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what is the hardest part of being a lawyer and what is the best?

I’m a senior in highschool and I’m considering law school but I’m not completely sure if it’s meant for me I thought some insight might help

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Jenna’s Answer

I would encourage you to focus on good grades in high school, because you'll need those to get into a 4-year undergraduate program, which you have to have before you can apply to law school, and good grades count there as well. You could also ask your guidance counselor about an informational interview or shadowing an attorney in your area, so you can see what sort of work they do. I found law school harder than practicing law in a lot of ways, and what was hard there wasn't at all what I find hard in my actual job!

I am a transactional attorney with my own practice, so I don't really ever go to court and I tend to represent smaller clients. I read, draft, negotiate and review a LOT of contracts and related documents, and provide a lot of legal advice over the phone and via email, rarely if ever in person. The best part is when I feel like I can really advocate and help my client solve a problem- a lot of them feel its insurmountable, and are frustrated and they feel stuck. I enjoy "unsticking" them and helping get towards a solution, and its even better when its a cost-effective one. I also enjoy reading and writing documents and emails, and I also feel I have some prestige in my community. Of course, I also like getting paid!

The hard part for me isn't usually law-related. I own my own practice, so I handle payroll, hiring/firing, billing, admin, all of it, and it can be a lot of work that isn't law-related. I also REALLY don't like collecting bills or invoicing, but it's necessary. I also don't like when people expect free advice or get mad that I can't help them, even when I provide a resource that is better equipped than I am. I also feel frustrated when people don't take my advice and then get mad at the results.

The good outweighs the bad most days, but you have to be detail-oriented, precise in language and communication, and being organized and responsive and a logical thinker helps!
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Mary Rebekah’s Answer

Good morning! I think the biggest misconception about being an attorney is that all attorneys practice in the courtroom. A lot of attorneys do, but there are more attorneys who do transaction work, in house, compliance, real estate, estate planning, etc. I think you should focus on finding what area would make you happy! I wish that I knew that when I was in law school.
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Jennifer’s Answer

Some of the best parts of being a lawyer include interesting work, helping people, plenty of practice areas to choose from and international opportunities.

Some of the hardest parts of being a lawyer include working to tight deadlines, difficult negotiations and trying to interpret poorly drafted documents.

On balance I find that the best parts outweigh the hardest parts.

I hope this helps and I wish you all the best with your future career.
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Kim’s Answer

Ciara,

Since you mentioned an interest in criminal justice, I thought I'd weigh in. I'm a retired police officer, who then worked five years in legal support, with a Criminal Defense attorney. I think in criminal law the hardest part is the reality of the criminal justice system - that is, it compels innocent clients to take plea bargains rather than go to trial because the path to trial is very expensive, or, they are afraid of the possibility of a more severe outcome.

If you work as a prosecutor, you get the satisfaction of getting serious criminals locked up, giving victims' families some sense of justice.

Please keep in mind there are lots of different things you can do as a lawyer - lots of areas to specialize in, and jobs as well - you could work for a government agency writing laws, for example. So, if law, generally speaking, appeals to you, I'd encourage you to continue down this path. I'd also encourage you to evaluate the Paralegal programs, as Paralegals often do much of the research and writing for the attorneys they work for.
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