How I Avoided the 2L Slump

How I avoided the 2L Slump: A 2L PerspectivePlease welcome back 2L guest writer, Shirlene Armstrong to let us know how she managed to avoid the 2L slump.

Like that Britney Spears song, “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman,” you made it through the first year of law school but you’re not a 3L yet. Instead, you are in the middle of the rut: you are a 2L. There is nothing per say wrong with being a 2L. Actually, there are a lot of positives about being a 2L: you get a lot more freedom to choose your classes and activities, you don’t have to stress about 1L classes and reading, the bar exam is a year away, and you are more respected by your peers and professors. However, 2L year is notoriously known as the “work to death year.” (Trust me, it is) So how is it that 2Ls seem to fall into this “slump” and how can you avoid it?

Overview of My 2L Year

Busy does not even begin to describe my 2L year. I have always juggled a lot of activities on top of work and school but this year of law school has definitely been the busiest year of my life. I am taking a full load of upperclassmen courses, I work for Lexis as a student representative, I am the head student rep for another company, I am the treasurer with the Women’s Law Caucus, I’m on the mock trial team, I work part-time as a law clerk, I’m a Ms JD Writer in Residence, and I participate in numerous clubs and activities. I am constantly on the move and running from one thing to the next. So, shocking to no one, I am also constantly stressed and run down. Although I spread myself a bit thin sometimes, I still make time for school and preparing for classes. However, I have found myself looking at the mouth of the law school slump—forced to decide what my next decision will be. Instead of succumbing to the traditional law school rut, I challenged myself to push through and keep going to further my goals of becoming an attorney.

What is the 2L Slump?

2L year is busy. I mean, REALLY busy. While tackling harder classes, extracurriculars, and jobs, students tend to lose their steam. Enter the 2L slump: a mental lull in a young law student’s legal education. The typical symptoms include: lack of motivation, apathy, excessive tiredness, and feelings of hopelessness or “being lost.” 2Ls have accomplished a great feat: they survived the first (dreadful) year of law school. However, they still have many more steps on their journey before they finish school. In this slump, many students see a decline in their performance and (eek!!!) their grades. Essentially, 2Ls get run down by being in the middle of law school and begin to lose sight of the end goal: entering into the legal field.

Classes and Exams Still Matter

During your 2L year you will look around and notice that many of your classmates are no longer are in class however they magically appear again when they show up for the exam. This is the slump in action. Whatever the underlying reason may be, law students tend to stop coming to class and/or stop doing the readings. This seems paradoxical to the whole point of class and law school: you come here to learn the law, so you need to properly prepare and show up to class. This is further troubled because the ABA requires students to be in a certain percentage of classes for a specific course. So why do these students choose not to come? Well, that’s a complicated issue in itself and varies, but many individuals do not see the value of attending classes. I am here to dispel the rumor: you actually still need to go to class to be successful. Yes, you may still be able to get a passing grade on the exam without putting in the same effort from 1L year, but you are losing out on valuable experience you will need in practice. Many upperclassmen courses develop your legal analysis skills and offer you knowledge and tips that will help you in practice. Thus, you still need to prepare for classes and exams. You may feel comfortable with law school exams, but it is still important that you take them seriously. Of course, you do not have to spend a week worrying about an exam like you did in 1L year, but you should still implement the strategies and tactics that worked in the past and use them to your advantage.

Stay Focused, Stay Strong

Law school does not have to end your sanity nor does the law school slump. You do not want all of your hard work to go for naught because you fell victim to this 2L lull. Instead, focus on your end goal: becoming an attorney. Sometimes it can be very challenging finding the motivation to continue and put in the same effort you did in 1L year. You become lost in the daily shuffle and forget about why the hard work is important. Although you do not have to study yourself crazy, you still need to focus on your classes and exams in order to continue to be successful. Don’t lose sight of the finish line: you can do it, you CAN avoid the slump, just stay strong and stay focused!


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About Shirlene Brown

Shirlene Armstrong is a first-generation student in her last year at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, Michigan. At Wayne, Shirlene has been involved with numerous organizations and clubs, including mock trial, LexisNexis, the Women's Law Caucus, and the Journal of Law and Society. Shirlene enjoys mentoring others and sharing what she has learned on her legal journey and continues to work hard in accomplishing her dreams.


  1. Good article. It’s tough to push yourself to consistently come to class prepared. And it’s tough to keep preparing for finals. But I like your advice to focus on the end result of becoming an attorney. One step at time!

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