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Author Topic: How do you decide that a career in law is for you?  (Read 733 times)

LawSchoolDunce

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How do you decide that a career in law is for you?
« on: January 12, 2009, 04:20:15 PM »
I was half-assed studying for the LSAT and considering law school a few years back, but got scared off by some things I read on this board and elsewhere. The points that concerned me most:

  • The idea that prospective students should be super-interested in the law
  • The high dropout rates for 1L students
  • The Socratic Method (sue me, I'm a bit shy)
  • Fear of acquiring a debt I won't be able to pay off

I took the February 2007 LSAT but canceled my score and decided not to apply anywhere (my scores on actual preptests taken at home were around 162 and my gpa is 3.75). I was thinking Fordham was likely, with BLS as a backup, and Columbia and NYU potentially being within reach (if I could get my score near 170, which I expect I can do).

Throughout my undergrad years, I heard over and over again that my qualities as a student would make me a good candidate for law: I'm a good writer, can plant myself for hours and hours of studying/research at a time, I like to read and can pretty much learn anything when I want to. I've never found myself particularly interested in the law (though I enjoyed US History and Government courses), but I've never heard of students who applied to dental school because they loved teeth, or students pursuing Pharm-Ds because they can't get enough of counting pills.

So this leaves me in a weird place right now. I took a long break from school and work (which will probably hurt my application), and I'm trying to figure out how a person decides that law is in their future. I read half of "Happy Hour is For Amateurs," which made law school seem both crappy and doable at the same time. The author didn't have the greatest of careers, but it put bread on the table better than my BA in English Lit is doing for me right now.

What has helped other people decide they want to try law? How bad is it debt-wise if you drop out in your first year?

I was thinking about getting an entry-level position at a law office (legal assistant? secretary?) to see if it will give me a taste of what a career in law will be like. Is this a sound plan or a waste of time? Is there a better way to find out if law is for me? BTW, I don't know any lawyers to ask these questions to, though I know of several lawyers who weren't nearly as good students in school as I was, yet got through law school and make decent money.

I didn't intend to make this post so long, but I thought explaining my situation would make it easier for people to give me some advice.

econtutorNV

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Re: How do you decide that a career in law is for you?
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2009, 04:44:22 PM »
I would highly recommend getting an entry level position in a firm to see if it's something you're interested in. There is nothing better then getting paid to check out a possible career before taking a six figure plunge. Some people might disagree and say your time is better spent elsewhere but for me it really helped to convince me that I am making the right decision.

As for minimizing exposure if in your first year you decide that it isn't worth it there are plenty of options. Live at home, don't go out much, go to a cheaper state school or to a school with easy to maintain scholarships over paying sticker at a private school (this choice, however, becomes impossible to justify if you get accepted to a T-14.

However, and I really can't stress this enough, you really should ask yourself why you're going to law school. If you're only going because it doesn't seem like you have anything better going on do yourself a favor and look into something else. Ask yourself what you want to do with your life, if you don't need a law degree to do it then it's better to save yourself the three years and a possible mountain of debt. Go to law school because you want the chance of being a lawyer, not for any other reason.
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SavoyTruffleShuffle

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Re: How do you decide that a career in law is for you?
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2009, 05:26:31 PM »
Personally, I looked up NYC BIGLAW! starting salaries and thought "I gotta git me summa dat"

econtutorNV

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Re: How do you decide that a career in law is for you?
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2009, 05:31:28 PM »
^^^^^^^^^^^
Aaaaawww yeah, Bentley's  and bottle service.
UGPA-3.33 LSAT-164

In- Tulane ($$), Baylor, USD, Santa Clara ($), IU-B ($), Loyola
Out-Minnesota. UIUC
WL-Notre Dame, Hastings
Pending- Emory, WUSTL, W & L, Davis, GULC PT, GMU, GW PT, UC-I (gotta dream, right?)

penni_rose

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Re: How do you decide that a career in law is for you?
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2009, 05:51:25 PM »
I actually have a story on how I decided to go to law school. I hope it helps others.

A few years ago, I moved to Boston to get my M.A. I was a writer, with no hope of making a career in that field, so I decided to study publishing. I made it a year through my master's program and had a job in the field that I was really enjoying, but I wasn't passionate about it.

One of my profs assigned a book called The Journalist and the Murderer about a case where a convicted murderer sues a journalist. I got obsessed with the case, both the criminal trial and the civil suit. I spent hours researching it and couldn't stop talking about the legalities of it in our class discussion. Someone in the class said, "God, you should be a lawyer," and I laughed it off, because there are a ton of lawyers in my family and I wanted to do something different. But the more I thought about it, the more interested I was. I started studying other cases until one day I was just like "Oh crap, I want to be a lawyer."

I decided to finish my master's and then apply to law school. And I haven't looked back yet. It was actually the first career option I've felt good about.

Fishbowl

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Re: How do you decide that a career in law is for you?
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2009, 06:34:13 PM »
If you want to be a lawyer, go to law school.  If you want to learn the law, go to law school.  If you don't just make sure you do something that will require a lawyer so that you can help the rest of us out.  Thanks. 

econtutorNV

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Re: How do you decide that a career in law is for you?
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2009, 06:40:53 PM »
If you want to be a lawyer, go to law school.  If you want to learn the law, go to law school.  If you don't just make sure you do something that will require a lawyer so that you can help the rest of us out.  Thanks. 

TITCR
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In- Tulane ($$), Baylor, USD, Santa Clara ($), IU-B ($), Loyola
Out-Minnesota. UIUC
WL-Notre Dame, Hastings
Pending- Emory, WUSTL, W & L, Davis, GULC PT, GMU, GW PT, UC-I (gotta dream, right?)

loki13

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Re: How do you decide that a career in law is for you?
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2009, 09:02:49 PM »
If you can't be a part of the solution, become a lawyer.