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Author Topic: Anyone else who just might not go?  (Read 3031 times)

AH

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Re: Anyone else who just might not go?
« Reply #40 on: March 28, 2006, 10:54:03 PM »
Me too...
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divotjr

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Re: Anyone else who just might not go?
« Reply #41 on: March 28, 2006, 10:55:19 PM »
im about 75% to wait till next cycle. Have an opportunity to get published in a couple academic journals, so i think im going to do that.
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JamesD

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Re: Anyone else who just might not go?
« Reply #42 on: March 28, 2006, 10:55:50 PM »
Yeah, but I've been out for two years....  if I could just freeze time... I'd go wander around the world for 5 years... then I'd be ready.

Angelina1

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Re: Anyone else who just might not go?
« Reply #43 on: March 30, 2006, 12:39:43 PM »
So far my strategy has been to talk about it to death with my family, husband, friends.They have all convinced me to at least wait a year since the doubts are not going away. I have and started applying for a new job because I am a legal researcher and love it, but hate the travel. However, I am realizing that the job that sounds the most interesting is being a lawyer! I can't let it go and I can't embrace it. It's so stupid. ugh. I just feel...frustrated. I have never had such a hard time deciding something and I don't know why all of this had to start. I was so happy about law school before. I want that feeling back because back then the sacrifices seemed worth it, so that it made the idea of late nights and stressful exams seem worth it, now I just see the bad and feel that law school seems crazy.

I totally emptathize--you hear so much from so many people; everyone is an expert and wants to give advice, and most of the time it is just anecdotal, but there are all these scary stories about people who went to law school and hated it and dropped out and now they have so much debt for nothing, people who couldn't get a good job, people who actually hate being a lawyer. I have a cousin who is a lawyer and he's always telling me I'm crazy to go. But you have to consider the source--he's doing a kind of law I find incredibly boring, and so does he, but he was never willing to take a pay cut (from obscene to merely large amounts of money) to do something more interesting.
Again, this is just an anecdote, but I will tell you what my brother, who is a 2L at Harvard right now, told me when I was freaking out about whether or not I should really do it, and all the debt, etc. (long after I'd made the decision), because I found this really helpful:
1) You realize that there are some areas of law that are kind of boring, and you have to spend some time in law school learning them, right?
2) You realize that most cases in real life are not the sexy, con-law cases you read about, right?
3) Do you enjoy the intellectual exercise of using your brain in a logical, analytical way, and can you deal with the idea of spending 2-3 years applying those skills to doing discovery and writing briefs about things that you don't necessarily find fascinating, in and of themselves--though you do NOT have to work for a firm whose corporate culture and focus you find morally repugnant; anyone who tells you that is just misinformed--but can you get a certain amount of satisfaction out of the intellectual exercise itself?

If so, that's the worst it will ever probably get.
And, from what you say above--that you are currently a legal researcher, and that you love it--you'll be fine.
Don't feel like you have to be 100% certain of things to go for it, because, depending on your personality (mine, for instance), I will almost always have worries and doubts about anything I do. And when I think I know exactly what I'm doing, it always turns out differently anyway!
So, listen to people whose opinions you respect, but don't let them decide for you.
Good luck!
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ibroadrunr

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Re: Anyone else who just might not go?
« Reply #44 on: March 30, 2006, 01:00:55 PM »
It'd be a lot easier to decide whether I'm going at all if I knew what (ls) options I had.....
Work, and a PT online MLIS.  Reapply down the line.

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Angelina1

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Re: Anyone else who just might not go?
« Reply #45 on: March 30, 2006, 03:07:17 PM »
I've been anticipating this decision for (literally) years, despite the fact that I'm only 22 years old.  Having involuntarily opted out of academia last year (courtesy of rejections to the programs I was most interested in), I returned to my interest in law.  I had a very successful undergraduate career academically, but it was often an emotional nightmare because of the standards I imposed upon myself.  I said f-it this year and chose to do full-time community service work, and the result has been a very rewarding and fulfilling year that has made me rethink my priorities in life.  In the past, law was appealing because it seemed like it would make excellent use of my talents and offer a very high income.  Now it's appealing because I realize that I can use it as an instrument of social justice and means to help people.  However, I can probably do just as much good (and work far less hours) by entering the world of education administration or electing to do TFA and then continue teaching.  Time is a far more important commodity to me than money, and I know that I can live very comfortably on a salary below 100K.  I actually can't imagine a worse scenario than working regular 70 hour weeks to make money that I don't need for a cause that I wouldn't find meaningful (private firm work).  It would seem like the obvious choice for me right now would be to choose not to go to law school.  However, there are other factors highly influencing my decision.  For one, I want to be able to think like a lawyer--I badly want a legal education and to learn the legal thinking process.  Furthermore, I miss school, classes, and the kind of camaraderie that comes from tight-knit academic communities.  Also, I've now been accepted to my top choice law school, a T14, one that'll allow me to do anything within the realm of law that I desire as long as I don't screw up.  I KNOW that there are a lot of career paths out there that I would love that would be attainable with a JD.   

Argh, I'm so frustrated and confused right now.  I want to go to my top choice so badly, but I wonder what it will cost me in the future.  I don't know if I can afford to regret not going.  I mean, with a Bachelor's degree in History, I'm about as employable as a can of paint, especially considering I lack the initiative to research relatively high-paying jobs that I would actually like.  Law strikes me as a fairly easy way to a lucrative career and an intellectually challenging job, two of my prerequisites (by lucrative I mean 75K+).

YOU SHOULD GO!

Sorry to e-yell, but here's the thing: all of the T14's have some sort of loan repayment help for people in public service jobs. And if you are one of the rare lawyers who doesn't care about making less than 100k--and you're coming from a T14--then there are about a zillion government agencies and NGO's who would drool over you--some of them would even help you out with your LS loans. Not to mention that, from a T14 (especially if its HYS, CCN, or Michigan), assuming you get really good grades, you could get a clerkship (not that it's ever guaranteed, but it's something to shoot for); and that virtually guarantees a job of 75k+ afterward, not to mention it sounds from your description of yourself as though you would love it.
Perhaps most importantly, you want to learn to think like a lawyer? You miss the student life?? Do you realize how rare those qualities are? Those are some of the best reasons to go to law school I've heard. It's the people who really relish the actual law school experience, not the people whose main goal is making alot of money, who don't regret going. I know both types. The fact that your priorities have shifted is a really, really good thing, not a problem, and it means you will have a great and fulfilling life.

I know it seems like, taking my two posts on this thread together, that I am an idealist about law school who thinks everyone should go. I don't think this is the case, in fact I have my own doubts given the fact that I haven't heard from most of my top choices yet, and the prospects don't look good for them. But I know the kind of people I've seen who are happy as lawyers, and the kind who are not. And it sounds like you are the kind who would love it, provided you don't let fear get the better of you and let others talk you into getting jobs you hate after so you can pay off your loans quicker.

Also, sorry if this sounds too cheesy, but I think law schools and the field of law need, and want, people like you. You should consider applying for scholarships on the basis of your year of public service and your interest in continuing that with a law degree.
Good luck!
Michigan Law Class of 2009

Barney

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Re: Anyone else who just might not go?
« Reply #46 on: March 30, 2006, 05:36:58 PM »
With the first real decision deadlines looming in the very near future, I guess it's natural to start to feel a bit frightened of this whole thing.  For the first time the process is going to amount to more than toying with an idea--it's about to be real. All of it, the good parts and the bad. Talking the talk was so easy, walking the walk never will be.

I'm set to walk away from a home I've known for 10 years, a decent and very-secure career. At the same time I'm uprooting the girlfriend and most likely putting an extra thousand miles between my family and me. Also, I haven't got a dime to my name to spend on this, and if I fail--bankruptcy is inevitable. I think about not-bothering once a day.

I wrote a friend, a semi-recent LS graduate, asking her to talk me out of the panic mode, and she gave what I think is really good advice. Hopefully it's helpful to everyone else in this boat:

   "Spazzing is totally understandable at this point - LS is a huge commitment, both in time and money!  I'd be surprised if you weren't having so many thoughts running through your head, especially since you have so many options ahead of you.

I don't know if I can be sage-like...but here are my thoughts... Law school can only help you, regardless of what your career ends up being like in the long run.  If you decide to go back into government, you'll not only have a higher pay scale, but more options for policy & implementation type work in practically any area.  If you decide to not go back to government, you'll come out of LS with skills you don't have now, a greater understanding of how the system works, and more options/directions to pursue.

The job-market for firm positions is good, and will definitely help your debt situation over the years.  I'm working in non-profit and still making ends meet - my firm counterparts easily make twice what I make... and it sounds like your financial aid situation is much better than mine was (6 figure debt is oh so fun!).Financially you'll do better than you think :) 

Is the job worth it?  I think so.  I honestly don't know what I'll be doing professionally in the future, but I know what I don't want to do and trust my instincts with where I should everntually end up.  Sage-advice here:  Don't lose sight of what makes you happy and miserable - if the warning bells go off for some reason when interviewing, there's probably a good reason.  Keeping basic preferences in mind will help you to find a job that's worth it for you. 

Will you regret leaving government work in 5 years?  Try to imagine where you would be in 5 years if you stay at your current position - is that where you want to be at age 30?  Now compare that to the potential places you could be after law school 5 years from now - 2 years out of law school, maybe working for a firm, working in government in a different capacity, clerking for a judge.  One way to think about, the US government won't be dissolved in the next 5 years - you can always go back :)

All honestly - I don't think going into law school would be a mistake for you.  I think you would kick yourself for not going later if you back out...



Was very nice to see a lawyer not entirely miserable about their choice. Hope that helped some.

Angelina1

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Re: Anyone else who just might not go?
« Reply #47 on: March 30, 2006, 05:40:12 PM »
[Was very nice to see a lawyer not entirely miserable about their choice. Hope that helped some.
[/quote]

Absolutely! Thanks for sharing.
Michigan Law Class of 2009

lightessenz

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Re: Anyone else who just might not go?
« Reply #48 on: March 30, 2006, 05:47:17 PM »
Quote
for me, 90% wants to go, but that other 10% is really loud (and getting louder by the day) and making me doubt my plans. there's still so much i want to do (unrelated to law) and i know that once i'm on that law train there's really no getting off.

but then the rest of me is excited about going to law school and looking forward to being back in an academic environment. bah! i'm torn. Undecided

hopefully once the admissions cycle is over and i finally know where i'm going that freaking 10% will go away.

These are literally the exact same things that I have been facing

JamesD

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Re: Anyone else who just might not go?
« Reply #49 on: March 30, 2006, 08:01:18 PM »
If we are picking teams, I call Angelina.  She's on my squad.