Whether you’ve just started law school or you have been there for a while, you probably suffer from ‘lawyer brain’. What does this mean and is it a good thing?
What is the “Lawyer Brain”?
The ‘Lawyer Brain’ is a condition of law students and lawyers in which all they think about is the law and analyze normal situations through a legal lens. For example, let’s say you are watching one of your guilty-pleasure shows (right now, mine is Greek) and you are enjoying the episode when all the sudden you begin to analyze. This is when the lawyer brain steps in. Your mind wanders to random hypotheticals: Was there a contract between Casey and Rebecca? Well, there was an offer and she technically accepted it–or did she just rely on the promise? Was Cappie negligent towards Rusty? Overall, your brain converts a normal episode of a show into a legal discussion inside your head.
Can You Turn it Off?
While “Lawyer Brain” plagues most law students, there is a way to combat it. Overall, you just have to stop thinking about law school. How is this possible? Law school is my life! I have asked myself these very questions constantly. Becoming a lawyer does require you to have a ‘lawyer brain.’ You need to be thinking about the law, what you need to do for your clients, and how to further your understanding of general rules and principles. However, you also need to find a balance. When you are just enjoying yourself or relaxing, focus more on having a good time rather than hard-pressing legal concepts that constantly run through your mind.
What Can I do to Stop Thinking about Law?
Start by trying to not see everything as a hypothetical. An amazing quality of law students and lawyers is their ability to problem-solve and critically think about abstract topics. However, searching for law outside the context can be detrimental. Law students tend to have high stress levels because they are so engrossed with school and studying and forget to take a break from the law. The best way to stop thinking about the law is to take a step away from your analytical brain. Find time to do things that you enjoy and spend time with your friends and family.
What is Test Anxiety?
Test anxiety is the stress that occurs in most law students near the end of the semester. It is when most students worry about the upcoming exams and fear the worst: that they will be ill-prepared and not be successful. The impending exam period makes students worry about their choice of going to law school and the test in general. This stress and worry combined create ‘test anxiety.’
Is There a Way to Stop Worrying?
First, you need to prioritize what you actually need to do. Next, you need to manage your time to accomplish all of your tasks. By organizing your thoughts and focusing on what you need to work on, your stress will lessen. Also, understand what the test will be like and how specifically you will need to answer the questions. If you know what you are getting into, you will be more successful and will be less worried. Preparation is key in acing exams. If you worry instead of preparing, then you will be focusing your time and energy on the wrong things.
Stop THINKING, Just Relax!
Overall, having a lawyer brain is a good thing. You want to be able to analyze complex situations to understand the underlying disputes and rules so that you can further apply it for test purposes and practice. It is a great accomplishment to think about the law when you do not intend to, while coming up with legal arguments on a dime. However, it is also important to take a step away from being a ‘lawyer’ or a ‘law student’ and just be you. Finding balance between work, school, and your personal life is a delicate structure that is important for your overall health. Ultimately, you will need to stop thinking about the law and just focus on relaxing! Your brain and body will thank you, and you will be able to better focus on your work when you actually need to do that.
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