Law School Discussion

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 #10 on: September 13, 2015, 12:40:26 AM »
Yeah, that's probably true, π. I'm astonished at how many non-attorneys think that chasing ambulances is how attorneys actually make their living. (What comes of getting your information from television.) People who aren't lawyers don't know very much about being a real lawyer. When they go to law school, however, they learn the difference between fantasy and the real world. Exposure to reality doesn't have to be incompatible with the journey of discovery, though. Not if you start with a substantive goal in mind and a burning desire to achieve it.

Re: what was your reason for going to (or applying to) law school?
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2015, 11:17:16 AM »
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.

I'm not sure I totally understand the question, but I think a lot of 0Ls simply don't know (1) what lawyers actually do, (2) what law school is actually like, and (3) how to distinguish between realistic and unrealistic goals.

For example, I've met a lot of 0Ls who say "I think I'd be great in law school because I really enjoy arguing." They think it's going to be a three year long version of their high school debate team. They don't understand the academic nature of a JD program.

I've also met 0Ls who have said things like "I'm going to get a joint JD/MBA because I really like business, and that way I can work in business and practice law on the side." Again, they just have no clue that establishing a practice, obtaining clients, and practicing law is something you can't do in your spare time. Or, they say things like "I'd like to work in human rights law at the U.N. or something", not understanding that those jobs don't typically go to 25 year olds fresh out of law school.

So, what I'm getting at is that there are a lot of 0Ls who see a law degree as a vaguely useful stepping stone to some kind of career, but who have not spent any time researching whether or not their notions are correct. Conversely, I don't think I've ever met a 0L who said "I'd like to work at a small firm drafting wills, defending DUIs and arranging child custody modifications", which is where most of them will end up. 

Re: what was your reason for going to (or applying to) law school?
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2015, 12:18:18 PM »
My young relative is one example of someone with unrealistic goals regarding law school. He says he will be rich and never have to worry about money if he gets a law degree.

When I try to get him to focus on reality, he just keeps talking about stuff he's read in novels about lawyers. And keeps talking about how lawyers are "rich". Of course, it doesn't help that he actually does know an attorney who is quite well off. But I've tried to explain to him that rich attorneys are not the norm, and he doesn't believe it.  Also, he isn't Ivy League material and won't be going to a top law school, so once he graduates from law school, he will be just another mediocre attorney, from a mediocre school, pounding the pavement desperately searching for work.

Re: what was your reason for going to (or applying to) law school?
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2015, 09:26:12 AM »
I think there are solid posts above and there is no real reason to go, but as a few posters said if you think you want a J.D. to practice law on the side it usually doesn't work out well. It is not really a part-time profession.

I think most potential 0L's are best suited to work in a law office for a year or so prior to applying to law school. There are parts of the legal profession that are awesome and others that suck. On Friday I was arguing a big hearing, which was fun to watch today and tomorrow I am going to be looking through boxes of documents to draft discovery responses, which is miserable.

So like every other job out there it is not constantly awesome, but if someone knows of a job that is 100% amazing all the time please let me know.

I think one of the best reasons to apply to law school is that as a lawyer you do have the power to change things and you are either licensed to practice law or your not. If you have a license to practice law you can represent a client and make a difference in someones life.  No other profession allows you to fight for or against the right to gay marriage in court, or sue the police for brutality, or defend police officers from frivolous lawsuits on and on. I think the judicial branch is the part of the political system that really matters and you can only be a part of it with a license to practice law.

As to the "rich" part plenty of lawyers do well, but it is rarely monetary success out of the gate. Furthermore, many of the lucrative positions require you to do some unpleasant things. I.E. if your bank attorney you have to force someone of their home, or if a corporation spills oil and kills some people you don't need to minimize the value of the deceased lives, etc everybody deserves a defense and there is nothing wrong with that, but there are real people involved in litigation and what the lawyers do or don't do makes a huge impact on people's lives.

Re: what was your reason for going to (or applying to) law school?
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2015, 05:48:50 PM »
I'd say it depends on how flexible you are. I believe that SD is still paying off a years worth of student loans if you practice for 5 years there (even if out of state grads) and some states let even bottom ranked law schools have good pass rates. The actual job of being a lawyer requires less intelligence than most associate degree professions. (post graduation and license of course, and heck even arguably before that if you don't count the bar exam and 1L)

I guess my point, is bring one bring all. Just only if you are willing to work lower wage jobs in areas no one else wants to go, and be flexible on what type of law you are willing to take as well.