Law School Discussion

Should I look into a career in law?

Should I look into a career in law?
« on: November 13, 2008, 02:37:01 PM »
I am a junior in high school right now

Re: Should I look into a career in law?
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2008, 07:39:51 PM »

I originally wrote a really sarcastic response because you are too far away to worry about your career in law.

However, I'll answer you questions.

Yes, the legal field is still very lucrative. The hours aren't decent. Actually, they're terrible when you're starting your career and don't always get better. As far as everything else, I'm a 1L and haven't started worrying about which field I want and don't care about the difference in earning potential of equity and non-equity partners.


Also, don't be the kid who tells everyone the first day of undergrad that he's going to law school. I knew 5 or 6 kids like that and 1 of them actually ended up going. Don't spend too much time worrying and preparing either. Your have four year to be irresponsible and live life; do it. Make lifelong friends and memories. All of this will teach you important lessons (when you mess up) and make you more interesting and fun (actually very important when interviewing with firms).

Re: Should I look into a career in law?
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2009, 02:43:58 PM »

The legal field is still very lucrative.  First year's salaries at the big law firms are approximately $160,000.  But, in order for the firm to pay those salaries, they expect a lot in terms of billable hours. A lawyer friend of mine who is a partner in a larger law firm (he specializes in corporate law) makes about $800,000 or more. When he first started he worked so hard, and grew so tired that sometimes he couldn't remember how he got home at night. Big firm practice is only available to those who went to the top law schools however.  Getting into a top law school is another huge challenge.

There are many satisfying careers in say government, public interest, as well as in-house lawyers that pay less but have regular hours
.  I worked as a public interest lawyer for about ten years, I was paid about $65,000-70,000 which at the time in the 1990's was horrible compared to the law firms, but pretty good for a public interest job.  Jobs such as clerking for a Federal judge pay horribly and have long hours, but landing such a job is hugely prestigious and will open doors for you galore.

I've been out of law school 18 plus years, have a semi-distinguished and prestigious career, have regular hours and only make about $140,000.  But I love my job. 
My sister is a lawyer.  She says she wishes she had the desire to help people like I do, but its the money that she wants so she can have a decent quality of life.  She has a kid and a house, and I don't.  I don't fault her for it, and sometimes I am a little jealous of her nice house and the comfortable life she has with her cute, well-dressed little boy.   

You have to figure out who you are, what motivates you and what you want out of life.
  I heard this quote recently in a movie: "A life devoted to helping others is the only life worth living."  I think this is true, for me. 

I love the law, and going to law school was one of the best things I've done in my life. But it was also one of the most difficult and loneliest experiences in my life.

I sense you could get what you want by going to Business school, majoring in something like accounting.   That's practical - this is what my father wanted me to do! And far less expensive than law school.  Law school is so hard, expensive, and stressful.  It doesn't seem like the best idea for someone who isn't at least fairly passionate about the law. My friend went to law school to please her parents.  Five years, and $80,000 law school debt later, she was so unhappy in the law, she left legal practice.  She still was stuck with the debt.  It's more than 15 years later and I think she still is trying to pay off that debt.

On a positive note you don't have to decide this now.  Just try to get good grades, and eventually you'll hopefully stumble upon something that resonates in you.  I didn't get a sense of who I was and where I wanted to go until I was an old fogey of almost 30.  My journey was a longer and bumpier road than many, but I still got there eventually - the journey was very interesting ... it just goes to show it's never too late if you're open to learning and occasionally stumbling.

Good luck.