I am convinced the reason why so many lawyers are so miserable is because they don't REALLY know what they're getting into. Whoever mentioned people should do some kind of legal work first, I completely agree with that. When faced with the reality of what law firm life is really like, many people would probably decide not to go. Many people (like myself) may be reassured that it is something they want to do.
I have enjoyed reading the responses here and hope to add my own two cents.
Am I still glad? The Jury's still out on that one.
After having completed two years of law school I can fully agree with the quote from above that many people are unhappy because they missed that chapter in Planet Law School that said "Don't do this unless you know what you're getting into." To that end, many of my classmates are/were liberal arts majors who had nothing better to do with their bachelor's degree, weren't making any money in the workforce and just upped and decided to go to law school as some type of a "get rich quick" plan - only to find out that law school and the legal profession is FAR from that.
You can graduate from law school and make $145k or $45k. Its different from med school where irrespective of what particular residency you enter, you're guaranteed to come out making $150k, $200k, and even $250k in some areas. The law has no such guarantee. So to the poster in the first few pages who said that there are far easier ways to make (more) money, you couldn't be more correct.
But as far as my personal perspective, the reason why I'm torn is because I actually like the process of learning the law, the intellectual stimulation, being charged with the task of finding the most persuasive answer to a complex fact pattern, etc. So I like the educational side of law school.
What I can't stand is the dirt and grime of the legal profession and those in it. I'm not talking about work or long hours, I'm moreso talking about the elitist attitudes, the snobbery of the law, and all the other nonesense that comes along with actually finding a job in the law.
I guess my frustration generates from the old school notion that if you work hard and handle your business in the classroom then things like finding a job shouldn't be a problem, but in law school I've discovered the hard way that you can't take anything for granted. (although I'll concede that this probably doesn't apply if you attend Harvard, but for the rest of us who don't...)
I think what may be the most frustrating aspect for all law students, regardless of what law school you go to, is that the things that may interest us the most within the law usually pay the least. Not that its all about money, but unfortunately the majority of law students at every law school are faced with a significant amount of debt upon graduation. So its been my experience that we're often forced to sacrifice what we'd like to do for what what will pay the bills. Personally speaking, I've had the pleasure of externing for a federal judge in the nearby District Court, and I absolutely loved it! I am currently interning for a mid/large size NYC law firm and I can't say that I'm as thrilled.
So I guess you could say that I love the substance of the law, but hate the procedures that govern the profession.