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If You Bombed 1L Midterms, Should You Drop out of Law School?

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. | Last updated on

If you bombed your 1L exams, you may feel like your legal career ended before it even began.

Don't fret. A lot of people who bombed midterms have gone on to success in the legal field. However, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't take this chance to think very carefully about your future.

Putting Failure in Perspective

Midterm failure is not a good indicator of your overall law school performance. But it is an indication that you may need some extra help. It's never too late to master the art of taking law school exams. But the sooner you can jump onto the path of mastery, the better.

Here's some good news: It's unlikely that your professor knows your test scores. Many law schools implement software that preclude any possibility of your professor identifying you. You're just a number.

3 Reasons to Stick It Out

Although it's important to stay optimistic about your future, you should also be realistic. How are your finances? How are your career prospects? Do you have a plan B?

In the spirit of realistically considering your future, here are three reasons to stick it out:

  1. You're attending a T14 or other brand name law school. If you think you can make it through the rest of your law school career without failing, consider staying. Yes, the debt is high, but it's not too much more than other lower ranked schools. Plus, the reputation of the school will probably carry you despite mediocre test scores. It may even help even if you don't ever practice. Another twist on this is if you are attending a regional law school that is recognized in the local job market and you plan to stay there.
  2. You have a job waiting through sweet, sweet, connections. Let's face it. If you have a job waiting for you several years down the line, then there's a good chance that the firm holding that desk for you has enough influence to ferret you away into a corner without doing too much damage. On the other hand, with the current job market, you may seriously want to consider pursuing some other career path.
  3. Somebody else is footing the bill and they're happy to do it. If money isn't an issue, then stay. Why not?

When to Call It Quits

If you're in a decent school, you don't have unrealistic career aspirations, and if you had decent grades in college, you probably should stick it out even if you bombed your midterms.

However, if you failed your 1L midterms and your final exams, it may be time to seriously reassess your situation. This is especially the case if you are enrolled in an unaccredited law school. If you need encouragement in accepting the consequences of failure, just consider these 11 celebrities who didn't make it through law school.

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