Again, with credit to Professor McClurg:
5. “Do You Really Have to Work on That Tonight?”
Probably the answer is Yes. On the rare occasion when the opposite may be true, from the student’s perspective, the question contributes to a sense of guilt — i.e., not only am I struggling in law school, but now I’m failing my family/friends, too! Instead, just keep up the support and look forward to winter break. Oh, speaking of breaks, a word on Thanksgiving Break. Having five days “off” so close to finals is a precarious situation. In fact, taking five days “off” so close to finals is a bad thing for academic success. Here is my advice to family and friends: Do not advise students either way on how to spend Thanksgiving Break. Instead, support whatever decision they make. If they choose to miss the family holiday, if they choose to come home but only take a day off, or if they choose to take several days off — simply lend support to their decision. And remember that winter break will come very soon. That is a real break!!!
Oh, more on this later, but if your student is not a native Southern Californian and is planning on staying in Malibu for Thanksgiving Break, he/she is welcome to come to Thanksgiving Dinner with my family. Professor Jim Gash will be out of town for Thanksgiving, but he has graciously donated his spacious home (compared to our condo) to my family so we can host as many students as need a place to enjoy some food, football, and fellowship!
6. “What Kind of Lawyer Do You Want to Be?”
The correct answer from students is: I don’t know. Even if students think they know, their answer is most often wrong. The problem with asking the question is twofold: (i) students grow weary from hearing the question over and over; and (ii) after a while, students begin to believe maybe they are supposed to know.
7. “Do You Have a Job Yet?”
This will mostly come later, but when it does, don’t ask it. When they do land a job, you will know. If they do not have a job secured yet, they could do without the added pressure.
8. “Have You Heard the One About the Lawyer, the Shark, and the Pornographer?”
Like most every profession, the legal profession consists of amazing people making a positive difference in the world, along with some dirty, rotten scoundrels. The general public likes to emphasize the latter, and the jokes perpetuate that perception. The jokes don’t bother everyone (including me), but they do some, and as a result, feeding your student a steady stream of the funniest lawyer jokes is generally a bad idea.