Hello, and welcome to the Mizzou Law Career Development blog! My name is Blair Bopp, and I am currently in my third and final year of law school. For this post, I have chosen to discuss law school success from my perspective. Of course, experiences vary from person to person, and this is simply my unique take. However, I am hopeful that you may relate in some way, and if nothing else, allow reading this to reiterate that success is often a subjective determination.
Some of the best decisions I’ve made in law school had their foundations in choices I made before ever starting at Mizzou Law. During my senior year of college, I felt burnt out and was grappling with the “existential crisis” many of us go through during that time (“What am I supposed to do with my life?”; “Why did I get degrees I can’t do anything with?”). I knew from about sixth grade on that I wanted to become a lawyer someday, but after I graduated with two bachelor’s degrees, I made the decision to take some time off. I felt I would go back to school eventually, but I really needed some time to decompress and refocus on what I wanted out of my life.
When I came back to Mizzou for law school in 2013, I was eager to jump back into academic life. It, apparently, was not as eager to have me back. I struggled a lot during my 1L year, and was ill for an extended period of time to boot. The constant thought that maybe I had made a mistake played on a loop in my mind. As 1L year drew to a close, I wondered if I was crazy for continuing. I was here in the hopes of a successful career, but harbored the constant fear that no one would ever hire me.
That was about the time that I decided to define my own brand of law school success. I started by developing a game plan. When you’re in school, people are always telling you that you “have time to figure it out,” or that you should “keep your options open.” For me, that was causing too much stress and anxiety. I thought long and hard about the things that have drawn me to the legal profession, and what I want out of my ideal career. In this way, I became drawn to the idea of prosecution. The more I tossed the idea around, the more I liked it. So instead of taking a wide variety of classes just to dabble in different areas of the law, I began to treat my limited time in law school as “pre-job” training. I set out to become the most marketable candidate I can possibly be, through careful selection of classes, organization affiliations, internship experiences, and research areas.
Since I made the decision to narrow the scope of my time in law school to things related primarily to a career in prosecution, I have performed better, been happier, and felt much more motivated than was previously the case. The reason I wanted to share my experience with you is in hopes that if you are a 1L, or someone who is thinking about attending law school, beginning with the end in mind can have a profound impact on your success – both objectively and subjectively speaking.