Owen Flomberg is a first-year law student at Washington University in St. Louis. He is from Knoxville, Tennessee, and graduated from UT in 2020. He was a College Scholar and the Chancellors Honors Program, majoring in political economy and development with a business administration minor. Flomberg is currently interested in pursuing a legal career in government and public policy.
What advice do you have for those interested in applying to law school?
The application process is designed in a way that is unnecessarily stressful. I think the biggest thing that applicants need to remember is that everything will work out how it’s supposed to in the end! The law school application process is really unpredictable. I was rejected from schools that I thought I would get in based on my number. I also got into schools that I did not expect. So it never hurts to apply to a wide range of schools and not put your eggs in one basket. Ask for application fee waivers to help reduce the cost of applying to more schools. Also, there is this idea while you are in undergrad that you have to complete a K—J.D., that is, starting school in kindergarten and going straight through to law school without any breaks. But a lot of my classmates waited a year or many years to go, and they are doing just fine. I think if you have doubts about whether you actually want to go to law school, it does not hurt to take a year or more to decide what is best for your life goals.
How is law school different from undergrad?
I’ve heard it said that law school almost feels more like high school than undergrad. I did not really realize what people meant by that until experiencing it. In undergrad, I had a lot of free time between classes to work and participate in campus life. That flexibility does not really exist in law school in the same way. In your first year of law school, you are given a class schedule without your input. I think you can do very little in undergrad to prepare you for the huge amount of reading that you are doing in law school. What has gotten me through my first year is treating law school like a 9-5 full-time job. I wake up early, I read, I prep for classes, go to classes, read some more, and try to cut out time for myself at the end of the day so I have enough energy to show up the next day. For me, this makes the workload manageable.
What is it like to be a law student during the summer?
I only interned one summer during undergrad. The other summers I spent working at my family’s restaurant to save up for the next year of school. In law school, you are essentially required to do some sort of legal internship over the summer. It is not uncommon for people to apply at 50 or more places. The idea is to get experience in different kinds of law or see more what it is like to work in the kind of law you are already interested in. I will be interning with the judge in Knoxville this summer. Many if not most summer opportunities are unpaid. Fortunately, some schools, like WashU, provide stipends for students who are working unpaid public interest or government jobs during the summer. If you are interested in that sort of work, make sure to ask schools if they have a summer public interest stipend or fellowship program.