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Meredith Beeby EdmisonSo You Want to Be a Law Student: Secrets from the Inside

by Meredith Beeby Edmison, J.D.

“You want to do what?!?!”

These were the first words out of my husband Mike’s mouth when I informed him of my brilliant master plan to go back to school. And not just any school. I had my eye on law school.

“What will it take to do this?” he asked after the shock had worn off.

I launched into the speech I had practiced and said I would have to take this test called the LSAT (“kinda like a college-level ACT from what I’ve heard”), apply to the school of my choice by filling out mountains of paperwork, write a Pulitzer Prize winning essay, and then wait for the verdict, so to speak. Even to me this litany of items on my Law School To Do List seemed overwhelming. I had graduated six years earlier with a degree in Music Education and had been working as a music minister ever since. Upon hearing my plan, there were a few who pointed out that neither my degree nor my career would be helpful in pursuing a Juris Doctorate. To the naysayers, I loftily replied that the discipline I learned in music school would see me through. To myself, I thought, “What am I getting myself into?”

With Mike’s support, I began the process. The second I walked out the door of the LSAT testing room, I figured that my law school career was probably over before it had even begun. Why hadn’t I studied more? “College-level ACT” my rear—that test was so hard I was pretty sure I experienced a brain aneurysm during the exam. Much to my surprise, my scores came back passable. I also found people willing to write reference letters, slaved over the application, and wrote what I hoped was the essay of a lifetime. The only thing left to do was wait.

The day I got my acceptance letter from Oklahoma City University School of Law was one of the proudest of my life—I was going to law school! I was so excited that I made about 30 copies of the letter and mailed it to all my friends and family. That confident, happy feeling lasted all the way up to the day I walked into my first class. There we were--180 nervous, excited, newbie One-L students about to embark on a fascinating journey together. I picked a seat, reviewed the materials we were supposed to have prepared, and waited for our professor.

At 9:00 a.m. on the dot, the door swung open with a bang, and a tall, imposing woman said, “Mr. Williams, recite Garrett v. Dailey. And stand up.” Before she had even taken two steps in the door, she was grilling some poor schmuck in the back. And every last one of us was breathing a sigh of relief that it was not our turn.
Though that first day was quite a shock, I soon found a rhythm to law school: study, go to class, study, eat a bite, study, discuss how hard studying was with some of my classmates, study, see my husband for five minutes, and study. That first year it wasn’t unusual for me to fall asleep with a law book still clutched in my hands.

After surviving the first year of law school, the second one seemed less stressful, and the third was even better than the second. In fact, my husband and I even became parents for the first time at the end of my second year. A baby added some chaos, but looking back, I would not have done it any other way. My son, Jack, taught me something law school could not: some things are just more important than others, and the rest just has to wait.

After many terrifying low moments, incredible high moments, and three years of hard work, I joined my classmates in processing into the auditorium for our law school graduation. My family and friends were all there to cheer me on, much like they had during my law school career. Though school was financially, emotionally, and scholastically challenging, it is one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. I
made some great friends, learned a lot about myself and my persistence, and did something that I was not 100% certain I could.

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