Is law school for me?

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kpuc
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Is law school for me?

Postby kpuc » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:36 pm

I'm a senior at Brown University who is majoring in International Relations (studying Russian as my foreign language). With graduation coming up soon, and having to deal with endless questions about what my post-college plans are, I usually tell people that I plan to go to law school in the near future. But I am ambivalent about the prospect.

Here's some background on my situation. I come from a middle class family, and I had no intention of going to an expensive Ivy League university until my wealthy grandfather offered to pay for it. But I ended up getting a big financial aid package from Brown so my family has managed to pay for college by ourselves. Therefore, my would-be college fund from my grandfather has now become my future law school fund. In short, I will have no debts from undergraduate college (my aid package was mostly a grant) and will have no debts coming out of law school should I choose to attend.

My parents mainly see law school as a safety net for me, because they're the kind of parents that can't imagine well-paying and respectable careers outside of medicine, business, or law. And since I am looking at the prospect of obtaining a JD degree without debt accumulation that could compromise my freedom for the future, I sometimes also figure that – in the absence of a clear life plan after college – law school isn't a bad way to spend the next few years of my life, especially if it's in an interesting place to live like New York.

The thing is that my true passion in life is writing, but it is not something out of which a reliable career can be made. I have reason to believe that I have some talent in this field (I've won a thousand dollar short fiction prize at my university, won a screenplay contest and wrote/directed a TV pilot episode for student TV, and had a short play chosen for festival and put on by student theare), but those are by no means any guarantee. Also, I don't really want to depend on my writing for my livelihood, in case I have to resort to hackery just to put food on the table. It is not a requirement nor expectation for me that my career also be my passion because I know there's no real job listing out there for “novelist” or “short story writer”. I just want to find a career to support my passion until one day, I will hopefully become good enough so that those two can finally converge. But I have no ambitions or delusions of coming out of college as a 22-year old and being able to live solely as a writer.

Truth be told, if money and parental expectations were no matter, I'd become a screenwriter or get involved with theatre somehow. I've entertained the idea of taking the LSATs during the summer after graduation, and since those scores are valid for 5 years, spend some time working in the theatre world. But my parents insist that I complete whatever schooling I need to do while I'm young, and explore my interests later. Sometimes, I feel like this is a way to funnel me and hope that my creative ambitions are snuffed out by the grind of law school.

But I am not completely indifferent to law. Politics and international law are of particular interest in me. I could see myself happy if I pursue a certain path in law school. And I have to admit that the security of a law degree and a steady respectable future are at least somewhat enticing; I'd hate to envision myself 10 years from now as some kind of Hollywood hack or pulp fiction manufacturer. Plus, there is a lot of family pressure on me as the eldest child to establish myself in society.

Some people have a single passion and a single gift, and unless they follow and utilize them, they are miserable. I'm not like that. There are futures in law where I could be happy. It wouldn't be my number one passion, but it doesn't have to be. Being a lawyer won't preclude me from trying to sell stories and getting published, though time management will be an issue. People like John Grisham and David E. Kelley have shown that it's possible to try to pursue your creative dreams while being in the law professions. They are exceptional cases certainly, but they do show that it's possible.
I'm just worried that I'm trying to have my cake and eat it too. I feel like if I am as interested in writing as I say I am, then I need to go all in and throw everything I've got at it. But I am also interesting in certain aspects of law as well. Security vs. passion. It it possible to fulfill both in life?

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Kiersten1985
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby Kiersten1985 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:36 pm

Way too long. Didn't read.

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Ragged
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby Ragged » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:40 pm

tl;dr but the answer is probably no.

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Cardboardbox
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby Cardboardbox » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:40 pm

Kiersten1985 wrote:Way too long. Didn't read.


+1

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GATORTIM
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby GATORTIM » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:42 pm

Cardboardbox wrote:
Kiersten1985 wrote:Way too long. Didn't read.


+1


+2

brevity is the soul of wit

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Rand M.
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby Rand M. » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:43 pm

GATORTIM wrote:
Cardboardbox wrote:
Kiersten1985 wrote:Way too long. Didn't read.


+1


+2

brevity is the soul of wit


+3

And I even tried to it a second look before posting this, but you have like 45 paragraphs and I don't know you.

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holydonkey
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby holydonkey » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:43 pm

go be a writer. see if it works. if it doesn't, go to law school. It's at least worth trying to do what you really want before you settle for something else.

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booboo
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby booboo » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:45 pm

Sure, why not?

Though, if you cannot get into a T14, a law degree may be a bit more of a burden than what you may wish to handle. Without a specific drive for law school, I would think your predilection to succeed will be substantially lower, hence hurting your grades.

Life is a journey, law school is an excellent opportunity to give oneself a fallback option, assuming you attend an institution and achieve the grades to actually have a desirable career.

dakatz
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby dakatz » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:47 pm

The advice I hear most often is "Don't go to law school unless you REALLY want to be there and REALLY want to be a lawyer". You don't sound like your heart would be in it fully. Also, you sound like its more of a safety net, as your parents say. I would really look into what other options are available before committing to it, regardless of whether or not mom and dad (or granddad) are covering for you.

itsfine
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby itsfine » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:50 pm

well it doesnt matter to answer tthis now bc theres no rush to decide....start studying for the june lsat...and just make sure u kno the answer to this question in 365 days

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Kiersten1985
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby Kiersten1985 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:51 pm

Yeah, even without reading your insanely long post - if you ask, the answer is no.

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nyyankees
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby nyyankees » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:52 pm

i would try to get into a part time program where you can do something in the writing vein by day and then law school by night. Obviously there is a large out of classroom component to law school, but I think if you have less time to write you will cherish that time more. I would look into programs in DC part time, maybe LA (not sure who has part time out in LA, but Georgetown and GW both have part time programs in DC)

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traehekat
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby traehekat » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:54 pm

If you have to ask, the answer is no.

latinolaw
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby latinolaw » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:54 pm

GATORTIM wrote:
Cardboardbox wrote:
Kiersten1985 wrote:Way too long. Didn't read.


+1


+2

brevity is the soul of wit


+1

More matter less art.

savesthedayajb
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby savesthedayajb » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:56 pm

JD/MFA, does this exist? lol

Why can't someone question their path to law and still go? Are you saying none of you questioned this choice? If you never questioned it, you shouldn't go!

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nyyankees
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby nyyankees » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:56 pm

itsfine wrote:well it doesnt matter to answer tthis now bc theres no rush to decide....start studying for the june lsat...and just make sure u kno the answer to this question in 365 days


disagree, i would feel terribly disheartened if i worked hard to get a good LSAT score then decided against law school. I think studying for the LSAT changes your investment in law school

also, dont worry about the people who say it was too long and they didnt read it, people are busy they expect things in shorter more concise bursts. You have a legit question you gave detail (arguably more than necessary) but they are just people on the internet, dont take it too seriously

xyzzzzzzzz
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby xyzzzzzzzz » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:59 pm

:P
Last edited by xyzzzzzzzz on Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Neil
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby Neil » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:59 pm

holydonkey wrote:go be a writer. see if it works. if it doesn't, go to law school. It's at least worth trying to do what you really want before you settle for something else.


+1. Once you go to law school, chances are you won't get back into a creative career while you're still young. Now is the time to give it a shot. And if you love it and/or have success, it will absolutely prove worth it. But if you try a creative career now, and struggle to stay afloat (as most people in creative careers do), a white collar career will still be an option in a couple years, and you'll be all the more appreciative to have it.

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BigFatPanda
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby BigFatPanda » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:07 pm

With all due respect, you sounded like a "trust fund baby" who could afford the luxuary of life and entertaining various options that are not available to mundane mortals like me. And this may be a fact for you sometime in the future.

First and foremost, law school is an enormous committment that takes a lot of determination and desire on your part: that is, in order to go to law school and get a worth return on your investment there, you must want to go. Else, its just a waste of your money and your time.

Second, parents can be very condescending sometimes, they think they have years of life experience and they know whats best for you, so i hear ya. But i think thats actually a terrible way of parenting because it unfairly deprieves you the opportunity to experience life in the manner you desire. That is, if you succeed in your field, your parents just deprieve you of a great life you are passionated about. Even if you make mistakes and fail, you will learn your lesson by actually experiencing it; and trust me when i say this, there is a huge difference of gaining life experience by making mistakes first hand versus gaining it by learning from words of mouth: you actually won't make the same mistake twice.

Nonetheless, in response to your inquiry: it appears that you're still soul searching and trying to find yourself. Thus, i don't think applying to law school right now is a good idea. Work or travel or volunteer for at least one year, gain some perspective in the real world, then come back to the topic of whether or not you want to go to law school. Because by having some experience of how brutal the reality is, you will have the tools necessary to make the right choice for youself.

PS, i have a friend who went to MIT and did a MBA with UPenn, graduated with highest honors, but he ended up as a Christian minister (His parents absolutely flipped out).

09042014
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby 09042014 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:09 pm

kpuc wrote:I'm a senior at Brown University who is majoring in International Relations (studying Russian as my foreign language). With graduation coming up soon, and having to deal with endless questions about what my post-college plans are, I usually tell people that I plan to go to law school in the near future. But I am ambivalent about the prospect.

Here's some background on my situation. I come from a middle class family, and I had no intention of going to an expensive Ivy League university until my wealthy grandfather offered to pay for it. But I ended up getting a big financial aid package from Brown so my family has managed to pay for college by ourselves. Therefore, my would-be college fund from my grandfather has now become my future law school fund. In short, I will have no debts from undergraduate college (my aid package was mostly a grant) and will have no debts coming out of law school should I choose to attend.

My parents mainly see law school as a safety net for me, because they're the kind of parents that can't imagine well-paying and respectable careers outside of medicine, business, or law. And since I am looking at the prospect of obtaining a JD degree without debt accumulation that could compromise my freedom for the future, I sometimes also figure that – in the absence of a clear life plan after college – law school isn't a bad way to spend the next few years of my life, especially if it's in an interesting place to live like New York.

The thing is that my true passion in life is writing, but it is not something out of which a reliable career can be made. I have reason to believe that I have some talent in this field (I've won a thousand dollar short fiction prize at my university, won a screenplay contest and wrote/directed a TV pilot episode for student TV, and had a short play chosen for festival and put on by student theare), but those are by no means any guarantee. Also, I don't really want to depend on my writing for my livelihood, in case I have to resort to hackery just to put food on the table. It is not a requirement nor expectation for me that my career also be my passion because I know there's no real job listing out there for “novelist” or “short story writer”. I just want to find a career to support my passion until one day, I will hopefully become good enough so that those two can finally converge. But I have no ambitions or delusions of coming out of college as a 22-year old and being able to live solely as a writer.

Truth be told, if money and parental expectations were no matter, I'd become a screenwriter or get involved with theatre somehow. I've entertained the idea of taking the LSATs during the summer after graduation, and since those scores are valid for 5 years, spend some time working in the theatre world. But my parents insist that I complete whatever schooling I need to do while I'm young, and explore my interests later. Sometimes, I feel like this is a way to funnel me and hope that my creative ambitions are snuffed out by the grind of law school.

But I am not completely indifferent to law. Politics and international law are of particular interest in me. I could see myself happy if I pursue a certain path in law school. And I have to admit that the security of a law degree and a steady respectable future are at least somewhat enticing; I'd hate to envision myself 10 years from now as some kind of Hollywood hack or pulp fiction manufacturer. Plus, there is a lot of family pressure on me as the eldest child to establish myself in society.

Some people have a single passion and a single gift, and unless they follow and utilize them, they are miserable. I'm not like that. There are futures in law where I could be happy. It wouldn't be my number one passion, but it doesn't have to be. Being a lawyer won't preclude me from trying to sell stories and getting published, though time management will be an issue. People like John Grisham and David E. Kelley have shown that it's possible to try to pursue your creative dreams while being in the law professions. They are exceptional cases certainly, but they do show that it's possible.
I'm just worried that I'm trying to have my cake and eat it too. I feel like if I am as interested in writing as I say I am, then I need to go all in and throw everything I've got at it. But I am also interesting in certain aspects of law as well. Security vs. passion. It it possible to fulfill both in life?


Law school doesn't go anywhere. And you will not be able to explore interests after law school. Taking time off might even help your application.

mattymatt
Posts: 55
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby mattymatt » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:12 pm

I don't think law school is a good idea for you. If you are really interested in international relations and international law, go to grad school for that. There are plenty of great MA and Ph.D programs for that out there that are cheaper which you would probably enjoy a lot more.

My main question is: What do your parents have to do with anything? I get the fact that since they paid for your education thus far, they have some say. But at a certain point your life is your life, it's ridiculous for them to expect to be able to make decisions for you and it's even more ridiculous for you to let them. Going to law school because your parents want you to do it, while not only totally cliche, is probably the absolute worst reason to go. Having your parents' expectations as your only motivation during all-nighters and exam stress will not get you through it.

HopefulLawStud
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Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:23 am

Re: Is law school for me?

Postby HopefulLawStud » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:30 pm

FREE LAW SCHOOL

Man up and just do it, free education. Just do it. Then get into screen writings and stuff. If that doesn't work, go job hunting. Don't know if that will affect job prospects if you don't get a job right out of LS though....

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beesknees
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby beesknees » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:38 pm

One of my recommenders, who is a published author, urged me and anyone who "wants to write" to find some other means to sustain their livelihood, lol. She said the publishing and screenwriting world is a bitch, though both she and her brother are very successful (I measure success as having screenplays of movies that I actually saw in theaters, kind of thing). She wholeheartedly supported my move to go to law school, despite my ambitions to be a published novelist. She said for most people, they had to work "to maintain the writing habit."

She pointed out that a lot of famous novelists had real jobs. Ernest Hemmingway was a journalist. Williams Carlos Williams (poet, but close enough) was a doctor. Very very few people have the priviledge of being able to make a career out of writing alone, especially at the beginning.

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sapp
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby sapp » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:41 pm

traehekat wrote:If you have to ask, the answer is no.

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englawyer
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby englawyer » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:47 pm

first, international law and politics are very rare careers, although appealing. you most likely will NOT go to law school and achieve success there.

the much more likely outcome, if you go to a top school, is that you will do something like litigation, tax law or mergers and acquisitions in a large firm in NY. you won't have any time to do a novel on the side or anything like that either.

don't rush into this, and try to figure out if you would like actual law firm work because that is the likely outcome of law school




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