Law School Discussion

What's good about being an attorney?

Re: What's good about being an attorney?
« Reply #30 on: April 19, 2006, 05:47:13 AM »

Civility is not a virtue that the majority of lawyers today choose to advertise.

Do you think they possess it in the first place?!


Re: What's good about being an attorney?
« Reply #31 on: April 19, 2006, 09:25:23 AM »
I'm a practicing lawyer in a mid-sized firm.  I love what I do:

- You get paid to think about interesting and challenging things. 
- Most of the people you work with are smart.
- You get to see, and often redirect, the inner workings of society -- big business, small business, politics, bureaucracy, the criminal justice system, you name it.
- The rush you get when someone comes to you with a problem that s/he can't handle, and you make it go away.
- The prestige that comes with belonging to one of the "learned professions."
- The other perks -- your own office with a view, freedom to come and go as long as your work is covered, support staff to take care of annoying stuff like IT, copier jams, burnt-out lights, etc.
- The pay.  Doing any job full-time is hard; you might as well get a good salary in return.

On the other hand, the "helping others" part of law is not such a big plus for me.  Anyone who provides a good or service that people willingly pay for is equally "good" for society in my book.  But then I'm a libertarian.

And, yes, there are times when I want to throw the phone out the window and go live on the beach in SoCal.  But thankfully they are rare.  The good times do make up for the bad times.

The key IMO is finding a practice area that suits your personality, finding a good firm in a city you like, and keeping your expenses well below your income.

Re: What's good about being an attorney?
« Reply #32 on: April 19, 2006, 04:29:29 PM »
ESQ now has a great, honest perspective.  I'm a practicing lawyer in a mid-sized firm.  I'm in a smaller firm and agree with all except, the support staff aren't neccesarily helpful and the boss doesn't allow much flexibility in the come and go.  I was a paralegal for two years before going to law school, and a friend of mine still is, pulled in $109,000 last year.  she worked long hours, but didn't have to.  only the bigger firms in the bigger cities will pay that, but the plus is, as a paralegal you can start counting the extra money in the paycheck with each OT hour.  also, paralegal doesn't bring the work home with them, you have more flexibility to say, 'i'm going on vacation', and during the work day you have a lot more fun because you don't exactly engage your mind doing bates stamping, copying, etc.  the downside of that lifelong paralegal is, you never have control over who you work for whereas after you've been practicing awhile, you can decide you aren't working for the jerk client or jerk boss and go do it on your own (or from the start).  and, a 60 year old attorney practicing is prestige, a 60 year old paralegal, not so much

another perspective.  if you get into a I or II tier law school, you will probably get into a mid to large size firm with great benefits.  if you go to a lower tier, you'll start out lower tier firm, or the solo guys who are difficult, and the benefits aren't so good because of size.   if you are a good paralegal with smarts but not the money or lsat to go to a top tier school (the lower tier schools will throw more scholarship money your way if you have a top tier lsat), but don't care about the office, the prestige, or the choice of who to work for, then paralegal at a top firm is a good route.  especially if you are beyond, say later 20's because you will be out of the job market for 3-4 years, and your first year or two will not be making big bucks.  throw in the law school debt, and it'll take a good 6 years or more to recover from the law school debt to get back where you were as a paralegal pre-law school.

if you get into a top 20, no brainer, go!  anything less, depends on what's important to you.

Re: What's good about being an attorney?
« Reply #33 on: April 19, 2006, 05:38:03 PM »

if you get into a top 20, no brainer, go! anything less, depends on what's important to you.

I'd say top 10, maybe 14, silver. As it has been said many many times by now on this board, there's simply no point in going to law school and becoming a lawyer if you don't make enough money to counter the horrible effects that law school and law as a career will have on you. For 90% of lower tier school graduates this means that they're simply @ # ! * e d in the ass given the fact that they will lead a very stressful life while earning a lousy salary even many years after they graduate!


Re: What's good about being an attorney?
« Reply #34 on: April 22, 2006, 04:45:08 AM »

{...} As it has been said many many times by now on this board, there's simply no point in going to law school and becoming a lawyer if you don't make enough money to counter the horrible effects that law school and law as a career will have on you. {...}

This has not been really said here ... at least not in this exact same manner ...

Re: What's good about being an attorney?
« Reply #35 on: April 22, 2006, 05:12:51 AM »
Madam, you're a good writer. Why is what you wrote relevant? Just curious. It was interesting, notably.

It's also polite and common practice within our profession to CITE THE WORK OF OTHER PEOPLE

That is an article written by John Fudjack in 1995


Re: What's good about being an attorney?
« Reply #36 on: April 22, 2006, 05:27:20 AM »
Thanks, pappy13.  I don't know why people paste large chunks of others' work onto boards like this.  As soon as I get the feeling that some poster has done that (and you can usually tell within the first few phrases), I just skip the whole post.


Is law school right for me?
« Reply #37 on: April 22, 2006, 05:59:46 AM »
Signs that point to yes:

- You like sifting through fine details
- You are sure you EITHER want to practice law in some way *OR* are a real go-getter trailblazer who is secure forging a non-traditional path.
- You like learning (I mean genuinely enjoy stuffing new facts into your head regularly, thinking hard about challenging issues).
- You are comfortable mentally grasping and juggling ambiguities but ultimately comfortable making a hard and fast decision.

Signs that point to no:

- You're very unassertive.
- You don't like dressing up. While you CAN get a law degree and go into a career that doesn’t require you to dress "professionally," the odds are against you.
- You are dead-set on making the world a better place. I add this with some reserve, but in my heart I believe that people who go into law with 100% altruistic motives tend to get jaded and burned out.  Want to really change the world?  Start your own company, join the Peace Corp, do volunteer work every weekend.  While you CAN do this stuff with a law degree, it just doesn’t seem like the most time or cost efficient method, IMHO.


Re: What's good about being an attorney?
« Reply #38 on: April 23, 2006, 05:18:53 PM »
the thing that's good about an attorney is that you can think, act, and feel like an ass, while not being called so ... because attorneys are thought to be smart instead of dumbasses!

Re: What's good about being an attorney?
« Reply #39 on: July 20, 2006, 02:30:28 AM »
I've had many friends who made the commitment to an expensive legal education only to discover they hated law because it didn't meet their expectations. Now they work as attorneys only because they don't want to "waste" their degrees. On the other hand, I've known people who thought law school wasn't so bad and love their jobs. It's really a matter of knowing what you want and what to expect.

Law school applicants fall into three categories:

The Idealists
"I want to help people and change the world ..." I, too, was once an idealist. After becoming fed up with my job as a social worker, I thought going to law school would be the best way to give me the ability to change social policy. While lawyers do have the ability to affect change on a case-by-case basis, it is important to realize (as I eventually did) that there is a tremendous amount that lawyers can't change.

Deborah Aaron, author of "What Can You Do With a Law Degree? A Lawyer's Guide to Career Alternatives Inside, Outside, & Around the Law," emphasizes that law school may not be the best way to make your dream of changing society come true. "It's a very expensive way to contribute," she said. "Law school is so expensive and public interest jobs pay so little that you can't afford to go out and change the world and do good." She also points out that affecting change through law is the exception rather than the rule. "The law has been significant in changing things: Brown vs. Board of Education, for example. You could be one of those rare few lawyers, but I wouldn't recommend going to law school with this as your sole goal," she said.

The Dazed and Confused
"When in doubt, go to law school ..." So many of my friends who have struggled to find a career have said to me, "Well, I guess I can always go to law school." It's as if law school was their last-ditch attempt to become a respectable member of society. They know they don't want to be doctors or go into business, so why not be a lawyer? Some go to law school without even wanting to be lawyers -- they cling to the hope that their degree will be useful no matter what career path they choose. These are the people who are most likely to be unhappy in law school and even unhappier when they graduate.

A legal education provides exceptional training for a variety of fields. Going to law school knowing that you don't want to practice law is okay as long as you have some idea of how your education will fit into your career goals. Going to law school just because you have nothing else to do is a serious mistake. There is definitely something to be said for the benefits of having a law degree, but law school is a demanding and rigorous experience that warrants a little more consideration and certainty than making it a when-all-else-fails type of alternative.

The Realists
"Money, money, money!" and "Esquire is such a cool courtesy title ..." It can be a nice way to make money, but statistically you're better off going into computer work than law. On average, entry-level computer workers earn more than entry-level attorneys. There are positions that offer prestige and very substantial salaries. But those positions are highly competitive and require a serious time commitment. So, if you're just in it for the money, you should probably revise your plans. Still, a definite benefit of being an attorney is the tremendous power you wield. One thing about being an attorney is the instant prestige and respect you get from others.