Deciding what type of law to practice...

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gon09009
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Deciding what type of law to practice...

Postby gon09009 » Thu May 26, 2011 11:45 pm

I'm about to enter my senior year and I know I want to go to law school, but I don't have a clue as to what type of law would interest me. If heard many things, such as don't worry about it til your in law school and others say chose now in order to specialize in that and to chose a law school that has a good program in that. This question is more geared to current law students, J.D. graduates, or attorneys: what has been your experience? When did you decide what you like? Have you changed your mind? What can someone do to get a feel for what would best fit him?...Thanks for for taking the time to read this

blsingindisguise
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Re: Deciding what type of law to practice...

Postby blsingindisguise » Thu May 26, 2011 11:52 pm

How/why do you know you want to go to law school if you don't have any idea about a particular area of law that might interest you?

I'm not being rhetorical, but I am wondering -- do you have courtroom fantasies? Do you just want to make money? Does it just seem like the thing to do?

Plenty of people come to law school with no idea what area to practice in. Some find an area they like in school or through internships. Some go to big firms and just get assigned to whatever group needs people. Some work in whatever they can get a job in. All of these things can also happen to a person who DOES think he knows what he wants to practice, only to find out (A) it's not what it's cracked up to be (B) something else is more interesting (C) no jobs in that area (D) gets a job in another area by coincidence

gon09009
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Re: Deciding what type of law to practice...

Postby gon09009 » Fri May 27, 2011 12:05 am

blsingindisguise wrote:How/why do you know you want to go to law school if you don't have any idea about a particular area of law that might interest you?

I'm not being rhetorical, but I am wondering -- do you have courtroom fantasies? Do you just want to make money? Does it just seem like the thing to do?

Plenty of people come to law school with no idea what area to practice in. Some find an area they like in school or through internships. Some go to big firms and just get assigned to whatever group needs people. Some work in whatever they can get a job in. All of these things can also happen to a person who DOES think he knows what he wants to practice, only to find out (A) it's not what it's cracked up to be (B) something else is more interesting (C) no jobs in that area (D) gets a job in another area by coincidence



There's a combination of reasons why I want to go to law school: the intellectual challenge & growth, i really like law(as weird as that sounds), i'm not in it for the money(though if that is a motivator since LS is no joke debt wise), I have interacted with many successful lawyers and I like the kind of people they are and lives they live, I really enjoy helping others and feel much content in that, and though this might sound crazy to some I feel that that is the path God wants me to take. Not sure if these are sufficiently good reasons to justify me wanting to go to LS, but as of now, that's what I have. What are good reasons to go justify going through the risky and challenging path to a J.D. career?

blsingindisguise
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Re: Deciding what type of law to practice...

Postby blsingindisguise » Fri May 27, 2011 12:22 am

gon09009 wrote:
blsingindisguise wrote:How/why do you know you want to go to law school if you don't have any idea about a particular area of law that might interest you?

I'm not being rhetorical, but I am wondering -- do you have courtroom fantasies? Do you just want to make money? Does it just seem like the thing to do?

Plenty of people come to law school with no idea what area to practice in. Some find an area they like in school or through internships. Some go to big firms and just get assigned to whatever group needs people. Some work in whatever they can get a job in. All of these things can also happen to a person who DOES think he knows what he wants to practice, only to find out (A) it's not what it's cracked up to be (B) something else is more interesting (C) no jobs in that area (D) gets a job in another area by coincidence



There's a combination of reasons why I want to go to law school: the intellectual challenge & growth, i really like law(as weird as that sounds), i'm not in it for the money(though if that is a motivator since LS is no joke debt wise), I have interacted with many successful lawyers and I like the kind of people they are and lives they live, I really enjoy helping others and feel much content in that, and though this might sound crazy to some I feel that that is the path God wants me to take. Not sure if these are sufficiently good reasons to justify me wanting to go to LS, but as of now, that's what I have. What are good reasons to go justify going through the risky and challenging path to a J.D. career?


I wasn't necessarily trying to suggest you don't have good reasons. Your reasons sound about like the reasons that I would guess something like 60-70% of incoming law students have some variations on. Some of those people wind up reasonably happy, and some wind up gravely disappointed. I'm not one of those people who will tell you "you have to know exactly why you want to be a lawyer to go to law school" because it's usually impossible to know that before you actually understand what it's like to be a lawyer.

All that said, I see a few potential pitfalls in your future. You're "not in it for the money" and you "enjoy helping others," yet you didn't specify that you have an interest in doing some kind of (generally very low-paid) public interest law. If you do, in fact, want to do public interest law you need to go in with some determination to pursue this, or at least start determinedly pursuing it by the end of 1L. Such jobs are actually quite competitive and demonstrated interest/commitment is extremely important.

If you're not sure you want to do some kind of public interest law, there's a good chance you're not going to wind up in a job where you feel like you "help people." The bulk of high-end legal work is impersonal -- it's for financial companies, insurance companies, manufacturers, retailers, etc., and a lot of the low end stuff is not going to give you a warm fuzzy feeling in your belly either (divorces, personal bankruptcies, DUIs, etc) . I'd say the "helping people" quotient compared to being a doctor, social worker, teacher, therapist, etc. is pretty low.

Unless you're extraordinarily determined to do some kind of "helping" law, you're going to wind up feeling very burdened by your debt and pressured to take the most money you can get. Given the job market, you may not be able to make enough to live comfortably and service your debt even if you simply do try to go for the money.

Anyway, I'm still not telling you not to go. And all of this also depends on how good a school you can get into.

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TheFutureLawyer
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Re: Deciding what type of law to practice...

Postby TheFutureLawyer » Fri May 27, 2011 12:24 am

gon09009 wrote:
blsingindisguise wrote:How/why do you know you want to go to law school if you don't have any idea about a particular area of law that might interest you?

I'm not being rhetorical, but I am wondering -- do you have courtroom fantasies? Do you just want to make money? Does it just seem like the thing to do?

Plenty of people come to law school with no idea what area to practice in. Some find an area they like in school or through internships. Some go to big firms and just get assigned to whatever group needs people. Some work in whatever they can get a job in. All of these things can also happen to a person who DOES think he knows what he wants to practice, only to find out (A) it's not what it's cracked up to be (B) something else is more interesting (C) no jobs in that area (D) gets a job in another area by coincidence



There's a combination of reasons why I want to go to law school: the intellectual challenge & growth, i really like law(as weird as that sounds), i'm not in it for the money(though if that is a motivator since LS is no joke debt wise), I have interacted with many successful lawyers and I like the kind of people they are and lives they live, I really enjoy helping others and feel much content in that, and though this might sound crazy to some I feel that that is the path God wants me to take. Not sure if these are sufficiently good reasons to justify me wanting to go to LS, but as of now, that's what I have. What are good reasons to go justify going through the risky and challenging path to a J.D. career?


Those reasons sound decent enough (aside from the God stuff, and I'd probably not mention that in the PS). Obviously hard to be sure if one will like studying and then working with the law, but if you do enough research you can make a well informed decision (thoughts of a 0L btw).

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TheFutureLawyer
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Re: Deciding what type of law to practice...

Postby TheFutureLawyer » Fri May 27, 2011 12:25 am

blsingindisguise wrote:
gon09009 wrote:
blsingindisguise wrote:How/why do you know you want to go to law school if you don't have any idea about a particular area of law that might interest you?

I'm not being rhetorical, but I am wondering -- do you have courtroom fantasies? Do you just want to make money? Does it just seem like the thing to do?

Plenty of people come to law school with no idea what area to practice in. Some find an area they like in school or through internships. Some go to big firms and just get assigned to whatever group needs people. Some work in whatever they can get a job in. All of these things can also happen to a person who DOES think he knows what he wants to practice, only to find out (A) it's not what it's cracked up to be (B) something else is more interesting (C) no jobs in that area (D) gets a job in another area by coincidence



There's a combination of reasons why I want to go to law school: the intellectual challenge & growth, i really like law(as weird as that sounds), i'm not in it for the money(though if that is a motivator since LS is no joke debt wise), I have interacted with many successful lawyers and I like the kind of people they are and lives they live, I really enjoy helping others and feel much content in that, and though this might sound crazy to some I feel that that is the path God wants me to take. Not sure if these are sufficiently good reasons to justify me wanting to go to LS, but as of now, that's what I have. What are good reasons to go justify going through the risky and challenging path to a J.D. career?


I wasn't necessarily trying to suggest you don't have good reasons. Your reasons sound about like the reasons that I would guess something like 60-70% of incoming law students have some variations on. Some of those people wind up reasonably happy, and some wind up gravely disappointed. I'm not one of those people who will tell you "you have to know exactly why you want to be a lawyer to go to law school" because it's usually impossible to know that before you actually understand what it's like to be a lawyer.

All that said, I see a few potential pitfalls in your future. You're "not in it for the money" and you "enjoy helping others," yet you didn't specify that you have an interest in doing some kind of (generally very low-paid) public interest law. If you do, in fact, want to do public interest law you need to go in with some determination to pursue this, or at least start determinedly pursuing it by the end of 1L. Such jobs are actually quite competitive and demonstrated interest/commitment is extremely important.

If you're not sure you want to do some kind of public interest law, there's a good chance you're not going to wind up in a job where you feel like you "help people." The bulk of high-end legal work is impersonal -- it's for financial companies, insurance companies, manufacturers, retailers, etc., and a lot of the low end stuff is not going to give you a warm fuzzy feeling in your belly either (divorces, personal bankruptcies, DUIs, etc) . I'd say the "helping people" quotient compared to being a doctor, social worker, teacher, therapist, etc. is pretty low.

Unless you're extraordinarily determined to do some kind of "helping" law, you're going to wind up feeling very burdened by your debt and pressured to take the most money you can get. Given the job market, you may not be able to make enough to live comfortably and service your debt even if you simply do try to go for the money.

Anyway, I'm still not telling you not to go. And all of this also depends on how good a school you can get into.


jesus dude, try to be more of a debbie downer why don't you?

blsingindisguise
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Re: Deciding what type of law to practice...

Postby blsingindisguise » Fri May 27, 2011 12:31 am

TheFutureLawyer wrote:
jesus dude, try to be more of a debbie downer why don't you?


You too will face real life one day, Mr. Scales of Justice. Good luck.

gon09009
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Re: Deciding what type of law to practice...

Postby gon09009 » Fri May 27, 2011 9:06 am

blsingindisguise wrote:
gon09009 wrote:
blsingindisguise wrote:How/why do you know you want to go to law school if you don't have any idea about a particular area of law that might interest you?

I'm not being rhetorical, but I am wondering -- do you have courtroom fantasies? Do you just want to make money? Does it just seem like the thing to do?

Plenty of people come to law school with no idea what area to practice in. Some find an area they like in school or through internships. Some go to big firms and just get assigned to whatever group needs people. Some work in whatever they can get a job in. All of these things can also happen to a person who DOES think he knows what he wants to practice, only to find out (A) it's not what it's cracked up to be (B) something else is more interesting (C) no jobs in that area (D) gets a job in another area by coincidence



There's a combination of reasons why I want to go to law school: the intellectual challenge & growth, i really like law(as weird as that sounds), i'm not in it for the money(though if that is a motivator since LS is no joke debt wise), I have interacted with many successful lawyers and I like the kind of people they are and lives they live, I really enjoy helping others and feel much content in that, and though this might sound crazy to some I feel that that is the path God wants me to take. Not sure if these are sufficiently good reasons to justify me wanting to go to LS, but as of now, that's what I have. What are good reasons to go justify going through the risky and challenging path to a J.D. career?


I wasn't necessarily trying to suggest you don't have good reasons. Your reasons sound about like the reasons that I would guess something like 60-70% of incoming law students have some variations on. Some of those people wind up reasonably happy, and some wind up gravely disappointed. I'm not one of those people who will tell you "you have to know exactly why you want to be a lawyer to go to law school" because it's usually impossible to know that before you actually understand what it's like to be a lawyer.

All that said, I see a few potential pitfalls in your future. You're "not in it for the money" and you "enjoy helping others," yet you didn't specify that you have an interest in doing some kind of (generally very low-paid) public interest law. If you do, in fact, want to do public interest law you need to go in with some determination to pursue this, or at least start determinedly pursuing it by the end of 1L. Such jobs are actually quite competitive and demonstrated interest/commitment is extremely important.

If you're not sure you want to do some kind of public interest law, there's a good chance you're not going to wind up in a job where you feel like you "help people." The bulk of high-end legal work is impersonal -- it's for financial companies, insurance companies, manufacturers, retailers, etc., and a lot of the low end stuff is not going to give you a warm fuzzy feeling in your belly either (divorces, personal bankruptcies, DUIs, etc) . I'd say the "helping people" quotient compared to being a doctor, social worker, teacher, therapist, etc. is pretty low.

Unless you're extraordinarily determined to do some kind of "helping" law, you're going to wind up feeling very burdened by your debt and pressured to take the most money you can get. Given the job market, you may not be able to make enough to live comfortably and service your debt even if you simply do try to go for the money.

Anyway, I'm still not telling you not to go. And all of this also depends on how good a school you can get into.



I appreciate the words of advice, you speak the truth. In order to get more familiar with law, I'm planning in the coming weeks to interview and volunteer at some local law firms and try and get a feel for what they do; I think this might help.

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crossarmant
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Re: Deciding what type of law to practice...

Postby crossarmant » Fri May 27, 2011 10:21 am

gon09009 wrote:I appreciate the words of advice, you speak the truth. In order to get more familiar with law, I'm planning in the coming weeks to interview and volunteer at some local law firms and try and get a feel for what they do; I think this might help.


+1

This is the route to go. I feel that so many lawyers hate their job because they have no idea what they're getting themselves into when they enroll in law school. People's minds get so filled with this court room drama nonsense when most of the work is paperwork, negotiating, and then more paperwork. I can see how some folks would despise it and feel cheated, but if you don't try it out you will never know.

A year's work experience in the field will not hurt. Worst case scenario, you hate it. At least that way you have saved yourself from law school debt and being stuck in a job you don't like. Otherwise, you may really enjoy it and realize that this is the field for you, fresh with some work experience as an application and resume boost.

danielagruesa
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Re: Deciding what type of law to practice...

Postby danielagruesa » Fri May 27, 2011 1:39 pm

You should practice "student loans debt" law. It seems to be a growing field:

--LinkRemoved--

blsingindisguise
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Re: Deciding what type of law to practice...

Postby blsingindisguise » Fri May 27, 2011 2:09 pm

crossarmant wrote:
gon09009 wrote:I appreciate the words of advice, you speak the truth. In order to get more familiar with law, I'm planning in the coming weeks to interview and volunteer at some local law firms and try and get a feel for what they do; I think this might help.


+1

This is the route to go. I feel that so many lawyers hate their job because they have no idea what they're getting themselves into when they enroll in law school. People's minds get so filled with this court room drama nonsense when most of the work is paperwork, negotiating, and then more paperwork. I can see how some folks would despise it and feel cheated, but if you don't try it out you will never know.

A year's work experience in the field will not hurt. Worst case scenario, you hate it. At least that way you have saved yourself from law school debt and being stuck in a job you don't like. Otherwise, you may really enjoy it and realize that this is the field for you, fresh with some work experience as an application and resume boost.


Exactly. Again, I didn't mean to suggest that there's nothing potentially rewarding about being a lawyer, just that there are a lot of fantasies people come in with. The phrase "help people" is often used with an image in mind of protecting the noble but destitute single mother of five trying to put herself through night business school against the unscrupulous prosecutor or the government agency who wants to unreasonably deny her her rights. Real public service jobs are much more gray in most cases -- 1/100 at best might actually fit the noble single mother description. Similarly, some people have the entertainment lawyer fantasy (I will hang out with rock musicians), the "international law" fantasy (I will travel to exotic locales and converse in five languages with a cosmopolitan jetset), the general "bigshot lawyer" fantasy (I'll make tons of money and feel powerful), and the courtroom drama fantasy (no need for explanation really). There's also the "intellectual" fantasy (I'll spend my day developing new legal theories to deal with emerging legal issues) -- it's a little less removed from reality than the rest, except that while you do spend some of your day on "intellectual" work it's going to be a lot less dynamic than that 99.99% of the time.

It's hard not to come in with a little bit of fantasy, and maybe that's not all bad since the fantasy can be motivating. But it's also important to understand that a good amount of legal work is highly detail-oriented and often tedious -- more interesting, generally, than mere data entry but much less interesting than teaching a literature lesson to a high school class or covering a local election for a newspaper. And I think the really hard thing about it is that it's exacting even when it's tedious, i.e. you can't usually do even the dullest legal work on auto-pilot because mistakes can really cost you.

Again, none of this means you shouldn't be a lawyer. But you have to be detail-oriented, patient, willing to tolerate some boredom every day, and have a strong sense of responsibility (or be willing to develop whichever of these qualities you don't possess -- they're all possible to develop). If you can do all that, you will also find that there are more enjoyable, more creative and more satisfying elements of the work.

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tdicks
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Re: Deciding what type of law to practice...

Postby tdicks » Fri May 27, 2011 2:59 pm

danielagruesa wrote:You should practice "student loans debt" law. It seems to be a growing field:

--LinkRemoved--


1. that article had a ridiculous amount of typos.

2. this (from the comment on the article) is one of the most depressing things i've read in a really long time:

Our daughter borrowed money for undergraduate, law school and her LLM. I co-signed some of the "expenses" loans (Barbri; living expenses while studying for LLM and working as part of the experiential learning program). She died in 2005 and while the government forgave some of her loans, they did not forgive those I co-signed. I remember having insuance in the cost of the loans, but they say I didn't. I was paying over $300 per month. We renegotiated so I have been paying almost $200 a month for six years and each loan has gone down less than $1,500. I'll be paying into my 90's at this rate. They would not even talk about a lump sum, reduced amount back when I was working. Now I can't afford that (or the monthly payments). So, every month my payments to Sallie Mae and Access Group remind me of my daughter's death and I'll be paying for it until I die, too. Student loans don't die when the student does.




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