The Most Difficult Thing about Law School: Ranking the Ultimate Challenge

Choose the thing you think is the most difficult!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Jun 16, 2023 10:18 (Updated on Dec 2, 2023 06:38)
Calling all law school survivors and aspiring legal eagles! We at StrawPoll have crafted the ultimate ranking to settle the age-old debate – What is the most difficult thing about law school? From the never-ending case readings to the intense Socratic method, we've got it all covered. But we need your help to uncover the truth! Cast your vote in our epic ranking, and if you think we've missed a crucial detail, feel free to suggest your own option. Share your experiences, rally your fellow law enthusiasts, and together, let's uncover the real challenges that lie beneath the hallowed halls of law school. Ready to join the jury? Click further and let the deliberations begin!

What Is the Most Difficult Thing about Law School?

  1. 1
    Law school demands a lot of reading, writing, and studying. The sheer volume of material that needs to be covered can be overwhelming, especially for students who are not used to such a rigorous academic environment.
    The heavy workload in law school refers to the substantial amount of reading, studying, assignments, and exams that students are required to complete within a limited time frame. It is one of the most challenging aspects of law school and often requires strong time management and organizational skills to handle the volume of work effectively.
    • Reading Assignments: Students are given extensive reading materials including textbooks, cases, statutes, and legal opinions that must be comprehensively understood and analyzed.
    • Case Briefs: Students are expected to prepare detailed summaries of assigned cases, highlighting key legal principles, facts, and reasoning.
    • Legal Research: Law students must conduct thorough legal research to support their arguments, which involves analyzing statutes, regulations, and prior court decisions.
    • Writing Assignments: Lawyers must develop strong legal writing skills, as they are required to write numerous memos, briefs, and research papers throughout their studies.
    • Classroom Participation: Law students are expected to actively participate in classroom discussions, which often involve analyzing complex legal problems and engaging in debates.
  2. 2

    Intense competition

    Law school culture
    Law school is known for being highly competitive, with students vying for top grades and coveted jobs after graduation. This can create a stressful and cutthroat environment that can be difficult to navigate.
    Intense competition in law school refers to the high level of rivalry and competitiveness among students, stemming from the limited number of prestigious opportunities available within the legal field. It creates an environment where students strive to outperform their peers in academic achievements, internships, job placements, and other areas to gain a competitive edge.
    • Challenging grading curve: Law schools often use a strict grading curve, making it difficult for students to stand out.
    • Rankings: Students are often compared and ranked against each other based on their academic performance.
    • Limited opportunities: There is a limited number of high-paying jobs, prestigious clerkships, and other desirable positions within the legal field.
    • Networking pressure: Students feel compelled to network and build connections with professionals to secure future opportunities.
    • Case competition: Participating in case competitions further intensifies the competition among students.
  3. 3

    Socratic method

    Law school classes often involve the Socratic method, in which professors ask questions and challenge students to defend their positions. This can be intimidating for some students, especially if they are not accustomed to speaking in front of others.
    The Socratic method is a teaching technique commonly used in law schools that involves questioning students to stimulate critical thinking and facilitate discussion. It is named after the Greek philosopher Socrates, as he employed a similar method of inquiry in his philosophical dialogues.
    • Role of the instructor: The instructor takes an active role in asking questions and challenging students' arguments.
    • Active student participation: Students are expected to actively participate in discussions by answering questions and providing explanations.
    • Challenges assumptions: The Socratic method aims to challenge students' assumptions and test the logical coherence of their arguments.
    • Encourages critical thinking: By continuously questioning students, the Socratic method encourages them to think critically and analyze different perspectives.
    • Facilitates dialogue: The method promotes an open discussion between students, allowing them to challenge and learn from each other.
  4. 4
    Law is a field that is full of specialized terminology and legal jargon. It can be difficult for students to understand this language and use it effectively in their coursework and exams.
    Legal jargon refers to the complex and specialized language used in the field of law. It consists of technical terms, phrases, and concepts that may be unfamiliar to people outside of the legal profession. Legal jargon is often used in legal documents, court proceedings, and academic discourse related to law. It serves as a precise and concise way for legal professionals to communicate and express legal concepts.
    • Complexity: Legal jargon can be highly complex and difficult to interpret for individuals without legal training.
    • Precision: Legal jargon allows for precise and concise expression of legal concepts.
    • Specialized Terminology: Legal jargon includes a vast array of specialized terms and phrases specific to the field of law.
    • Historical Context: Some legal jargon may have historical roots, originating from older legal systems or legal traditions.
    • Different Legal Systems: Legal jargon may vary across different legal systems, jurisdictions, and countries.
  5. 5

    Time management

    Peter Drucker
    Law school requires a significant amount of time and energy, and it can be challenging for students to balance their coursework with other obligations such as work, family, and social life.
    Time management is the ability to plan, organize, and prioritize tasks in order to make the most efficient use of time. It involves setting goals, creating schedules, and managing distractions to ensure productivity and maximize accomplishments.
    • Goal setting: The skill of defining clear objectives and identifying what needs to be accomplished.
    • Prioritization: The ability to determine the order of tasks and address the most important ones first.
    • Planning: Creating a schedule or action plan that outlines the necessary tasks and their deadlines.
    • Time allocation: Allocating appropriate amounts of time to each task based on its importance and complexity.
    • Organizational skills: Efficiently arranging tasks, resources, and information to enhance productivity and minimize confusion.
    Time management in other rankings
  6. 6
    Law students are expected to be proficient in legal research, which can be a complex and time-consuming process. Learning how to find and analyze legal sources is a critical skill for success in law school and beyond.
    Legal research is the process of finding and analyzing legal information to support legal arguments and decision-making. It involves locating, interpreting, and synthesizing various sources of law, such as statutes, regulations, case law, and legal commentary.
    • 1: Requires extensive knowledge of legal systems and principles.
    • 2: Involves thorough understanding of legal terminology and concepts.
    • 3: Requires proficiency in using legal research databases and resources.
    • 4: Involves critical thinking and analytical skills to identify relevant information.
    • 5: Involves analyzing and comparing multiple sources of law for consistency and precedent.
  7. 7
    Law school requires students to write extensively, including legal briefs, memos, and essays. Developing strong writing skills is essential for success in law school and in the legal profession.
    Writing skills is a lesson focused on improving the ability to effectively communicate through written language. It teaches techniques for organizing thoughts, structuring essays or articles, and developing a clear and concise writing style. The lesson aims to help learners express their ideas with clarity, coherence, and precision.
    • Focus: Improving writing abilities
    • Goals: Enhancing written communication skills
    • Components: Organizing thoughts, essay structuring, writing style development
    • Skills developed: Clarity, coherence, precision
    • Important concepts: Thesis statements, topic sentences, paragraph structure
    Writing skills in other rankings
  8. 8
    Law school can be expensive, and many students graduate with significant debt. This can create a financial burden that can be difficult to manage, especially for those who do not land high-paying jobs after graduation.
    Financial burden in other rankings
  9. 9
    Mental health
    Quince Media · CC BY-SA 4.0
    Law school can take a toll on students' mental health, with high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression being common. It is important for students to take care of their mental health and seek support when needed.
    Mental health is a crucial aspect when it comes to discussing the most difficult thing about law school. It refers to the overall well-being and emotional state of law students, including their ability to handle stress, maintain social relationships, and cope with the demands of their legal studies.
    • 1: High levels of stress and pressure
    • 2: Feelings of anxiety and overwhelm
    • 3: Increased risk of developing mental health disorders
    • 4: Impacts on academic performance and concentration
    • 5: Difficulty balancing personal and professional life
    Mental health in other rankings
  10. 10

    Job market

    Legal industry and economy
    The legal job market can be tough, with many students struggling to find employment after graduation. This can be a source of stress and uncertainty for law students, especially those who have taken on significant debt to finance their education.
    The job market in the context of law school refers to the employment landscape for law graduates seeking legal careers. It reflects the supply and demand dynamics between law graduates and potential employers in the legal industry. The job market can be highly competitive and challenging, requiring law graduates to navigate various factors in order to secure desirable employment opportunities.
    • Competition: Intense competition among law graduates for limited job openings.
    • Demand: Varying levels of demand for lawyers depending on factors like location, practice area, and economic conditions.
    • Law firm hiring: Availability of job opportunities in law firms, which can be highly competitive and typically follow cyclical hiring patterns.
    • Government sector: Opportunities for legal careers in government agencies, public interest organizations, and judicial clerkships.
    • Networking: The importance of building professional connections to increase job prospects and gather information about available positions.

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Ranking factors for difficult thing

  1. Academic rigor
    Law school is known for its challenging and demanding curriculum, involving in-depth analysis of complex legal concepts and principles. The coursework requires a great deal of critical thinking, problem-solving, and legal reasoning skills, which can be a significant factor contributing to the difficulty of law school.
  2. Time commitment
    A law student is expected to dedicate a significant amount of time to not only attending classes but also preparing for them by reading and analyzing vast amounts of legal texts. Additionally, time must be allocated for assignments, research, and studying for examinations.
  3. Competition
    Law school is inherently competitive, as students are often graded on a curve, meaning their performance is judged relative to their peers. This competition can be further intensified by the desire to secure internships, clerkships, and placements at prestigious law firms.
  4. High stakes
    The legal profession is prestigious and high-paying, which increases the pressure on law students to excel in their classes. Furthermore, achieving a high grade point average (GPA) and performing well on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) can significantly impact a student's ability to gain admission into a reputable law school, secure scholarships, and eventually, secure a well-paying job.
  5. Mental and emotional stress
    Due to the high levels of competition, academic rigor, and time commitment, law school can take a toll on students' mental and emotional well-being. Many law students report experiencing stress, anxiety, and even depression during their time in law school.
  6. Financial strain
    Law school can be an expensive investment, particularly at top-tier institutions. In addition to tuition fees, students also face living expenses and costs related to books and study materials. This financial strain can add to the difficulty of law school, as students may need to balance part-time jobs or internships with their studies to make ends meet.
  7. Bar exam preparation
    In many jurisdictions, law school graduates are required to pass a comprehensive bar exam before they can practice law. Preparing for and passing this exam can be an incredibly challenging process, requiring extensive study and preparation on top of an already demanding law school workload.
  8. Job market competitiveness
    Upon graduation, law students face a competitive job market, further adding to the stress and difficulty of law school. A strong academic record, internships, and networking are all essential to secure a desirable position in the legal profession.
  9. Balancing personal life
    Law students may find it difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance during their time in law school, as the demands of the coursework and preparation often require long hours of study. This can make it challenging for students to maintain relationships, engage in hobbies, and take care of their physical and mental health.
  10. Adapting to the teaching style
    Law school typically employs the Socratic Method, wherein professors ask students questions about the assigned readings and engage them in discussions in class. This teaching style may feel intimidating or unfamiliar to some students, adding to the overall difficulty of law school.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most difficult thing about law school. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or thing is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 211 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each thing once every 24 hours. The rank of each thing is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

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More information on most difficult thing about law school

Law school is known for being a rigorous and challenging academic pursuit. It requires students to have a strong foundation in critical thinking, analytical skills, and a willingness to work hard. The most difficult thing about law school can vary depending on the individual, but some common challenges include the intense workload, the competitive nature of the program, and the pressure to perform well. Law students must also navigate complex legal concepts and jargon, which can be overwhelming at times. Despite these obstacles, completing law school can be a rewarding experience for those who are passionate about the law and committed to their studies.

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