Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

“Not sure about this being my “favorite” myth, but that law school is a lot of reading… they weren’t kidding! It is, but there are resources out there to help you understand the material. While it does feel like a lot, you do learn to read faster as time goes on and get the bigger picture a lot quicker.”

-Skylar R. | Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

1L, 2L, and 3L Years…

That an alarming amount of people drop out their first year [myth]: Although there are a few, the College of Law really focuses on and encourages students to work collaboratively rather than competitively. They want to see every single student succeed. That people know what they are talking about… No one knows anything when they walk into law school and everyone has imposter syndrome. You are not alone!! The intensity behind cold calls. Although they can be scary, it is okay to say “I don’t know”!! Do your readings and you will be fine (coming from an introvert).”

-Taylor H. | University of Illinois College of Law

“My favorite myth about law school is that it’s easy after the first year. This was false. You learn how to handle law school better after the first year, but it is important to keep working hard after your first year. Your previous experience will help you tackle your work in a more efficient manner.”

-Darius C. | Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

“There’s a popular phrase regarding law students’ experiences each year of law school: during 1L they scare you to death, during 2L they work you to death, and during 3L they bore you to death. There is some truth to this myth. 1L can definitely be a scary time as you’re trying to become acclimated to a whole new style of school and figure out the direction you want to take in your career. 2L can definitely be stressful as you take on more extracurricular activities and work to secure an ideal second-summer job. 3L can be boring because you’ve generally acclimated to the law school teaching style and might even have a post-graduation job lined up. But these generalizations are not guaranteed outcomes. I’m a firm believer that law school is what you make of it, and if you go into it with a healthy mindset and clear goals about what you want your experience to look like, you can turn that whole myth on its head.”

-Ben T. | University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

That the first year is an absolute grind [myth]. Definitely true, you lose a lot of free time, and doing well requires a lot of dedication.”

-Justin M. | Loyola Law School, Los Angeles

That your first year you will be scared to death [myth]. To some extent, it is true because the newness of it all and the way the material is taught is different compared to undergrad. However, it’s important to stay the course, and things will make more sense as time goes on.”

-Maciek C. | University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School

1L is the hardest year. [myth] I hope this is true!”

-Jillian W. | New England Law Boston

“I heard this many times. 1L they scare you to death. 2L they work you to death. 3L they bore you to death. I have about four weeks left of my 2L year, and thus far, that adage is very true! Also, I thought 1L was a ton of work, but it’s also a ton of fun. The bonds you form with your section as a 1L are so impactful.”

-Michael B. | University of Illinois College of Law

1L year is the hardest year [myth]. In some ways, it is true, in others no. While it is a major brain change and incredibly challenging, 2L year challenges you in more ways by putting more on your plate.”

-Austin M. | Marquette University Law School

1L scare you to death, 2L work you to death, 3L bore you to death [myth]. So far so true.”

-Randy X. | Chicago-Kent College of Law

Don’t go to law school! You’ll regret it [myth]. There are a lot of lawyers who, unfortunately, regret that they chose to go to law school, but if you’re going to law school for the right reasons (i.e. that you genuinely want to) then it’s hard to regret that decision! I’m so glad that I didn’t let people discourage me from going and grateful that I’ve found so much joy and fulfillment during my three years of law school.”

-Erica H. | George Washington University Law School