Is law school for me?

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dakatz
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby dakatz » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:49 pm

Perhaps if you enjoy writing, you can become an english teacher? That way you can always have your head in reading/writing, and will have time on the side to do writing of your own.

caved
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby caved » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:50 pm

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


Since when is that true? If you're not asking yourself that question, you should be.

HerseyChris
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby HerseyChris » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:51 pm

kpuc wrote:
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.


I disagree with this. The best time to explore your interests are straight out of college. You can always pursue writing and get an editing job or a SAT tutor job for now to supplement writing and then apply for Law School five years later. If you apply for law school now and get your JD, it'll be hard to justify pursuing writing since you're have already expended all that energy and money studying law.

BenJ
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby BenJ » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:57 pm

If you want to deal with international affairs, don't go to law school. International law is very, very rare at law schools. Start focusing instead on going to a top IR grad school--Johns Hopkins or Tufts or Georgetown or Harvard or Columbia (maybe Georgetown, Harvard and Columbia do dual law/IR degrees, no idea; look into it).

If you want to do writing, well, wait. Get a career (in IR or teaching or law or something), then do writing on the side. If you're successful as a writer, you can always drop your career for writing, but it's very hard to get into a strong grad school or become employed if you've been a failed writer without doing anything else for a few years. The people telling you to "explore" are plain wrong.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby reasonable_man » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:05 pm

Restate using 1/10 of the words you used. Then we'll talk.

kpuc
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby kpuc » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:09 pm

I disagree with this. The best time to explore your interests are straight out of college. You can always pursue writing and get an editing job or a SAT tutor job for now to supplement writing and then apply for Law School five years later. If you apply for law school now and get your JD, it'll be hard to justify pursuing writing since you're have already expended all that energy and money studying law.


This is my belief as well. If I could have my way, I would take the LSAT this summer and hopefully have a good LSAT score in the bank for 5 years, then spend some time really trying to see if I can convert my passions into a sustainable career. Or perhaps find a fulfilling supportive career that is not as rigorous and time-consuming as law. If all else fails, or if I do discover that I have an innate passion for law, then I can apply to law school.

However, I've tried to explain this to my parents, and they do not like it. My dad thinks I'd be wasting my time when I could be getting a head start on climbing the legal ladder. My mom is afraid that I might enjoy my non-law school life too much and never apply to law school in the end.

It's easy to just advocate telling your parents off, but it's harder to do in real life. My parents are also Korean immigrants and I'm American-born, so the cultural, language, and generational divides are quite vast. It's sometimes impossible to reason with them. I don't think I've ever had a real man-to-man conversation with my dad in my life. I've tried, but it never works.

I think I'm going to spend my last semester in college really doing some research into available positions in fields that truly interest me. Hopefully, I'll get some of them and I can plan the next year or two of my life in those jobs. I'll take the LSATs after graduation, and try to convince my parents to let me take some time off. They know that I can't immediately go to law school after college because I haven't even taken the LSATs yet, so I'm already taking a year off. If I can obtain a real job, then hopefully I can paint for them a picture of a more certain and steady future for myself.

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84Sunbird2000
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby 84Sunbird2000 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:10 pm

Cmon, people, it wasn't that long. Take two minutes and read it through.

I think this was a great first post, and I completely understand your position. Many people have a smorgasbord of talents and interests, and could see themselves in a variety of career paths without feeling depressed. I think that it will serve you well, since you always have an interest to fall back on if you become tired of another. I think the "jack of all trades" is a considerably more creative and valuable asset for society, because inter-disciplinary learning utilizes the capacity of the mind to grasp connections that narrow-focus persons will miss.

I applied to 12 MFA Creative Writing (Poetry) programs before I got my LSAT back, and have now applied to 12 law schools. Now, I don't know if you were considering doing an MFA, but I'm sure you know that the acceptance rates for even mediocre schools are much, much lower than the most elite law schools. You almost certainly won't make it big just by writing, but if you are satisfied with teaching AND writing, then it's probably a great option. I'm still somewhat torn between the two myself, simply because I love writing (poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction) and could see myself being much happier as a writer and professor than as a lawyer. However, I have a crippling ambition to effect broad political and legal change, and see the law as a utilitarian sacrifice.

You can always go back to school and do either one if you choose the other, so don't sweat it.

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englawyer
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby englawyer » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:18 pm

tell your dad that work experience has been getting a boost at OCI (on campus interviews) so if you try out a different career out of college it could be a boost. also it will put distance between you and the terrible legal hiring environment right now.

kpuc
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby kpuc » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:25 pm

Wait, which one of these replies is more accurate?

This:

I disagree with this. The best time to explore your interests are straight out of college. You can always pursue writing and get an editing job or a SAT tutor job for now to supplement writing and then apply for Law School five years later. If you apply for law school now and get your JD, it'll be hard to justify pursuing writing since you're have already expended all that energy and money studying law.


Or:

If you want to do writing, well, wait. Get a career (in IR or teaching or law or something), then do writing on the side. If you're successful as a writer, you can always drop your career for writing, but it's very hard to get into a strong grad school or become employed if you've been a failed writer without doing anything else for a few years. The people telling you to "explore" are plain wrong.


If you don't go to law/grad school straight after college, do you have to have a compelling reason why?

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englawyer
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby englawyer » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:29 pm

kpuc wrote:Wait, which one of these replies is more accurate?

This:

I disagree with this. The best time to explore your interests are straight out of college. You can always pursue writing and get an editing job or a SAT tutor job for now to supplement writing and then apply for Law School five years later. If you apply for law school now and get your JD, it'll be hard to justify pursuing writing since you're have already expended all that energy and money studying law.


Or:

If you want to do writing, well, wait. Get a career (in IR or teaching or law or something), then do writing on the side. If you're successful as a writer, you can always drop your career for writing, but it's very hard to get into a strong grad school or become employed if you've been a failed writer without doing anything else for a few years. The people telling you to "explore" are plain wrong.


If you don't go to law/grad school straight after college, do you have to have a compelling reason why?


law schools: any kind of job/experience would be a positive soft factor. its a strong soft, even if its completely unrelated work experience (teaching and whatnot). i would think freelance/live on a farm type stuff would be neutral and you would be treated like an undergrad although i am not sure about that.

other grad schools do care. for example, if you are a wanderer/freelance type for a while you probably don't have any chances at MBA programs, which are looking for career-oriented go-getters.

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swc65
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby swc65 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:31 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?



Too long for TLS but, I did read it. Maybe you just haven't found your passion.

Also, spend three years of your life and 350k (including foregone earnings) to get a 60-70 hour per week job doing something that is not your passion for the next 30 or 40 years?

And it not precluding you from doing other thing is not a real reason to do it.

Depending upon you LSAT/GPA and choice of school you may just end being a "Hollywood hack." Albeit one with a JD.

You seem to epitomize all the wrong reasons to go to law school. Family pressure, don't know what else to do, security (which only exists for a select few).

If writing is your passion then the obvious answer seems to be to find a way to make that work. There are plenty of people who write for a living. Website designers (not the GA people), making brochures, screenwriting for a TV show.... I don't know the industry but I am sure there are tons of possibilities.

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swc65
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby swc65 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:36 pm

kpuc wrote: Security vs. passion. It it possible to fulfill both in life?



No because security is mostly illusory. Ask the tens of thousands of lawyers without jobs or who are processing documents. Ask the 12 millions people out of work at the moment.

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YCrevolution
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby YCrevolution » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:43 pm

..

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Tangerine Gleam
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby Tangerine Gleam » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:43 pm

kpuc wrote:Security vs. passion. It it possible to fulfill both in life?


You don't have to choose right now. If you want to try your hand at being a professional artist, give it a shot. That's what I did. Go back to school when you're ready or you'll possibly regret it forever...

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gochrisgo
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby gochrisgo » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:45 pm

_
Last edited by gochrisgo on Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

k77
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby k77 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 3:53 pm

You sound kind of like me, and I'm going to law school. Assuming a school accepts me, that is.

FWIW, I have been out of school for two years and I'm glad to have the perspective this has given me. I wasn't originally interested in law because I knew nothing about it, but when I was offered the $ to go, I started researching. I found that, while it's not my passion, it's something I do have an interest in and it's something decidedly more lucrative than being a good-but-not-amazing jazz musician.

So my advice to you is do some more research, don't jump in right away, and if it still doesn't sound too bad, go for it.

beamsmehome
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby beamsmehome » Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:43 pm

.
Last edited by beamsmehome on Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BenJ
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby BenJ » Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:35 pm

englawyer wrote:
kpuc wrote:Wait, which one of these replies is more accurate?

This:

I disagree with this. The best time to explore your interests are straight out of college. You can always pursue writing and get an editing job or a SAT tutor job for now to supplement writing and then apply for Law School five years later. If you apply for law school now and get your JD, it'll be hard to justify pursuing writing since you're have already expended all that energy and money studying law.


Or:

If you want to do writing, well, wait. Get a career (in IR or teaching or law or something), then do writing on the side. If you're successful as a writer, you can always drop your career for writing, but it's very hard to get into a strong grad school or become employed if you've been a failed writer without doing anything else for a few years. The people telling you to "explore" are plain wrong.


If you don't go to law/grad school straight after college, do you have to have a compelling reason why?


law schools: any kind of job/experience would be a positive soft factor. its a strong soft, even if its completely unrelated work experience (teaching and whatnot). i would think freelance/live on a farm type stuff would be neutral and you would be treated like an undergrad although i am not sure about that.

other grad schools do care. for example, if you are a wanderer/freelance type for a while you probably don't have any chances at MBA programs, which are looking for career-oriented go-getters.


Even for law school, you should be doing something productive in the mean time. Teaching is productive--trying to get contracts as a writer and being unsuccessful is not. Writing is NOT a field to enter immediately upon graduation unless you are in the position to get a writing contract prior to graduation, no matter what your future intentions are. Writing is something you get into while you have a stable alternative revenue source. That doesn't mean going to law school. It could mean doing something completely different, like teaching or IR grad school or working in politics or something the OP hasn't even thought of yet. But writing is an incredibly risky career path, even in the best of times. You need something else stable before you start trying to enter writing--either an existing career or a spouse who can provide for both of you for a while if writing doesn't work out.

Kobe_Teeth
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:43 pm

dakatz wrote:Perhaps if you enjoy writing, you can become an english teacher? That way you can always have your head in reading/writing, and will have time on the side to do writing of your own.



I'm an English teacher and would have plenty of time to write a novel if I ever felt the urge. However, I dig boring straightforward writing. Hence why I want to go to law school.

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sf87
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby sf87 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:54 pm

I didn't read the whole post but if you have to ask, the answer is most likely no. Law school should not be a fall back plan or a safety net, or something to do because you're bored/want to try something new/think that maybe you like the idea of law. Law school is hard work, a major commitment, and it consumes your life (at least 1L). I've seen classmates study their asses off and not make good grades, or even passing grades. There are some great posts on TLS that describe schedules of current 1Ls or upper level students- read through them.

ctn8
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby ctn8 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:38 pm

kwhitegocubs wrote:Cmon, people, it wasn't that long. Take two minutes and read it through.

I think this was a great first post, and I completely understand your position. Many people have a smorgasbord of talents and interests, and could see themselves in a variety of career paths without feeling depressed. I think that it will serve you well, since you always have an interest to fall back on if you become tired of another. I think the "jack of all trades" is a considerably more creative and valuable asset for society, because inter-disciplinary learning utilizes the capacity of the mind to grasp connections that narrow-focus persons will miss.

I applied to 12 MFA Creative Writing (Poetry) programs before I got my LSAT back, and have now applied to 12 law schools. Now, I don't know if you were considering doing an MFA, but I'm sure you know that the acceptance rates for even mediocre schools are much, much lower than the most elite law schools. You almost certainly won't make it big just by writing, but if you are satisfied with teaching AND writing, then it's probably a great option. I'm still somewhat torn between the two myself, simply because I love writing (poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction) and could see myself being much happier as a writer and professor than as a lawyer. However, I have a crippling ambition to effect broad political and legal change, and see the law as a utilitarian sacrifice.

You can always go back to school and do either one if you choose the other, so don't sweat it.


Would you mind telling me which schools you applied to for your MFA? Your (and Kpuc's for that matter) situation sounds very similar to mine. I'm applying to 9 MFA programs (fiction) on top of 14 law schools. People think I'm crazy when I tell them that, but they don't understand that it's extremely difficult to get into any MFA programs. With that being said, I consider law school as sort of a safety net--a way to hedge my bets. Of course, I do have interest in law but my true passion lies with writing. I'm hoping that having a list of accepted schools will be that extra variable that pushes me one way or the other. I tell ya, though, taking both the GREs and the LSATs while working on 23 applications was basically a full-time job.

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jmaan
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby jmaan » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:45 pm

just apply and go

lightbulb1986
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby lightbulb1986 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:01 pm

.
Last edited by lightbulb1986 on Sun Apr 24, 2016 2:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

sven
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby sven » Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:14 pm

gochrisgo wrote:Kris --

Ty srazu s universiteta xo4e6 v law school, 4to li? Ya by sovetoval tebe tak - na sledu6ie 2 goda, ni4ego ne delai kotorogo svyazenno s law school. Osobenno esli ty govori6 po-russkii, po4emu ne poiskat rabotu v Rossiei? Ili gde-nibud v Evrope? Eto dast tebe 1) opyt, 2) istorrii (xo4e6 rabotat pisatelem, ne tak li?), 3) vozmojnosti uznat sebya. Vot ty pi6e6 4to to4no ne znae6 kem ty xo4e6 stat - ne spe6i, 4uvak. U tebya ostalos tak mnogo vremeni 4toby pute6estvovat, u4itsya, rabotat, i vse takoe.

Tebe mojno, kone6no, pisat zayavleniya potom i skazat, "Da, ya izu4au mejdunarodnie otno6eniya i russkii yazyk." No 100 raz lu46e pokazat 4to ty jil za rubejom, 4to ty procvetal v drugix kulturax, i 4to gotov na priverjennost kotoruu law school trebuetsya.

Ya tak delal - projil 3 goda v Mosvke i v Kazaxstane. I ty vide6 4to ya ne polu4il takix krutix otcenok na LSAT i v universitete, no u menya stoit o4en xoro6ii vybor sei4as: U Michigan, k primeru, u kotorogo est klassnie programmy po russkomu yazyku i zakonu.

Uda4i.



ugh is this how russians write on the internet when they don't have cyrillic keyboards? cuz i hate all the 6s and 4s. but i agree, moving to russia would be pretty sweet. and that would be a great experience for writing... i recommend you apply for a fulbright or some other grant to go to russia to teach/write next year.

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prezidentv8
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Re: Is law school for me?

Postby prezidentv8 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:21 pm

reasonable_man wrote:Restate using 1/10 of the words you used. Then we'll talk.


I see you've been to law school.




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