Kevin T.’s Answer
That's a really good question. I am a lawyer and happy that I chose this career path. I really didn't know what I wanted to do coming out of college, but I did know that I enjoyed school and that I didn't want to go straight into the workforce. I chose to go to law school because law is such a diverse field and you can do just about anything with a legal degree. I'm glad I went because I had a great time in law school. I met friends that I've had for my entire life, and I made great memories during my time in school. I've also had an interesting career and held many different roles. For example, I've worked for the United States Government, the United Nations, a private law firm, and Yahoo! during my career. I've litigated disputes in court, I've counseled clients on their activities, I've worked on detailed agreements and transactions for my clients, and I've lobbied both federal and state regulators and politicians.
I would also say that being a lawyer puts you in the position of helping people solve their problems, which can be motivating and is generally a good thing. For example, I spent a lot of years litigating patent cases for Yahoo!, which I found very interesting, and Yahoo! needed me to resolve those cases for them.
If you are not sure what you want to do in life, but want to help people, then going to law school and being a lawyer is a good first step. Once in law school, you can take many different classes and decide what subject area of the law you like, such as constitutional law, criminal law, or intellectual property law to name a few areas. After that, you can decide whether you want to work in a big company or a small one, whether you want to be in a law firm, in-house in a company, with the government, or a non-profit, whether you want to do counseling work or transactional work or litigation.
The one thing I will say about being a lawyer is that it can require long hours of work, particularly early in your career, so that you can develop expertise and good judgment in your chosen field of law. But that's going to be required in any job you do if you want to be successful, law is no different.
Despite the long hours, as a lawyer you generally get very interesting projects to work on. Those projects keep your mind active and challenged to constantly learn new things and to think creatively.
Generally, most lawyers I know work indoors, and spend a lot of time on their computers reading and writing documents. They also spend a lot of time talking to their clients. So there are times when you are by yourself, and other times when you have to have good people skills.
I hope this gives you some insights as to what it's like to be a lawyer and why you might want to consider it as a career.
Kevin T. recommends the following next steps:
- Work on your writing ability. The best lawyers I know are really good writers.