Ethan Is A 1L Now! What Does That Mean?

Posted by Thursday, August 21, 2014 0 3

For some of us recent grads, continuing our education beyond the bounds of a bachelor’s was never in the cards. Because if you have the ability to start down your chosen career path without a master’s, Ph.D., or J.D., that’s excellent.

But some passions require “higherer” education (as I will refer to it) to be fulfilled and that is where grad school, med school, and law school come in. And it just so happens that my boyfriend Ethan, the 1L, began law school orientation this week.

For those of you who don’t know Ethan on a personal level I will give you a tiny bit of background on the man. Ethan and I both graduated from NYU this past spring, where he majored in Philosophy and Linguistics.

His father happens to be a lawyer and he grew up knowing quite a few lawyers, and around the middle of his undergrad career he decided that the legal profession would be a good fit for him as well.

So in the spring of his junior year he began the process of studying for the LSAT and preparing for the law school admissions process. He took the test that summer (did quite well in my opinion) and then began his applications.

That fall we attended a Law School Forum in New York, where he met representatives from law schools all across the country, and a few from outside the country, like the University of Melbourne (What up, Aussie Lawyers?).

He applied to several schools (sadly, none in Australia) and received many acceptances and scholarship offers. But in the end, the USC Gould School of Law was his choice, as it was the right fit for both of us.

I say for both of us because the decision to stay together after college meant the decision for “where” after college we’d be “staying together,” was a choice to be made together.

With my journalism career to keep in mind, some schools weren’t an option because the journalism industry just wasn’t in high gear in those areas.

But LA was always at the top of our list of ideal locals, as Ethan’s family is there and the journalism scene is happenin’. And so when Ethan got into USC he couldn’t have been happier.

So USC it was, and here we are. And as of yesterday my love is a 1L.


What is a 1L?

To put it simply, a 1L is a first year law school student. But to ask anyone about to start their first year of law school, or currently in the thick of it, you would think it’s the most terrifying noun you could be. Why?

Because law school is tough. And the first year of school is deemed the toughest by almost everyone who has been through that particular wringer.

Seriously, the amount of prep books (1L of a Ride), first hand accounts (One L: The Turbulent True Story of A First Year at Harvard Law School), and good (Legally Blonde) and bad (The Paper Chase) movies, depicting the life of a 1L are staggering.

I myself read One L to understand what Ethan was getting himself into, because the actual prep books he was reading were of no use to me. And I plan to read The “Companion Text” to Law School: Understanding and Surviving Life with a Law Student, which was written by the author of one of Ethan’s prep books, who suggests it for all loved ones of law students.

But honestly, reading One L was enough. There were points in the book when I felt physical discomfort from the experiences the author, Scott Turow, described himself going through. I felt for him, his classmates, and his wife, all of whom were affected by this scary time. Turow also wrote the book immediately following his 1L year, so the memories were still fresh in his mind when he put pen to paper.

And because the book was written in the late 70s, I don’t know whether Ethan, being a 1L almost 40 years later, is in for a tamer or more intense experience. But I’m ready for it to go either way.

Here is what the man himself had to say on the matter after completing his first day of orientation at USC:

My first day on the road toward becoming a lawyer was, on the whole, a successful start. While I experienced the expected combination of nervousness and excitement, it was good to meet my fellow students and get a feel for the environment where I will spend quite a bit of time. While I don’t have a complete knowledge of how the following semester/year/ 3 years will play out, yesterday served to fill in many gaps in my knowledge of how those experiences might occur.

We will touch base with Ethan throughout the coming year to see how his opinion/mental state changes. But for right now, he’s excited, I’m excited, and things are looking sunny.

And for those “grown-ups” about to 1L, I salute you.

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