I once worked with a student — let’s call her Bree — who had an anxiety disorder and wanted to go to law school. She went to her doctor and told him about her anxiety and that she wanted to inquire about taking the LSAT with accommodations. Her doctor told her, "Well if you’re this stressed, maybe you shouldn’t be a lawyer."
I remember when the student told me this, because she was suddenly more anxious about her higher education aspirations than ever before.
This is not an uncommon tale, unfortunately. I am often disappointed to hear how stigmatized people with anxiety are, and how often they’re advised to pursue another profession outside of law.
In truth, whether one has anxiety or not is not an indication of the quality of legal work that one can complete, either academically or professionally. In fact, the majority of students that I work with have test anxiety, and they learn to manage their symptoms, and ultimately optimize their test scores. Some of those students with the highest levels of anxiety go on to graduate from law school at the top of their class.
So, what happened to the student who was told that she was too stressed for law school? We prepared her accommodations paperwork, helped her achieve an impressive LSAT score, and worked with her to prepare a stellar application to her dream law school, where she is now a scholarship student in her third year.
Bree continues to fight for her rights as a disabled student, including making the case for having an emotional support animal in her dormitory.
Sometimes, it is coming face to face with our perceived fallibilities that actually turn us into incredible advocates.
And remember too, that maybe having an interest in a pre-law article like this is a better indicator that law school is right for you.
Best of luck,
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