Were you a good law student?

Minnesota criminal defense attorney Joe Friedberg shares how he did much better as a law student than an undergrad.

Contact Joseph Friedberg

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 612-339-8626


Ah hah. I had terrible undergraduate grades, and I was – at that point I didn’t have a degree, but I had a girlfriend, who later became my wife, and I also at that point was an itinerant door-to-door book salesman. And she said, “You know, haven’t you ever wanted to do anything?” And I said, “Well, I kinda thought maybe some day I might like to be a lawyer,” so she got me to take the law school aptitude test and I did very well on it. So I sent applications to – you didn’t need an undergraduate degree in those days because a law degree was not a graduate degree. Okay? So I sent applications to Georgetown, Virginia, and Carolina. I don’t believe Georgetown or Virginia ever opened the envelope, because I got rejected before I thought the application could possibly have gotten there.

But I was minding my own business and the secretary of the dean of the law school at Carolina called me, ’cause I was living in Chapel Hill, and said, “The dean would like to speak to you.” I’m wearing jeans and a T-shirt, and she said, “So is the dean.” It was summertime. So I went over and I went in, and he said, “Sit down.” And he said, “I just wanted to meet the person with a background like yours that would have the audacity to apply to my law school.”

I’m thinking, “This interview’s not going very well,” but I kinda had a feeling that we were gonna get along and we did. And he admitted me to Carolina’s law school on permanent probation – his right, for any reason or no reason, to throw me out at any time. And I graduated second in my class. The first day I was in class in law school was the first thing I ever heard that was of interest to me from a lectern.