Belonging is essential to success. If you feel as though you belong in an environment, you are more likely to succeed. It will affect your choices about what risk you are willing to take, how you respond to success, and how you handle those temporary bumps in the road we mistakenly call failure.
If you are visiting this site, you likely have read or are reading The Guide to Belonging in Law School (2020 West Academic Press). Everything in the book and on this website is designed to help you understand the law school experience and to understand that succeeding in law school is within your grasp.
Law school can seem like a huge mystery full of challenges, and if you have no context for understanding your experiences, those challenges can make you doubt yourself. Many law students feel as though law school is the most difficult educational experience they have ever encountered. Even students who have excelled in their prior learning environments--which, frankly, describes most law students--can struggle in the face of the amount of work and different and heightened academic expectations. This struggle can be even more difficult for those who are historical "outsiders" in the legal profession (racial, ethnic, and religious minorities, women, LGBTQIA+ students, first generation students, and others).
If you are from one of these historically underrepresented groups, the natural difficulty of law school can feel like an enormous burden. You have to deal not only with the academic challenge in front of you, but you also often carry the weight of being a representative of your group. When I find myself in a situation where I am the only Black man in the room (or even just one of a few), every word I say matters more, is scrutinized differently, and reflects not just upon me, but upon my entire race. This is unfair, but it is real. And the internal pressure this creates can interfere with our ability to reach our full potential.
But when we realize that we belong--when we feel it inside as truth--we relax. We open up. We are free to become the greatest versions of ourselves. We recognize that struggles are not signs that we do not fit; rather, they are opportunities to help us recognize ways we can improve, if we have the right mindset.
As you explore the book and this website, I hope that you find what you need to know that you belong in law school and in the legal profession.
I was a mediocre (at best) high school and college student who somehow made it into and then thrived in law school. Since then, it has been my mission to help others have the breakthrough I had--unlocking their full potential. I honestly believe that if I succeeded in law school, anyone can. I have spent the last 15+ years working to help law students succeed.