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Being an Overachiever: is There a Limit?

How far would you go to be the best?

Would you cheat? Steal? Hide your classmates’ textbooks?

Of course not, those actions are unethical and possibly illegal. Not to mention you’d be on the wrong side of the ABA’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct—and that could cost you your license to practice or at the very least get you slapped with a censure.

So you wouldn’t cheat, steal or act unethically. But would you push yourself to the brink of mental and physical breakdown now for the possibility of a high-paying job later?

If you’re like most law school students, you certainly would.

Law school attracts super-smart, super-driven people who are used to being overachievers. They’ve pretty much always been the smartest students, the most active and engaged citizens and the people voted “most likely to succeed.” They (you) are the people who go all out to accomplish goals.

So what happens when you take a couple hundred of these overachievers, put them into the same building and tell them that their best chance to reach their dreams is to finish in the top 10 percent of their class, make law review, secure a prestigious clerkship and get involved in experiential learning opportunities?

They go all out, that’s what happens.

It’s understandable—law school is a hefty investment. But it’s also dangerous.

According to the ABA, lawyers are nearly twice as likely as other professionals to become addicted to drugs or alcohol. They also have much higher rates of depression, anxiety and other mental health issues than the general public.

And the problems often start in law school.

There are a lot of theories why, but most likely it has to do with the intense workloads, the demanding teaching style and the heavy emphasis that’s placed on image, status and affluence.

It’s enough to make anyone reach a breaking point.

But it doesn’t have to be. Not if you keep things in perspective, make use of available resources—and remember why you decided to go to law school in the first place.

  • Every law school offers counseling services. Use them if you need them.
  • Develop a study plan and get a tutor. Having a strategy will help.
  • Do something fun. This is important.
  • Remember, you’re smart, driven and willing to work hard. In the real world, that will be enough to help you succeed—regardless of where you finish in your class.


About the Author

Sumita Dalal is the Founder and CEO of FindMyLawTutor, the largest and most trusted website and online portal that connect law students with law tutors for success in law school. Whether preparing for the LSAT, are currently a law student or are studying for the bar exam, FindMyLawTutor makes finding a law tutor fast and easy.

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