Ford PintoCould it really be 28 years since I drove my Pinto station wagon (no air conditioning) across the country from Wisconsin to Sacramento for law school? And no one one told me it would be 105 degrees. Not having been to Sacramento, I pictured it set in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada’s, not in an agricultural valley that looked like a desert.

Peter Lattman at the WSJ’s Law Blog has a wonderful series of guest author posts welcoming 1L’s to law school. But before we get to those leaders in the law, here’s my advice.

  • Enjoy yourself and do not take anything too seriously.
  • Make life long friends. The tension you will all endure will make for strong bonds. You will have the stories, laughs, and memories of a lifetime.
  • Standing up in class and getting grilled by a professor is not all that bad – it’s really rather funny. No one is getting shot at. You will survive.
  • If large law and 160k to start is not what you are after, that’s great. Take classes that are fun and intern with solo’s in small towns, public defenders, and legal services programs. I did it and it’s great.
  • Buy Gilberts or whatever outlines exist today. It is a great experience to go through the Socratic method of teaching, and you’ll learn from it. But there is no reason to be totally in the dark.

Click on the author’s names to get the advice of others.

  • Scott Turow, who thirty years ago published “One L,” his classic autobiographical account of his first year at Harvard Law.
  • Jeffrey Toobin, a 1986 Harvard Law grad, who served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Brooklyn and an associate counsel for Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh before later CNN fame.
  • Saira Rao, a clerk for Third Circuit judge Dolores Sloviter after graduating from NYU Law in 2002, and now author of “Chambermaid,” the story of a young lawyer named Sheila Raj who lands a prestigious Third Circuit clerkship in Philly
  • Cameron Stracher, Harvard Grad and New York Law School professor and author of “Dinner With Dad,” the story of his year-long quest to be home for dinner five days a week as a practicing lawyer.
  • Jeremy Blachman, a 2005 Harvard Law grad, who made a name for himself as author of the popular Anonymous Lawyer blog mocking Large Law.
  • Ron Liebman, a federal prosecutor in Maryland before joining Patton Boggs In DC as a litigation partner at Patton Boggs in D.C., and author of “Death by Rodrigo,” the story two cynical defense attorneys, the “Grand Jury,” and “Shark Tales — True & Amazing Stories from America’s Lawyers.”

And my Pinto did not look near as silly as the one in the picture. Mine was blue – sold it second year in law school for a lime green VW beetle.