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Author Topic: Are you happy?  (Read 2817 times)

mecarr

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Are you happy?
« on: July 22, 2006, 02:22:13 PM »
Just from browsing some of the topics for the past few months, I've concluded the vast majority of people on this board want to succeed in law school. At the same time, most people seem unhappy. They are either unhappy with their work load or regretful over the decision to attend law school in the first place. Those who do graduate from law school don't seem to be in a better mood. They complain that their job works them like a dog. Maybe it does. Needless to say, if so many of you people in law school are unhappy, why don't you quit and do something else that makes you happy? Sometimes it seems as if most of you forget the fact that you don't have to be in law school, that you don't have to keep your bad associate's job.

What do you think?

Jumboshrimps

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Re: Are you happy?
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2006, 03:59:10 PM »
If there's anything that nearly all law students have in common, it's the belief that quitting is the worst type of failure. I think that should answer your question.

jimmyjohn

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Re: Are you happy?
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2006, 04:28:15 PM »
I think that overzealous 0L's have unrealistic expectations of law.  That's what I think.  After being in law school for a year, and with others on this board for longer than that, it is strange to us that you people act like law school and law practice is the best thing since sliced bread.  Sure, it's pretty interesting and is a decent way to make a middle class living.  But I think you are mistaking depression for realism.  It is impossible to maintain the level of excitment that, for some reason, accompanies the start of law school.  If anything, we are the ones with the proper perspective on the law, and you are the one that needs to get more realistic about how things work.  Come back in a year and see if your head is still in the clouds.

jacy85

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Re: Are you happy?
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2006, 05:21:09 PM »
I'm happy with the law.  Law school has its highs and lows.  The work load at times seems unbearable.  But you get through it, although often you have a few battle scars to show for it.

And people don't leave their bad associate jobs that they hate for two very interconnected reasons:  1) they don't know what else to do with their law degree, and 2) they need/want the money.  Ever hear the terms "golden handcuffs"?  Many people are forced to go into firms so they can make their $1000+/month loan payments (I'll be in this camp) but they make minimum payments, get used to the cushy lifestyle, and find that they can't bring themselves to leave.

There are also quite a few people that go into firms for a few years, pay their debt down to a manageable level, and then leave to do something else.  These people, from what I hear, tend to be happier, and therefore they don't female dog as much about how the law sucks and they hate their jobs.  I also plan on being in this camp, and after paying down debt and saving some money, I hope to leave for the D.A.'s office, which I'll hopefully enjoy.

johns259

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Re: Are you happy?
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2006, 02:07:56 AM »
I think that overzealous 0L's have unrealistic expectations of law.  That's what I think.  After being in law school for a year, and with others on this board for longer than that, it is strange to us that you people act like law school and law practice is the best thing since sliced bread.  Sure, it's pretty interesting and is a decent way to make a middle class living.  But I think you are mistaking depression for realism.
 

I agree with you wholeheartedly, being an overzealous 0L myself and knowing many 0Ls that act just as you've described. However, I would break overzealous 0Ls down into two categories: those with considerable life/work experience and those straight from undergrad with none. I feel it is primarily the latter that come in with unrealistic expectations.

I am a member of the former group, knowing that jobs you really enjoy doing are very rare. All I'm asking for is an interesting occupation and a comfortable middle class living at worst. Too many students imho enter law school never having worked a *&^% job in their lives. *&^% jobs build character and nurture a valuable cynicism in life, keeping you aware of the possible negative side to things.

I like how Professor Dershowitz welcomes his Crim Law 1Ls every year: "Statistically, it is likely that more of you will become criminal defendants than criminal defense lawyers."

AmicThisDOTcom

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Re: Are you happy?
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2006, 04:44:10 AM »
It's not just law students and eventual lawyers who are unhappy in their chosen profession --- welcome to the world!  I do believe one must be happy with their vocation, but in reality, I don't think it's always possible.  Better to stay in law school and get your JD --- if you're not happy a few years down the road, you move on.  I mean, really, what's the stats on JD's who no longer practice because it just wasn't a good fit?  If you quit now, you'll never know.  And bottom line is, all the *&^% you take as associates will pay off one day, so suck it up!
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jimmyjohn

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Re: Are you happy?
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2006, 07:51:02 AM »
I think that overzealous 0L's have unrealistic expectations of law.  That's what I think.  After being in law school for a year, and with others on this board for longer than that, it is strange to us that you people act like law school and law practice is the best thing since sliced bread.  Sure, it's pretty interesting and is a decent way to make a middle class living.  But I think you are mistaking depression for realism.
 

I agree with you wholeheartedly, being an overzealous 0L myself and knowing many 0Ls that act just as you've described. However, I would break overzealous 0Ls down into two categories: those with considerable life/work experience and those straight from undergrad with none. I feel it is primarily the latter that come in with unrealistic expectations.

I am a member of the former group, knowing that jobs you really enjoy doing are very rare. All I'm asking for is an interesting occupation and a comfortable middle class living at worst. Too many students imho enter law school never having worked a *&^% job in their lives. *&^% jobs build character and nurture a valuable cynicism in life, keeping you aware of the possible negative side to things.

I like how Professor Dershowitz welcomes his Crim Law 1Ls every year: "Statistically, it is likely that more of you will become criminal defendants than criminal defense lawyers."

Good distinction.  The silver spoon kids who have never held a bad job (where things are bad nearly every day) will likely lack the perspective needed to weather the tough times.  For 6 months following graduation, I had to be at work routintely before 5 am.  I think this helped prepare me for law school immensely.

tacojohn

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Re: Are you happy?
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2006, 09:22:02 AM »
I agree with you wholeheartedly, being an overzealous 0L myself and knowing many 0Ls that act just as you've described. However, I would break overzealous 0Ls down into two categories: those with considerable life/work experience and those straight from undergrad with none. I feel it is primarily the latter that come in with unrealistic expectations.

I am a member of the former group, knowing that jobs you really enjoy doing are very rare. All I'm asking for is an interesting occupation and a comfortable middle class living at worst. Too many students imho enter law school never having worked a *&^% job in their lives. *&^% jobs build character and nurture a valuable cynicism in life, keeping you aware of the possible negative side to things.

I like how Professor Dershowitz welcomes his Crim Law 1Ls every year: "Statistically, it is likely that more of you will become criminal defendants than criminal defense lawyers."
More people straight out of undergrad have unrealistic expectations, but I wouldn't say it's "primarily" those people.  Lots and lots of people who have a ton of life experience came to my law school with unrealistic expectations about how hard it would be, how it would change them, what it would be like, etc.  Sure, having worked a job may make you understand how much worse off you could be, but I don't think it prevents people from expecting too much.  For all the "silver spoon" kids, there are a sizeable number of non-traditionals who expect law school and a legal career to instantly give them the respect, admiration and envy of everyone around them.

A lot of them also have unrealistic expectations about what being back in school will be like.  Some expect law school to be a lot more serious than it is, and are disgusted when people act like high school and college students.  Others expect it to be a lot more immature than it really is, and are shocked when people aren't procrastinating and drinking all the time.

As far as the OP's question, remember where you are.  I know a few people on this board say "I hate law school."  I know a few say law school was a mistake.  But remember where you are.  You're on a message board, where it's easy to whine and moan, and a lot harder to express joy and happiness.  It's really easy to come to a message board when you're behind in your reading assignments, you don't want to work on your memo, you're frustrated and tired, and you want to procrastinate.  It's harder when you're ahead of your work, you're finding it very interesting, and you keep working because you enjoy what you're doing. 

I know many psychological studies say that lawyers and law students suffer from higher rates of depression than the general public, higher rates of stress-related illness, and higher rates of alcoholism.  Those are credible resources to find out about the negatives of law school and the legal industry.  LSD is not. 

Don't let this place change your expectations of law school.  I think a lot of people have done that.  Between a sizeable minority of posters here and the vast majority of XOXO posters, it's very easy to conclude that law school not only ends up being miserable, but that it's supposed to be miserable, and that if you are happy, rested, and well-fed at any point for at least two if not all three years, then you are doing something wrong or not working hard enough.  Law school is what you make it.  You say there's a lot of people you would ask why they just don't quit, and I would ask why some of these 0Ls are subjecting themselves to an experience that they expect to hate in the first place.  Most of the "realistic" 0Ls you'll find here are actually pessimistic.

slacker

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Re: Are you happy?
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2006, 11:32:53 AM »
I do agree with the premise that having real world experience gives one a sense of perspective. As a second career person, I've gone through the highs and lows of my former industry. Now that I'm preparing for law, I've got to say that it helps and it doesn't. It helps in that I'm used to working on the same thing for long stretches and putting in the hours. It doesn't help in that law school is quite different than the real-world work I did in IT.

One thing I have learned is that part of being happy is figuring out how to be happy regardless of what's going on in your world. It's understanding that aspect of yourself that lets you stay relatively upbeat through the long hours writing the first briefs, or the long nights of reading. While I can't say I'm always a happy person, I think school tends to have a lot let of an affect on my state of being than it does on some of my classmates who have little else in terms of their life experience. If someone complains to me about what they've got to do in school, I remind them that it's all voluntary.

Finally, I must admit that I find an analogy to six months of work experience amusing.

jason1114

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Re: Are you happy?
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2006, 02:00:36 PM »
Finally, I must admit that I find an analogy to six months of work experience amusing.

Ha ha yeah, really.