Law School Discussion

what was your reason for going to (or applying to) law school?

barprephero

what was your reason for going to (or applying to) law school?

Re: what was your reason for going to (or applying to) law school?
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2015, 07:11:59 PM »
Hi!
Many students have different reasons for going to law school depending on their influences and interests. For instance, my students choose to go to law school because they want to learn about the legal system, go to court, defend the less fortunate, or to protect our cities and states.

Others go to law school possibly to follow in their family’s footsteps or to help with a legal cause of action a family or friend was placed in.

In addition, some choose to go to law school to work with politicians, district attorneys, and other influential people. Some people watch televisions shows and movies concerning the legal system, and get inspired.

For those interested in law school, it can help to take a legal course (IE political science, constitutional law, or introduction to legal studies) at your community college or local university to get a better idea of what you could be in for before just jumping into law school.

I hope this helps!

Re: what was your reason for going to (or applying to) law school?
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2015, 07:58:09 PM »
For instance, my students choose to go to law school because they want to learn about the legal system, go to court, defend the less fortunate, or to protect our cities and states.

Others go to law school possibly to follow in their family’s footsteps or to help with a legal cause of action a family or friend was placed in.


Please. Let's be honest here.

Law students who want to defend the less fortunate, or help their friends, are actually quite rare. Most law students I've met were, frankly, jerks. If they had been interested in helping people, they would have gone into a helping profession like nursing, healthcare, counseling, teaching, social work, therapy, etc.

Most of the people I was in law school with had serious character flaws that attracted them to the legal field. Some went there from a place of low self esteem to try and prove something about themselves. Others were overly argumentative and would argue with a brick wall. Some only wanted the prestige and money that they believed they could achieve with a law degree (but few of them actually did). Or, they had an over-active fantasy life and believed that  law was an exciting career. Now some of these people are in therapy, some are trying desperately to get into another career field, and most of the rest are unemployed. The few who did achieve success had family members that were lawyers.

Do law professors seem like a caring, empathetic group of people to you? I remember confiding in one of my professors that due to financial struggles, I was having difficulty purchasing the book I needed for his course. He simply gave a snort of disgust, and walked away.

Let's stop pretending that lawyers truly just want to help people.

Re: what was your reason for going to (or applying to) law school?
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2015, 02:14:48 PM »
Law students who want to defend the less fortunate, or help their friends, are actually quite rare. Most law students I've met were, frankly, jerks. If they had been interested in helping people, they would have gone into a helping profession like nursing, healthcare, counseling, teaching, social work, therapy, etc.

Most of the people I was in law school with had serious character flaws that attracted them to the legal field. Some went there from a place of low self esteem to try and prove something about themselves. Others were overly argumentative and would argue with a brick wall. Some only wanted the prestige and money that they believed they could achieve with a law degree (but few of them actually did). Or, they had an over-active fantasy life and believed that  law was an exciting career. Now some of these people are in therapy, some are trying desperately to get into another career field, and most of the rest are unemployed. The few who did achieve success had family members that were lawyers.

Do law professors seem like a caring, empathetic group of people to you? I remember confiding in one of my professors that due to financial struggles, I was having difficulty purchasing the book I needed for his course. He simply gave a snort of disgust, and walked away.

Let's stop pretending that lawyers truly just want to help people.

Fair enough, Sean, if a bit cynical. I had a positive experience with law school, although there were, predictably, a small number of students who fit the negative profiles you paint. You're right to be suspicious of those who claim that their main purpose in going to law school is to help indigents. Very few people are that altruistic. You work to earn a living. At the same time, I think many law students do envision having a career helping people. Such a vision necessarily evolves after time in the real world, but helping people is what being a lawyer is all about. The naïveté of 0Ls-3Ls should be forgiven. They’re no different than the kids in construction who can’t see the day that they’ll ever grow tired of pounding nails.

On a personal level, I really liked the overwhelming majority of my classmates, regardless of their reasons for being there. They were not jerks. Most of my classmates were courteous, inspirational people who conducted themselves professionally in a professional environment. I should mention, however, that I went to night school, which may attract a different student personality type. But I enjoyed being around my classmates immensely. Some have become my best friends. Moreover, my profs were all very cool. That said, I never tested how a prof might respond if I had mentioned my personal financial obstacles and his or her casebook in the same breath. Mercy? Empathy? Not likely. Being a lawyer means figuring it out.

Re: what was your reason for going to (or applying to) law school?
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2015, 06:07:16 PM »
That said, I never tested how a prof might respond if I had mentioned my personal financial obstacles and his or her casebook in the same breath. Mercy? Empathy? Not likely. Being a lawyer means figuring it out.

If being a lawyer means being able to make responsible financial decisions, we have thousands of people entering and exiting law schools over the past few years, who did not research with "due diligence" just how difficult it would be to repay their student loans, or what the legal job market was like (terrible) before applying to these law schools. In fact, many of them did no research at all, even though that information was easily accessible on the internet.  So, if being a lawyer means "figuring it out", well......most of these lawyers have not.

I would never describe any of my profs as "very cool" but perhaps it was just a different environment, I did not attend a night law school. I watched one professor verbally berate an elderly law student for no reason in class one day. It was mean, unwarranted, and a waste of everyone else's class time.  This was years ago, however, and I understand many law schools have seen a drop in their applications, so its possible that law professors have to play nicer these days.

Re: what was your reason for going to (or applying to) law school?
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2015, 11:07:46 AM »
I think each law school has it's own culture and personality.

My own experience was closer to Duncan's (I was in a part time night program, too). Most of classmates were cool and more than willing to help out others. Sure, there were a few jerks but that's life in general. The professors were a mixed bag. Some were great and balanced being very demanding with a genuine desire to see their students succeed, others had inflated egos and got off by trying to make you feel stupid. 


Re: what was your reason for going to (or applying to) law school?
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2015, 10:33:08 AM »
The true, underlying reason for going to law school isn't that important in the greater scheme of things, so long as the prospective student can articulate a reason that means something to him or her. But going to law school with no vision or fundamental purpose for doing so — that's a huge mistake. Law school isn't junior college, where students, especially those right out of high school, often flop from semester to semester with no idea why they're even there.  Law school demands focus and commitment. This requires having a goal in mind. Your goal doesn't have to be immutable, but it should be clear in your mind before you take the leap. Otherwise, you're wasting your time and money.

Re: what was your reason for going to (or applying to) law school?
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2015, 10:49:26 AM »
But going to law school with no vision or fundamental purpose for doing so — that's a huge mistake. Law school isn't junior college, where students, especially those right out of high school, often flop from semester to semester with no idea why they're even there.  Law school demands focus and commitment. This requires having a goal in mind. Your goal doesn't have to be immutable, but it should be clear in your mind before you take the leap. Otherwise, you're wasting your time and money.

I agree completely. I get prospective law students asking me whether or not they should go  to law school all the time, as I'm sure we all do. My first question is always "Why do you want to go to law school? What are your goals?". It amazes me how many of them really don't know. They think a law degree is sort of a "good idea", or the "next logical step". Others think the JD will make them more marketable in other fields. I'm always surprised by how many don't actually want to be lawyers, and really don't have a particular goal in mind.

Re: what was your reason for going to (or applying to) law school?
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2015, 06:44:13 PM »
Hi Maintain.

Would you say that, generally speaking, a statistically significant percentage of 0Ls matriculate admitting to an improper or unreasonable purpose in mind?

Trying to think of some examples.

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Re: what was your reason for going to (or applying to) law school?
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2015, 08:50:24 PM »
I think most have an unrealistic view of what lawyers can and can not legally do until they sit prof resp and sit the MPRE (even after 1L for many)