Managing Pre-Law Stress: Face down your worst case scenarios

This is probably the most successful and most popular stress management tool used by litigators and other lawyers. Part of your job as an advocate will be to help your client weigh the advantages and disadvantages of various courses of action, and to objectively predict and plan for the likely consequences. A good lawyer knows that the “worst case scenario” can be mitigated if it’s planned for in advance. In other words, “worst case” may not turn out to be all that bad, if you see it coming and look it squarely in the eye.

So what’s your worst case scenario? You’ll do poorly on the LSAT? You won’t get into your first choice law school? You’ll have to wait to apply until next year? These are among the most common I hear in my office. Many of the pages on this website are designed to give you enough information to allay some of your anxiety about these worst cases (e.g., the importance of the LSAT and whether you should retake it, how to find the reliable information about law schools among all the myths and misconceptions, and what it really means to take time off).

Beyond the information, though, is the plan. You only get into your 4th choice law school, or, worse yet, you don’t get in at all. Okay. What’s the plan? Give up on the dream? Re-apply next year? Find work in a law-related job or in the industry in which you ultimately want to become a lawyer? Start researching these options. More information always helps the scary unknown become the significantly less scary known. It might not be your most desired outcome, but at least you’ll be starting to grasp what it looks like A significant amount of the anxiety that we have about an unexpected change of plans is that we’ve been thinking about the old plan forever, and know it well, but there’s a void where the new plan should be. Fill the void—with information and a Plan B.

Other resources for managing stress