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Why do people drop out of law school, and what keeps someone motivated?

Im in junior in high school and I have always wanted to become a lawyer, but I am constantly meeting people who dropped out of law school which is making me wonder if law will be a part of my future. #law #government #lawyers #business-lawyer

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Jung Hwa’s Answer

A lot of people in law school find that law isn't all they thought it would be (all those TV shows glamorizing the industry aren't helping!) I imagine that confronting the reality of practicing law (and its many costs) causes a lot of people to drop out, rather than a loss in motivation. I think you're on the right path if you're talking to people who dropped out of law school, talking to practicing lawyers, and using resources like Career Village to figure out whether you're truly interested in practicing law. You need to have done the requisite research to figure out whether you really want to commit 3 years of your life, 180K in tuition, and make a lot of personal sacrifices to practice law. I'd suggest doing as many internships as you can -- that's one of the few ways to figure out whether you enjoy the day-to-day of a job enough.

Kudos for sharing the tough truth. Jared Chung BACKER

Ha, it is unfortunately the tough truth for too many of us. To clarify, I'm not trying to discourage anyone from practicing law. I'm just encouraging people to do their homework so that they know what they're getting into...and it's impossible to know what you're getting into without visiting schools, talking to students, working with practicing lawyers, etc. Jung Hwa Song

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Bob’s Answer

Like you, I know of many people who started but didn't finish law school. I don't think there is one particular reason- people leave for lots of different reasons. Some realize that law school is not for them- it is a very demanding three years with no guarantee you will pass the bar exam. Others have personal reasons, such as a death in the family, marriage, etc. I have a close friend who 'dropped out' of law school only to open up a tech start up and become extremely successful as a technology entrepreneur. He realized partially through that being a lawyer wasn't his passion.

Law school is a necessity for being a lawyer in the United States, and it doesn't come with any guarantees. Before you decide to apply, look at the schools you are interested in to see what the bar exam passage rates are, and also look at the employment rates are after graduation. See if you can attend some law classes to see what the experience is like, and spend some time on a Saturday night at a law school law library. The best way to be sure you will finish school is to understand the reality of life as a law student. Once you make the decision, keep your eyes on the prize. You can do anything you put your mind to.

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Elizabeth’s Answer

In addition to the comments noted above, if you are unsure about law school, consider taking in college courses such as business law and contracts. These courses will introduce you to key legal concepts, require you to read materials carefully and analyze potential outcomes - all of which are critical skills that are honed in law school.

Another thing to consider is that there are so many areas of study in college that can prepare you for law school, you are not limited to classic "pre-law" programs such as political science or history. You can major in areas such as finance, engineering, or even nursing and then study law. Law is a good field that can be stacked on top of another area of expertise you learn in college.

Finally, be open minded about how you get to and through law school. Many schools in metropolitan areas offer part-time or night programs, and some offer curriculum on line. As long as the law school is accredited by the ABA (American Bar Association), you can find a program that would allow you to work and go to school at the same time. That is how many accountants and even police officers attain a law degree while working. If you are taking classes and studying nights and weekends while you hold down a job, you will quickly learn if you want to complete law school. Best of luck!

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Gary’s Answer

Good question, you have good answers above but thought I would add some insights.
I think people drop out of things for many reasons - personal, professional, financial , emergencies and some even more deep reasons like not being sure that the law is the right career for them, possibly not wanting to be in a position to control other people's lives and having more of a philosophical issue with the law.
I will say this, for everyone you met that dropped out there are probably 3 people that did not drop out and are lawyers today! :) Hope this helps, good luck.