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The 19-Year-Old Law Student-To-Be Doesn't Care What You Think

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  • The 19-Year-Old Law Student-To-Be Doesn't Care What You Think

    Just a little housekeeping here. On Monday, when we blogged the story from the Orange County Register on Kate McLaughlin — the 19-year-old all set on heading off to law school at Northwestern — readers responded. Not just here, but at the NYT, the ABA Journal, Above the Law, and probably elsewhere.

    The response wasn’t universally against her heading off to Chicago, but it was close.

    From our own blog, our favorite response came from a reader named Joey, whose response didn’t make us chuckle (as many do), but, we think, contained more than a kernel of truth. Wrote Joey:
    Don’t go to law school until you can precisely articulate why you want to be a lawyer. Studying the law is fascinating, and often a great challenge, but that is far different than the daily mundane details of life putting a law degree to work: proofreading a contract, filing a brief on deadline, hanging out in district court waiting for the clerk to call your case. This is the part you don’t see before law school, and not often enough during law school. Then it’s all you see *after* law school, and you hate it, and you wish someone told you about it ahead of time.

    My advice, as alien to your experience as it is, would be to leave school. You’ve certainly earned some time off, and law school will be there when you get back. You are 19 and intelligent, and have few responsibilities– you have no idea how lucky you are, and how many people envy you. Go wander around the world for a year or two. Go teach English in China. Go work 20 hours a week at a nonprofit and flip burgers the other 20. Go get in a car with your best friend and visit all 50 states. Just go, and do something. But don’t start curtailing your future with something as monumental as law school just yet.

    Well, according to an OC Register follow-up out Thurdsay, McLaughlin — bless her heart (we doubt she expected such an onslaught of advice) — has acknowledged all the concerns. According to the Register, she doesn’t care about us, you, or anyone else’s opinion. “Kate McLaughlin said she wasn’t interested in responding to the reader comments about her and didn’t have the time anyway. She’s moving to Chicago today; her classes at Northwestern Law start Aug. 31.”

    Stated McLaughlin:
    I don’t consider my academic situation to be a defining point of my life and discussing the particulars of my personal life with complete strangers is not something I especially want to do . . . Since I’m about to move across the country on Wednesday, I’m busy saying goodbye to my friends and coordinating the move. I imagine people are going to have the opinions they’re going to have.

    Here’s what we have to say: Fair ’nuff, Kate. Best of luck. Feel free to check in with us at some point if you’d like to tell us we were all wrong, or, of course, something to the contrary. In the meantime, we seriously hope you devote time not only to the Mailbox Rule and the Rule Against Perpetuities, but to fiction writing — your self-described true passion.
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