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Author Topic: Why law school? (especially now)  (Read 2569 times)

TexasColonel

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Why law school? (especially now)
« on: January 31, 2009, 01:14:42 AM »
***IF YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT LAW SCHOOL PLEASE READ THIS***

I find that there are more and more young people (even those just beginning high school) boldly, albeit naively, exclaiming that the want to go to law school and become "lawyers". But, in all of their naive innocence, what they don't realize is that law school is NOT what it is all hiped up to be.

First, if you're thinking of having fun in law school, THINK AGAIN! The three or four years of law school is designed to be nothing less than a willpower-testing and emotionally-defeating experience. If you think getting into law school is hard, GETTING OUT is ten times HARDER. Over the many decades of developing the modern law school experience in the US, law schools have come up with tools such as the Socratic Method, the first year curve, rankings and law review honors to "weed out" those whose resolve is not strong enough to be there. Once you are in law school, I guarantee you (and no one is an exception to this - whether you're at Harvard or Thomas Cooley) that you will question yourself time and time again, "do I belong here" or "what else could I be doing" or "where am I headed".

Second, law school is a tremendous financial endeaver. While some of you may not be concerned with this aspect of law school yet, you will realize that the average law school debt of $100,000 is nothing to take lightly. Even though your parents may be glad to take out that second mortgage for you to be able to pursue your dream, in effect, it all comes down to a $100,000 loss or, rather, a $100,000 opportunity cost (i.e. $100,000 is plenty of money to, in fact, start your own business/company after college). It also boggles the senses, why professionals, in this bad economy, are willing to leave their jobs in order to get MORE DEBT for something that is definitely not a sure thing. I will tell these people that you are definitely looking in the wrong place. Career changes rarely make people happier and the last place where you will find happiness is in the legal profession - which is a cruel cruel world for those who don't know - comprised of bitter drawn out feuds one after the other.

Third, while a law degree is versatile in some ways, the overwhelming majority of lawyers are litigators. In other words, if you don't like speaking in public, don't like being in courtrooms and don't like reading and writing hundreds of pages of legal documents, and don't like being constantly criticized for your work, then being a lawyer will probably not make you happy. Perhaps, another "bubble burster" is that most lawyers don't make six figures starting salaries as much as Hollywood would like to have us believe. While they do make more than the average college graduate, most lawyers only make about $10,000-$30,000 more on average. Oh, don't forget about the debt that I mentioned earlier. You may be paying about $1000 per month for several years until the principle and interest is paid off for your legal education.

Fourth, being a lawyer is NOT as marketable as is used to be. In fact, it is a fact that people with technical knowledge and skills have a much easier time finding jobs. The US, especially, is lacking in this area. It is no wonder why, we have to draw foreigners to the US with full tuitions to boost our technical know-how. I guarantee you that a chemical engineer is much more marketable today than your average lawyer. If you want job security, the key is to MAKE yourself MARKETABLE. You can do this by studying math, science, engineer, diplomacy, economics and, to a lesser extent, even business.

So, to conclude, consider your options before even thinking of applying to law school. It is a decision not to be taken lightly. While it makes some people successful in the end, it makes most misersable. And if you are still in high school, then you'll find your interests might change several times over and you may entirely forget about law school (for whatever reason you wanted it in the first place). For those thinking of a career change in this aweful economy, you should also seriously rethink your options. While prospects may be poor now, recessions ALWAYS turn around eventually. It is normal to be unhappy in such a difficult time, but you should feel GOOD knowing that you don't have it all that bad (this is truly nothing compared to the Great Depression Era). You have food on your plate and you are still able to enjoy life, even if you do have to be more thrifty. But trying to throw money at your problems to put yourself in more debt (like the US government is now doing) will NOT solve your problem. Repeat after me: this will NOT solve my problems!

soundsgood

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Re: Why law school? (especially now)
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2009, 01:40:05 AM »
"the overwhelming majority of lawyers are litigators"

where in god's name did you get this statistic? 

LawDog3

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Re: Why law school? (especially now)
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2009, 02:04:01 AM »
"the overwhelming majority of lawyers are litigators"

where in god's name did you get this statistic? 


I second that...WHO or WHAT says this? B/C those in the know, KNOW that most lawyers never see courtrooms, except to defend themselves for traffic tickets. Most lawyers are paper-pushers; they do transactional work. This is supported by the fact that most aspects of the law deal with administrative issues, contracts or preventative measures.

IMHO, moreover, lawyers do not typically seek "job security", except for in the first years out of law school. Lawyers are, by nature, aggressive (or assertive, if you like euphemisms) individuals who want to run the show. Some of us will compromise this impulse over time because we are also pragmatists, but it never really dies.

sheltron5000

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Re: Why law school? (especially now)
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2009, 02:20:22 AM »
120

This is about the dumbest "why NOT to go to law school" post ever. "most lawyers are litigators" WTF?! And the debt you take on for law school does not represent "opportunity cost;" it's just plain old cost.

Not to mention the atrocious punctuation.

FAIL
LSN

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LULAW1982

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Re: Why law school? (especially now)
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2009, 02:28:03 AM »
I agree to a point with the OP's conclusion.  If you do not get into a T or TT school, don't go.  There are too many lawyers. 

IDK where the OP got the "fact" that most attorney's are litigators.  I don't think his statement is accurate. 

LawDog3

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Re: Why law school? (especially now)
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2009, 12:52:52 AM »
I agree to a point with the OP's conclusion.  If you do not get into a T or TT school, don't go.  There are too many lawyers. 

IDK where the OP got the "fact" that most attorney's are litigators.  I don't think his statement is accurate. 

Well, be careful with rankings, b/c there are some "TTT" that (by all accounts, excluding USNWR) really are better than their rankings, specifically, Albany, U-San Francisco, Wayne St., Vermont, Howard, Suffolk, Chapman, NYLS, Akron,St. Thomas. If you get into one of those, Go!