Mid-Summer Check-In

Mid-Summer Check-in: Rising 2L perspective

Today we welcome back guest writer Shirlene Armstrong, rising 2L, to discuss the end of her summer experience and the anticipation of her 2L year.

My 2L year is rapidly approaching as we hit the mid summer point. Although it feels like I was taking exams and finishing my 1L year yesterday, it is almost time to go back to school and continue on my journey. Even though I feel like summer has been no time at all, I am thankful for all of the experiences from this summer and am looking forward to where my path will take me next.


And working, and working. As a rising 2L, it is no surprise that I am working a lot and that my summer has revolved around my work schedule. My summer has largely been focused on working at a personal injury law firm as a law clerk. I’ve been putting in at least 40-50 hours a week throughout the summer and have probably looked at over a million pieces of paper. That may not sound like too much but my commute is also 30 miles from my house, so normally I leave the house at 6-7 a.m. and sometimes don’t return until 8-9 p.m. Although exhausting, I have really enjoyed my working experience, and it feels amazing to be in the field that I have always wanted to be in.

Lawyering, a “Doctor in Training”

When the attorneys at my firm need to talk to one another or ask something, they refer to each other as “Doctor” (Since a J.D. is a doctorate degree). Since I am a law student, my supervising attorney calls me “Doctor in Training.” Oddly enough, this makes the most sense to me. Although I am not a lawyer yet, many of the tasks and assignments I am responsible for are what a lawyer would do (which isn’t shocking but still) although I am still working on getting my J.D. Overall, this has been a valuable and amazing experience. Like a lawyer, I am given several cases and assignments which I have to prioritize and juggle myself. When you become a lawyer, you will probably have multiple clients with various claims and different timelines. In order to be effective, you need to know how to juggle everything while ensuring a case doesn’t get dismissed based on your negligence. This has taught me a lot about myself as a person and how I want to be as a lawyer.

A Personal Note, Being An Adult

Although my life is law-school centered right now, I have largely had to deal with personal life stuff (especially things I put off because law school is crazy). In particular, one of those things, a very adult thing I might add, was buying a house. (Note: thank you to my Property professor for preparing me for this process.) As a first generation college student, this was a big step for me and my budget. Currently, I am in the process of packing and moving (fortunately with a closing date a few weeks before school starts). However, it is nice to actually be able to not feel guilty about doing stuff just for yourself. Law school sucks up all your time and energy, so sometimes it can be hard to focus on you. Overall, when you do get a break from law school, you need to take time to yourself. Law school is hard and will exhaust you if you don’t allow yourself to relax and breathe once in awhile. Make sure you take time to refresh and replenish yourself!

School on the Horizon

School is almost back in session and with that, summer will soon end. I am really excited to get back to classes and see my friends at law school, but am still anxious about what this next year will bring. 2L year is known as the “work to death” year for law students and honestly, I believe it. Not only will I still be working at my firm part-time, I have a full load of classes, am a Lexis Nexis student rep, on the Mock Trial team, on the executive board for the Women’s Law Caucus and still have my personal life to attend (like the fact that I’m the Maid of Honor for my best friend’s May wedding). However, I am excited that I get to choose my classes and enhance my skills as a law student and future lawyer.

Bittersweet End

Although I am very excited to continue on with my journey as a law student and start my 2L year, the fact that the summer is almost over is very bittersweet. I have been working a crazy amount, but I really love it. I love working full-time, and I really like my firm and what I’m doing. This summer has definitely confirmed that I want to be a lawyer (not that I had any doubt before) and that I want to be a personal injury attorney. Even though summer is ending and soon I’ll be back in lecture, I am excited for the next step in my legal journey and cannot wait to see what 2L year has to bring me.


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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.

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