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what is it like working in law

i want to be a lawyer #law

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Subject: Career question for you

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Katharine’s Answer

When I was in the 8th Grade, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. I have been practicing law for over 20 years and I love it! As with any career, it depends on where you work and with whom, but it mostly depends on what you make of it. I've always enjoyed writing and arguing. I was fascinated with how several people could look at the same situation and set of facts, yet come up with different positions. Arguing that position well and convincing others that they were right was intriguing to me. The opportunities to use a law degree/law license are nearly limitless. There are traditional legal jobs (like you see on TV) but there are many, many others.

My advice is not to become a lawyer (or any other profession for that matter) just because it sounds prestigious or you think you can make a lot of money. It should be something you're truly interested in because it requires a lot of hard work. Law school is not "easy"! There is a lot of time and effort involved as there is with anything in which you want to be successful. Being a 'traditional' lawyer (representing clients) requires that you read and write A LOT, requires an ability to speak in front of people, be a good listener, able to handle deadlines, and more. The work is challenging, exciting and rewarding, but there are times when it is tedious, boring, and exhausting. Even still, it is work I look forward to every day!

Katharine recommends the following next steps:

Get comfortable with public speaking.
Take classes that require analytical thinking and writing.
Work on reading comprehension.
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Rob’s Answer

While it varies depending on what type of law you practice, the baseline for almost all lawyers is that you will spend the majority of your time reading and writing. So, the advice I give anyone interested in law as a career is to go to a local law library (could be at a law school or local courthouse, for example), ask the librarian for a casebook that would be used in a 1L course (like contracts, torts, or property) and then start reading for 2-3 hours straight. At the end of that time, ask yourself how you feel: were you interested in the material? did you find it intriguing or boring (or maybe a bit of both)? Is this something you would want to spend much (if not most) of your time doing? Undoubtedly, the material will seem foreign and confusing to you, so don't worry if you don't understand it: ask yourself how did the experience of wrestling with confusing material make you FEEL?

The point of this exercise is to model the law school experience a little bit and see how you respond. Obviously, being a lawyer and being a law student are quite different, but you can't get to be the former without being the latter first. More to the point, three years of law school + bar prep + several years as a junior associate doing research assignments (as is common) is a long time to spend in a library if you don't love the process. And if you don't love reading and writing that much, that's OKAY! It just means you might be better off doing something that is "legal adjacent" like business management, finance, public relations, etc.

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DENNIS’s Answer

Hi Hope: Working in the law is rewarding, frustrating, fun, boring, enjoyable and confusing. It is a field you need to keep learning all the time. It is hard work and always changing. There are days you go home feeling great and days you go home feeling beaten. A great deal depends on the field you elect to work within. Hope, I know a ton of lawyers who hate the field and a ton who love it. If you care about people and helping others than it is a field you should seriously look into! Good luck!
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