2 answers

How can I determine whether or not I should (or even want to) go to Law School?

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I've been considering an education in law for years. Ever since I was little, my family would jokingly tell me that I would be a great lawyer because of my confidence in my public speaking and my love of healthy debate. As I grow older, I still receive the same feedback but with the addition of my creative and logical thinking skills paired with my education in writing and persuasion. I'm not so sure that I'd like to be a practicing attorney, though. Is it still worth an education in law even if I don't practice? How do I know if I'm even cut out for law school? #law #law-school #college #lawyers

2 answers

Tracy’s Answer

Updated

If you are not sure whether you want to practice, I suggest that you do not go to law school until you've spoken to attorneys in the fields that you may be interested in, seen how practice works in an office (either as a law clerk or paralegal), and line up enough finances to pay for part of the way/look for schools with a good scholarship program.


I say this because as a lawyer myself, I know many people who are unhappy in the law, and yes, it has made me anxious and stressed out too at times! I am grateful for the skills that my job has taught me, but it isn't my highest called. When you go to law school based on high level perceptions or reasoning from others, it will be difficult to sustain you in the tough moments of law school and in the long hours of work (this applies to the private sector certainly and some areas of the public service sector).


That being said, I have found a few people who are truly happy in the law, but they are not in the majority.


My acquaintance has written an article that I wish I read before I went to law school. After being in the law for 4 years, I can say this portrayal aligns with my experience: https://thegirlsguidetolawschool.com/should-you-go-to-law-school/

Kim’s Answer

Updated

Sara,

Your question mentions your love of healthy debate, along with skills and education in public speaking, creative and persuasive writing, and logical thinking skills. I think it is rather "telling" that you mentioned nothing about the love of law, perfection, being a "type A" personality, or pursuit of justice. The world is full of analysts and motivational speakers who are not lawyers. In my experience around lawyers, the thing that stands out the most is that they are truly DRIVEN.


Forget anything you have seen on TV. Lawyers work 60-70 hours a week, including Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. If they are working on something and wake up at 2 a.m. with a great idea, they get up and run with it, and then go to the office at 8. Some lawyers are totally stressed because everything has to be perfect. Really perfect. And, there are a gazillion everythings to obsess over. There are rules, rules, and more rules. And most cases do not go to trial. You must also find time to exercise, to vent some of that stress.


If someone wants to be a lawyer, that's great! But, I would encourage you to explore what other careers match these skills. Also consider being a paralegal. They can make a decent salary, and do much of the research, writing, and client interactions for the attorney. The attorney is ultimately responsible for your work. The education requirement is much lower - an associate degree will usually suffice. I would also encourage you to explore the various legal specialization fields, and see if you feel any of them truly calling you.


It is good that you are exploring this question right now. I hope you find your answers!


Kim