JazzOne, given your experiences and the current hiring environment, would you do it all over again?
That is so difficult to answer. I have learned so much in law school, and I am surrounded by smart people with an incredible work ethic. I love my classes and my classmates (for the most part). However, the hiring market is so horrible, that I don't think law school is worth the gamble. Even with a full scholarship, I still felt like I had taken on too much debt and put my family through too much for a slim shot at biglaw.
Prior to law school, I had no appreciation for my teaching job. I hated it every day. Now that I have some experience in another field, I realize how secure my old job was. I realize how easy it was and how reasonable the hours were. There are a lot of times I wish I could go back to the stress-free world of teaching. Two weeks off for Christmas and 3 months off for the summer: I'll never see that kind of vacation again as long as I'm a lawyer. There is no way I could have realized how good my job was without leaving it to experience something else.
So, from this side of the equation, law school seems like a poor investment. But there is no way you could have convinced me of that while I was teaching. Anything seemed better than teaching. Unfortunately, there are a lot of law grads (even from the T14) without any job at all. It never even occurred to me that such an outcome was possible. The legal market is a wreck. This is the worst time, possibly in the entire history of our nation, to go into law. I'm sorry that answer is so equivocal, but it's so hard to answer because I know the outcome of my story. I won the law school lottery. But LS grading is quite arbitrary, as is legal hiring, so things could have easily turned out differently for me. If I didn't have a biglaw job lined up for this summer, I would definitely regret coming to law school.
It's tough to leave a steady-enough job, long holidays, with the possibility of tenure, take a slash in income, a wad of debt and then find that getting that dream-job is that much harder.
Problem is, as we are in the over 30's thread, how much later can we wait to make the career change? Finishing law school at 37 is undesirable, I can't see me delaying any longer - I set this plan in motion a while ago.
From previous postgrad studies and jobs, I'm used to long days, long weeks and working hard, mentally and physically. I hope that my efforts and aptitude (
but how could I know?) will put me near the top of the pile in my yeargroup. I can only hope that job market doesn't get any worse over the next three years.