New Books Network

Kathryne M. Young

How to Be Sort of Happy in Law School

Stanford University Press 2018

New Books in EducationNew Books in LawNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in SociologyNew Books Network September 22, 2020 Ian J. Drake

Kathryne M. Young, an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, has written a combination of a sociological study and self-help...

Kathryne M. Young, an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, has written a combination of a sociological study and self-help book about and for American law school students.

In How to Be Sort of Happy in Law School (Stanford UP, 2018), Dr. Young surveyed over 1,100 then-current law students, 250 alumni, and conducted detailed interviews with law students about their experiences in law school and concerns about pedagogy, other students, law professors, and hopes and fears about school and their future careers. Young’s work reveals the diversity of types of people and personalities who attend law school and how remarkably similar their experiences are, ranging from the most selective schools to the least. She reveals the varieties of perspectives and coping mechanisms used by students to grapple with the challenges of legal education. Dr. Young also includes much of her own impressions from when she was a law student at Stanford. Her perspectives and the responses of her subjects allow the book to also serve as a kind of self-help book for law students and anyone contemplating law school. In this interview, she discusses her sources, the current state of legal education and law students, and her hopes for reforms in legal education.


Ian J. Drake is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Law at Montclair State University. His scholarly interests include American legal and constitutional history and political theory.