The 3L Winter Break

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The third year of law school is regrettably still a thing. Most people will line up jobs at the start of their second year, which leaves you wondering what the point of the third year is. At any rate, here’s what I’ve been doing with my third year.

Traveling

Judging from Facebook statuses it seems like half the law school is studying or traveling abroad right now. I plan on taking my own trip to Japan in a few weeks. It’ll be my first time in the country and I’m extremely excited to try as much authentic Japanese food as time will allow.

The highlight of my trip will be a full day at a sumo tournament. I’ve been casually following sumo for years. The highest rank in sumo is called yokozuna. There are currently three active yokozuna. I’m hoping to see one of them lose to a lower ranked wrestler. Whenever that happens, all the people in the posh seats throw their seat cushions into the ring, and since my girlfriend was awesome enough to get us into the posh seats, guess what I’ll be doing?

Experiential Learning

By the time you’re a 3L you’ll be pretty sick of regular classes. By now I feel like I have law school classes figured out. You read a bunch. Find a good outline and supplement. Get your notes together into an outline . . . Yaaaawn. So instead of wasting a whole year on classes, many 3Ls will do some sort of experiential learning.

Experiential learning includes internships, clinics, and role-play classes (where you might work on a pretend deal or appeal). I’ve opted to go the internship rout. I’ve signed up for three internships during the year. Last semester I got to prosecute misdemeanor domestic violence cases and work for an amazing federal judge. Next semester I’ll be working on antitrust cases with the Department of Justice. As a third year, you’ll get significantly more responsibility than you would earlier and it can be incredibly satisfying to do real work.

Hobbies

You should know that as much as law students whine about how hard law school is, it’s really not that hard. And you have plenty of extra time, especially as a 3L. So why not get into a new hobby? I’ve started learning Japanese. I can recognize about a thousand Japanese characters using a cool mnemonic method called “Remembering the Kanji.” And thanks to Japanese Level Up, I can read and understand very basic sentences. My favorite is: 俺はつまらないから結婚できないだろう。It means, “I’m boring, so I probably can’t get married.” If you’re going to a big firm after law school, you probably won’t have a ton of time to start a new hobby. But if you can get fairly decent at something in a year, it’ll be much easier to keep it going when you get a busier.

While it’s lame that you have to spend another year’s worth of tuition on law school, 3L can be fun, if you make the best of it.

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