In part-1 of these series we introduced the “Activities that Measure Real Performance Possibilities of a Law Student,” “Activities that Lead to Real Success as a Law Student,” and some other attributes found in successful law students that set them apart from average graders. This article deals with principal traits that damage the possibilities of success.
Traits That Limit or Damage the Chances of Success at Law School:
These are the traits in law students that are little observed or documented, but contribute towards the maximum number of failures. Many of these traits are also carried forward to workplaces and severely hamper the work-career of lawyers. These negative habits and traits need to be snuffed out right here at college, during student life, and effective habits cultured in their place. Being conscious of these traits would help you identify and defeat them increasing your chances of success not only in law school, but throughout your life and career.
- Lack of effort in activities related to taking notes, case annotations and briefs
- Inefficient, disorganized, and sloppy research strategies
- A passive approach to reading, rather than an active approach coupled with discussion and note taking
- Neglecting to use the professor as a key resource element
- Losing Focus: Allowing distractions to interfere with work
- External blame attribution – where instead of actively seeking to solve problems by themselves, the students allow problems to remain unsolved and blame the situation on external entities including other students, the system, or staff or any reason that catches their fancy
- “Imposing self-created handicaps” – an offshoot of “external blame attribution” this trait is visible most often on personally allotted projects where the student perceives, advertises, and contributes to making the project more difficult than it actually is. This helps as a safety measure on preserving the students' self-esteem: If success is found, it can be marked ‘extraordinary,' but if there is failure, the blame can be attributed to extraneous factors
- Consciously setting unreachable targets – many students fear the assessment of the outcomes of their efforts and consequently set targets that are unreachable and not deliverable under the circumstances, thus leaving work incomplete in spite of visibly huge efforts put in
- “Can't care less” – In an effort to preserve self-esteem, many visibly weak students build up a psychological defense and peer strategy that exudes a “can't care less” attitude – on top of destroying the prospects of the student personally, this attitude is also contagious and finds quick support in other weaker students, thus setting off a chain of failures
- “Stubborn in approach” – many otherwise good students value ‘persistence' to the point of turning it into a self-defeating approach by continuing with strategies and processes even when they recognize them to be less efficient – they create a sort of personal challenge that invalidates their good sense in a bid to prove that “they can” where “others cannot” – knowing that the risks and chances of failure are high, or almost inevitable
Reference: Anne M. Enquist, "Unlocking the Secrets of Highly Successful Legal Writing Students," St. John's Law Review 82, no. 2 (2008).