Staying connected to your creative side in law school can be hard when IRAC seems specifically designed to hammer the individualism right out of you. While actual lawyering can eventually provide opportunities to be innovative, law school is not known for nurturing the creative spirit that many people have upon arrival.
However, there are ways to sneak your artistry into your law school experience, and doing so can go a long way in making the experience more dynamic, exciting, and aligned with your values.
Create Community Education Materials for a Public Interest Project
Increasing access to justice often means creating tools that help community members navigate complicated legal systems. These tools are most effective when they have strong visuals, and are written in engaging and descriptive language. If you notice a gap between system-involvement and community understanding, and want to help close the gap while also doing some snazzy cartooning or thoughtful writing, you can join or start a project that is finds creative ways to help community members advocate for themselves within legal systems.
Design Event Flyers…
Law school has no shortage of campus events and meetings advertising “non-pizza lunch.” Besides the menu, another factor in drawing a crowd can be the visual on the poster. Whether it’s for your own group, or in service of other community events, falling into a design-hole can be a nice break from that Torts-hole.
Beyond event flyers, many school organizations are also zealous about their swag game. Often, student orgs can be a sanctuary away from the academic grind, and build out people’s community beyond sections. Therefore, students tend to keep souvenirs of these experiences in particular – even when there are plenty of law school memories they want to leave behind. Give them a way to remember the good times by designing t-shirts, tote bags, logos, and of course, the coveted custom koozie.
Take a Creative Class
If your law school shares a campus with a larger university, see if you can cross-register for classes at other programs. Many undergraduate classes are open for enrollment, and even programs at the graduate level may be accessible. With some solid planning, you can go from Corporations to Collaging in the span of an afternoon.
If you don’t go to school on a campus connected to art programs then, of course, there are plenty of community classes. Many of these are low commitment events where all you need to do is show up (some even integrate wine-drinking as a key component.) Other classes may be more long-term investments, with the focus on developing a craft rather than having a night out. While it may seem tough to add a class like this on top of your current credit-load, the benefits of taking some time every week to throw your stress onto a canvas could be worth the commitment.
Participate in a Law School Parody Show
You know how the old saying goes: you can enroll the theater major in law school, but you can’t take the kick-ball-change out of the theater major. Many law schools have opportunities for students to show that they are, in fact, quadruple threats in singing, dancing, acting, and briefing. Don’t be shy and join the production. It’s a great way to get back to your center-stage roots, and connect with students outside of your section.
Make Visually Exciting Study Tools
While we at Law School Toolbox will always remind you that substance is superior to style when you’re preparing for exams, you can still add your own flair to your outlines and flow charts. Visual learners in particular may benefit from finding ways to make information more engaging and eye-catching, while also being informative and effective.
Write Your Own Hypos
If you’ve made it past your first semester of law school, you may have noticed after reading those exam fact patterns that some of your law school professors had law school as their second choice after “Write the Great American Novel.” A lot of people go to law school because they enjoy writing, and then realize that legal memos may not have been what they had in mind. A great way to exercise that creative writing muscle while also conquering the “A” in IRAC is to anticipate general fact patterns you may be tested on and write your own hypos when you’re working through the doctrine. Feel free to have fun with them – ground them in a genre, serialize them, exorcize personal demons by whipping up some light tortfeasance against the last person who made you cry (and then consider doing a loving-kindness meditation.) Whatever gets you to learn the law while flexing your creative muscles will work.
Write for the Law School Newspaper
Another one for the writers out there. At many law schools, the drama plays out in the pages of the school newspaper. Join the journalism crew, and you can report on law school happenings, or pitch a column of your own.
Law school does not need to sound the death knell for whatever brought you joy before you started. Get creative with your law school schedule, and you can stay creative in your life!
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