What is it like to live with law students?
August 5, 2010 9:11 PM   Subscribe

What is it like living with law students as roommates?

Asking for a friend -

My friend is going to be a first year pharmacy student who is living with two other first year law students. After checking out their facebook profiles - this friend is concerned that living with these two other individuals will be a detriment to academic studies. This friend is set to move in soon(!) but is thinking of pulling out now because having every weekend filled with heavy drinking implicit in ideas/conversations might make life hard. Any law students care to chime in?? Thanks!
posted by proficiency101 to Human Relations (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Some law students drink heavily, but usually only for the first month of school, then it's time to get your shit together and study. However, not all law students drink heavily, just the ones that would be be heavy drinkers otherwise. If their facebook profiles make them seem like heavy drinkers, then maybe she should be concerned, but if she is only concerned because she found out they're law students, it's kind of unfounded. I know some pharmacy students who party pretty hard, and I'm a law student who doesn't party hard. YMMV.
posted by ishotjr at 9:13 PM on August 5, 2010

having every weekend filled with heavy drinking implicit in ideas/conversations

What does this mean?
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:17 PM on August 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I once had a room-mate who was a law student - she didn't party hard at all (too much studying to do). However, more than once I tripped over humongous law books while walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night. And forget about having dinner parties - every table in your friend's place will be covered with immense, expensive law texts.
posted by analog at 9:25 PM on August 5, 2010

Uh, what?

This seems like projection of fears to me.

They're gonna be studying non-stop, because for them, class rank has real economic implications.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:25 PM on August 5, 2010

Huh? It probably depends on the law school, but most were very serious students undergrad, or they aren't at the school they wish they were at and are going to pretend to have new dedication.

Some - ok, most -- are probably going to party some, until the week before Thanksgiving, the really, really cocky ones might keep it up until mid-terms (at some schools, those don't mean anything, but do wonders as a scare tactic.)

Starting in January she will either: A)never see nor hear them; B)never see them, but hear them talking in their sleep, or screaming into their pillows; C)watch as they decay into babbling lunatics. Really. 1L is that intense -- OK, most people do fall into the A group, and don't go mad, but it takes a lot of time, and is stressful, weekends are that needed break, where you can catch up on your reading.
posted by Some1 at 9:32 PM on August 5, 2010

My roommate is a law student, starting his second year in a few weeks! He basically studies all the time and, being a little outside of the age range of most of his classmates, doesn't do much socializing with them. During school, when I see him at home he's surrounded by books, although might take half an hour to watch TV with me over dinner. One time he showed me the condensed Cliff-notes type version of another text; this condensed version was the size of a small city's phone book! He's quiet, considerate, friendly but not ingratiating, and tidy, although perhaps needs more prompting to clean than the perfect roommate (being well aware I have my own flaws, too). I think I saw him drink three beers over the course of two semesters.

You friend's new roommates may or may not be anything like mine, but if they're serious about law school they'll most likely spend the majority of their time studying.
posted by 6550 at 9:35 PM on August 5, 2010

It really depends on the people. If they are serious about grades, school, not wasting time and money, the importance of being able to get a job, then, even if their natural inclination is to drink and party a lot, they will not be doing it all that much during the week.

But some people come to law school and are cocky, or just irresponsible, or are even alcoholics who know they need to stop drinking and can't. Your friend needs to find out how serious these people are about the important things.
posted by Ashley801 at 9:38 PM on August 5, 2010

Oops, I missed that your friend is concerned about the weekends too, not just during the week. If he is concerned about the weekends, and these people are bigtime partiers, I don't think that will change in law school for most of the semester. Nothing to do with being a law student though.
posted by Ashley801 at 9:42 PM on August 5, 2010

I lived next door to a fairly serious and successful law student when I was in undergrad. He seemed to take about as much time studying as any other student -- while he didn't seem to have many formal assignments, he had reading to do throughout the semester. The real difference came at the end of the semester. His finals counted for 100% of his grade, so for a week or two around finals time, he would shut himself in his room with food, coffee, and books -- no computer or other distractions -- and would only come out to use the bathroom. :-) He was a studious sort and I rarely saw him drink alcohol.

It all depends on the personalities involved. I agree with ishotjr -- someone who already deals with stress by drinking heavily will probably react to the considerable stress of law school in the same way. I suspect that if your friend doesn't feel comfortable with his/her potential roommates now, the situation is unlikely to improve after moving in.

If it's not an issue of "comfort", but just "Will I be able to get anything done?" bear in mind that law students are not always busy at the same time in the semester as other students, owing to the way law classes are usually run. They may be ready to party at a time when your friend really needs to buckle down -- and vice versa.
posted by jdwhite at 9:43 PM on August 5, 2010

1L = no life. It's like a year-long academic hazing.

Not on topic, but when I went to law school I really wanted to get a med student roommate because I thought he or she would always be at the hospital and I'd have the apartment to myself.
posted by lockestockbarrel at 11:16 PM on August 5, 2010

I lived with a law student for 3 years. She was awesome (although a bit neurotic). We drank wine after long days, studied together at coffee shops, cooked together, and then on weekends we went out to the bars where I could easily pretend to be a law student simply by complaining how much civ pro sucked. I dated many of her friends in those few years and they were mostly normal, well adjusted women. They are not all drunks and partiers.
posted by special-k at 11:36 PM on August 5, 2010

Keep in mind that the pictures people post on Facebook tend to be pictures taken at social events, not pictures of them studying at the library. I am holed up probably 80+ hours a week studying, but you might think I partied more than I do based on a look at my FB page.

Having roommates--law school or not--is a potential detriment to your studies if you plan to do all of your studying at home. They WILL be annoying at times. They WILL make noise when you're trying to sleep. They WILL leave shit all over the table you wanted to use for studying. Seriously, find a coffee shop. Go to the library. Buy a white noise machine or some noise-canceling headphones for when you go to bed.

Honestly, the fact that your friend is considering backing out of a lease based on pictures from FB (and trying to generalize to all law students) tells me more about what kind of roommate your friend will be than what kind of roommates they will be. Going into this situation with that kind of attitude does not bode well for a conflict-free year. Assume that they will be partying constantly (because, like I said, if it's not that, it'll be something) and make the choice right now to be understanding and tolerant. It'll go a long way towards the sanity of all involved parties.
posted by emilyd22222 at 12:08 AM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

If they drink and party all the time, they won't be law students for very long.
posted by twblalock at 2:30 AM on August 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

My experience was that my classmates' tendency to party was indirectly proportional to the number of years they'd been out of undergrad (the people who came straight out partied more).

I'm sort of kidding, sort of not - it just depends on who they are.
posted by Pax at 2:50 AM on August 6, 2010

They might just be blowing off steam before school starts. Thats what I would be doing if I was about to be buried under books and churning out pages of inane legal writing and contracts.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 7:11 AM on August 6, 2010

Ha, over here in the UK it's the medics who have the reputation as partiers.

I'm a law student. You have to absolutely nail yourself to get by - any drinking will probably be strictly reserved for after exams.
posted by djgh at 9:20 AM on August 6, 2010

If they're anything like me, they'll be total shut-ins studying for 6 days a week, and then all the tension and stress will get funneled into over-the-top partying for 1 glorious night. Repeat as necessary for the rest of the semester.
posted by naju at 10:19 AM on August 6, 2010

Pax is right (age does tend to correlate with amount of partying among my law student friends), as are the comments about individual personalities -- even we law students have some residual uniqueness!

How good is the law school? At lower-ranked schools, grades are tremendously important, as only the top of the class can get desirable jobs or transfer to better schools. At top schools, grades are much less crucial (though more so in this economy) and, at least at many places, the degree of stress/"academic hazing" is correspondingly lower.

As mentioned above, most law school classes have ONE exam worth 100% of the grade, but with ridiculous amounts of assigned reading throughout the term -- for the first year, anyway. It is entirely possible, if not advisable, for law students to read just enough to be reasonably conversant in class (or less -- class participation is usually ungraded, though stressful if unprepared) while still drinking and partying frequently, then make up for it in December.

Law school, like a house-sharing situation, is what one makes it. The roommates could be unrepentant partiers, or they could kick the studying into high gear and wish their pharm roomie wasn't so distracting! There's really no way to know, and it's hard to generalize that all law students will behave in the same fashion.

Best advice: Your friend should communicate these concerns to the roommates (diplomatically -- throwing down a teetotaler gauntlet and then ultimately not having an alternative place to go will end badly), and see how the conversation goes to figure out next steps. And really, isn't that how all of us would hope our roommates would resolve ANY concerns?
posted by SuperNova at 10:58 PM on August 6, 2010

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