Student: Law school strikes ‘balance between competition and congeniality’

Julia Leth-Perez

When deciding to go to law school, many of the people I consulted told me of the cutthroat practices among law students: classmates ripping pages out of casebooks, destroying each other’s class notes and giving false answers in study sessions. It was with apprehension I began establishing my relationships with the other incoming students.

The truth is law school by its nature creates a competitive environment. Long gone are the days of an “A” for effort. Pressures from class rankings and the forced curve are obstacles that can be hard to overcome. Learning among brilliant, talented and diverse students creates an intellectual culture that most will never encounter in undergraduate studies. It can be both rewarding and frustrating at the same time.

During my first semester at KU Law, I was exposed to the balance between competition and congeniality. When I missed class, classmates from my small section emailed me class notes before I asked for help. The weeks before finals, we spent our time together, studying and encouraging each other. We are there for each other in both our academic and personal lives. In my short time at KU Law, my classmates have become my family who I lean on during difficult times and support during theirs.

Law school is competitive, legal jobs are competitive, and we all want to succeed. Despite the common thread of far-reaching goals, we are all searching in the dark together trying to decode the text and transform it into knowledge. We are not only peers, but also friends and future colleagues. At KU Law, success is not defined by a number on paper, but by the ability to compete while creating lasting relationships.

— Julia Leth-Perez is a first-year law student and KU Law Student Ambassador from Wichita, Kansas.

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