Need a Break? Top Distractions for Pre-Law Students

March 17, 2017

By Danni White,

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if you are a pre-law student, you will probably find yourself needing a break one or two times throughout your career. With the long hours required for reading, writing, attending class, and participating in mock trials, who wouldn’t?

A tiny fraction of every class of law students is comprised of ambitious individuals hell bent on earning straight A’s, getting published in a law review, clerking for a Supreme Court justice, and working by brain and brawn at a top-notch law firm for 30 years.

For such people, there really is no time for a break.

Fortunately, for the rest of you, being a law student and a well-functioning and healthy human don’t have to be mutually exclusive. If you are one up-and-coming lawyer who hopes law will at least become a steady stream of income after graduation and have little time on your hands to do something else other than read, write, and attend mock trials, here are some places to consider:

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, Nashville, Tennessee

Before becoming the seventh president of the United States, appointing 24 federal judges, and founding a major political party, Andrew Jackson was a country lawyer in Tennessee. He settled land disputes and sought justice for victims of assault and battery.

You can visit his Hermitage to find out more about his life and work. Take the Hermitage Mansion Tour to explore his house and personal belongings. Go on the Hermitage by Wagon Tour, riding on a wagon drawn by a horse and experience life on his 1000-acre cotton plantation.

Ghost Tours, 90-minute tours by lantern, will take you on an unforgettable journey through Andrew and his wife Rachel’s first Hermitage cabin.

The American Museum of Tort Law, Winston, Connecticut

Developed by Ralph Nader, an author and attorney, the American Museum of Tort Law is the first law museum in the country. It primarily focuses on law involving civil justice and offers displays and abstracts about important cases.

The University of Iowa College of Law Library, Iowa City, Iowa

In 2010, The National Jurist ranked nearly 200 law libraries on several factors including resources and service. You’d think it would be an Ivy League school in the number one spot. But surprisingly, that’s not so.

The University of Iowa College of Law is said to be the oldest law school west of the Mississippi River. Its library is home to one of the largest collections of printed and electronic legal materials in the United States. It is also “one of the very best places in the nation to do on-site legal research,” according to its website.

Yale Law School ranks second and Indiana University Maurer School of Law–Bloomington comes in at third on the list.

National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Want to become a constitutional lawyer?

The United States is governed by the laws written down in the Constitution. Developed in 1789, it affirms that the government exists to serve the best interests of the people of this country. Indeed, the Founding Fathers meant it when they wrote “We the People.”

The National Constitution Center was created by the United States Congress to help increase Americans’ public “awareness and understanding” of the Constitution. Interactive exhibits, conversations centered around law and justice, as well as media platforms that encourage debate aim to celebrate and inspire the civility of America.

Some interesting programs include Freedom Rising, a brief multimedia performance; Signers’ Hall, with life-size statues of the Founding Fathers; the American National Tree, where you can browse facts about over 100 citizens who had a hand in shaping America; and a program where you pretend to be the president by citing the oath of office on a big screen.

Supreme Court of the United States, Washington, D.C.

Have dreams of ruling on high profile federal cases? You may one day get appointed to the Supreme Court.

The highest federal court of the United States has ultimate jurisdiction over a wide range of courts and cases at the state and federal levels. As the final interpreter of the law, justices serve life tenures unless they choose to do otherwise.

On your visit, you will get to view oral arguments, case documents, and opinions. You may, on rare occasion, even get to shake hands with a justice or two.

National Archives Museum, Washington, D.C.

The original Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights are all housed in the National Archives Museum. Known as the Charters of Freedom, these three documents together make the “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” possible for millions of Americans.

While there, check out the David M. Rubenstein Gallery, the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery, and the William G. McGowan Theater.

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