Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

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BarelyConcealedRage

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Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby BarelyConcealedRage » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:37 pm

I see constant self-hate, self-criticism, and ragging on JD's, law schools, lawyers, and people who want to become lawyers or think they can make a difference as one. It's an extremely depressing place.

I understand there is an extremely dangerous financial scam in place for prospective law school students, and I am more than aware of how much the debt can ruin someone's life.

But for the amount of people who continually made the decision to attend law school, they seem to hate themselves a lot. If you guy hate yourselves so much why didn't you go to medical school or engineering or something that makes sense but also pays money?

It makes me seriously question law school. I just don't see much of a chance of social mobility outside Big Law though since I missed out on the STEM train.

Forgive me if this is the wrong forum - I was going to put it in legal employment but that said it wasn't for 0Ls.

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Re: Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby dixiecup » Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:36 am

BarelyConcealedRage wrote:I see constant self-hate, self-criticism, and ragging on JD's, law schools, lawyers, and people who want to become lawyers or think they can make a difference as one. It's an extremely depressing place.

I understand there is an extremely dangerous financial scam in place for prospective law school students, and I am more than aware of how much the debt can ruin someone's life.

But for the amount of people who continually made the decision to attend law school, they seem to hate themselves a lot. If you guy hate yourselves so much why didn't you go to medical school or engineering or something that makes sense but also pays money?

It makes me seriously question law school. I just don't see much of a chance of social mobility outside Big Law though since I missed out on the STEM train.

Forgive me if this is the wrong forum - I was going to put it in legal employment but that said it wasn't for 0Ls.


Those warnings aren't made to get into a debate with you. Even if you "won" such a debate by exhausting the other side it wouldn't matter because it's just words. Those warnings are a manifestation of an ages-old human instinct, probably rooted in guilt, to caution your fellow man.

Often in investing, I see people holding a risky stock, and they most vigorously want to debate its merits with you. I think they do this because deep down they're worried. After a while I stop trying to explain the risks and let them be.

Good luck on your quest for "social mobility."

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totesTheGoat

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Re: Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby totesTheGoat » Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:15 am

BarelyConcealedRage wrote:I see constant self-hate, self-criticism, and ragging on JD's, law schools, lawyers, and people who want to become lawyers or think they can make a difference as one. It's an extremely depressing place.


A few things that contribute to the malaise:
1) Law is a paper pushing profession. If you go into it thinking you're the next Sam Waterston, you're gonna be sorely disappointed.
2) Lawyers don't make a difference, they clean up the messes people who make a difference leave behind.
3) Lawyers, in general, tend to be superficial, unethical, self-absorbed, hypercompetitive assholes. If you don't thrive off of that dynamic, you're gonna hate your coworkers. Those gunners in law school don't stop being gunners when they get a job.
4) So many people fall into law school out of desperation and/or ignorance, and have no clue that the most common entry level result is a $65k job and $140k in debt. They also don't realize that the $180k jobs aren't as great as they sound when you consider them on a per hour basis.

But for the amount of people who continually made the decision to attend law school, they seem to hate themselves a lot. If you guy hate yourselves so much why didn't you go to medical school or engineering or something that makes sense but also pays money?


I did go to engineering school. The reasons I left my engineering job are somewhat resolved in my legal job, but the main reason for law school was because the idea of sitting behind a desk for 50 hours a week for the rest of my life sucks, so I may as well get paid as much as possible and retire early. Not the best rationale for attending law school, but it is what it is. Without writing a treatise, I think I'd be just as happy right now if I had stayed an engineer. I don't hate being a lawyer, but it's on par with being an engineer. Different strengths and different weakness, but overall it's a similar experience. Ask me again when I'm done paying off my student loans, and I may have a different opinion.

It makes me seriously question law school.


Good! Law school isn't a ticket to the good life. It's a ticket to working your ass off for 25 years.

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Re: Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby TrashSplitter » Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:13 pm

Just general advice: If you're looking for people who actually enjoy anything, you're probably not going to find very many of them on a forum like this. If you want to find lawyers who don't regret going to law school, you'll probably have to find them in real life or through social media. It's the same phenomenon as restaurant reviews: People are more apt to load up yelp to complain about things than for every experience. It's just a rule of life: People like to complain. Even if they like something, they'll find the thing that wasn't perfect about it and complain about it. This isn't to say you shouldn't listen to people that are complaining: They probably have some kind of point.

To put this in perspective, though: Most jobs suck to varying degrees. Most professional level occupations involve a lot of competition, except maybe being a doctor. Even then I wouldn't count on it and being a doctor is as tough a life as being a lawyer, if not tougher. They have about the same divorce rates and that's a pretty good indicator of how tough the career is on your family.

For every person that would like a career, there are at least ten people out there who would hate it. Even something that seems as awesome as cutting edge software engineering would be drudgery for most people. The rare careers that most people would enjoy doing are either highly competitive or don't pay anything (or, more likely, both) and even then a lot of people simply would not enjoy them. Very few careers offer the type of thing that most idealistic young people say they want: Opportunities to "make a difference" (technically, every job does make a difference in some way, otherwise you wouldn't get paid) are extraordinarily rare and most people simply aren't capable of making a difference for one reason or another.

In order to know if any career is right for you you'll have to know yourself well enough to know what would actually make you motivated to get out of bed in the morning. Most people don't know themselves that well, especially when they're 21 and applying to law schools straight out of college. You'll have to be introspective about this.

The only thing you can really do is try to avoid debt because that will give you freedom because you could think you'd like being a lawyer, or at least the lifestyle of being a lawyer, and be totally wrong. Being relatively low on debt will allow you to bail when you wake up in the morning hating yourself and life.

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Re: Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby BarelyConcealedRage » Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:22 pm

I never accused anyone here of being not genuine in their complaints on law. I know most people here aren't doing for selfish reasons, I'm sure most people here know more than me.

I suppose my primary question that I would want answered from this thread is: for most people who would go to law school, what other option is there? If say I wanted to go to medical school, I would have to immediately quit my current job to take up a medical scribe position or something similar, apply to a post-bacc program ($$$) and then have a slight chance of going to medical school, where I would get even more debt then law school and work the same ridiculous shifts until I finally become a doctor.

The same is true for say, engineering. I would have to go get a second bachelors (likely at a lowly ranked school) and start from scratch more or less and get yet more debt. And I am relatively fortunate in that I had scholarship for undergrad which let me graduate debt free.

I suppose another question would be: what were people expecting? I know people complain about the "paper-pushing" nature of law but there aren't many jobs that aren't similar. Most aspects of business are the same - they just might deal with rich peoples money on projects you, personally, couldn't care less about. The hours at some place at i-banking are even worse than Big Law.

The only other option I could see is consulting but, really, if you didn't come from a top UG and get it in right away you lost the opportunity.

I don't really have any illusions about finding much meaning in my work other than A: being a professional and B: making money. I was born in a terrible home circumstance so it took me longer to get on top of my shit compared to most people, and I long ago wrote off any "dream job" or "making a difference" as something children of the wealthy do.

Really I guess this rant boils down to one question: assuming I have no real attachment to law itself; exactly what can a poor, liberal arts major stuck at a dead end job of 35k a year do that would make him a. Similar amount of money as say, Big Law? Obviously if I can't Big Law its a waste of time but I understand what i need to do in order to have a reasonable chance at it.

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Re: Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby totesTheGoat » Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:37 pm

BarelyConcealedRage wrote: assuming I have no real attachment to law itself; exactly what can a poor, liberal arts major stuck at a dead end job of 35k a year do that would make him a. Similar amount of money as say, Big Law?


It's an evasion of an answer from me, but he could set more modest expectations. There are a whole bunch of jobs that can make you $100-150k mid-career, but the list gets smaller for jobs that can make you $300k+ a few years after graduation. If you're really interested in being rich rather than just being well off, there's going to be a massive amount of risk and work involved. There's a reason why not everybody is a multi-millionaire.

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Re: Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby BarelyConcealedRage » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:24 pm

totesTheGoat wrote:
BarelyConcealedRage wrote: assuming I have no real attachment to law itself; exactly what can a poor, liberal arts major stuck at a dead end job of 35k a year do that would make him a. Similar amount of money as say, Big Law?


It's an evasion of an answer from me, but he could set more modest expectations. There are a whole bunch of jobs that can make you $100-150k mid-career, but the list gets smaller for jobs that can make you $300k+ a few years after graduation. If you're really interested in being rich rather than just being well off, there's going to be a massive amount of risk and work involved. There's a reason why not everybody is a multi-millionaire.


I would be more than happy to hear about those; I doubt I could survive Big Law for more than 2 years anyway so I doubt I would make much more than that anyway.

I am really just looking for reasons bot go to law school. I've read all the scary numbers, but so far the numbers don't seem any less scary for the alternatives.

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Re: Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby totesTheGoat » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:44 pm

-Sales can get into the $150-200k range if you're really good at it, and it's usually a solid $50-60k even if you're only mediocre.
-Marketing is a good industry that usually hires a bunch of people with "worthless liberal arts" degrees.
-Starting your own business is very risky and labor intensive, but you can end up making millions per year if you're successful.
-Freelance web design... a 6 week coding bootcamp and a few free projects to build out your portfolio, and you're off to the races. My SIL makes around $100k doing it. This is starting your own business, so it's risky and labor intensive.
-Administrator/Assistant for the local or state government. Doesn't pay the best, but the benefits usually make up for it.

What do you like to do for fun? There's usually a way to parlay your interests, even tangentially, into some decent paying job.

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Re: Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby TrashSplitter » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:44 pm

BarelyConcealedRage wrote:
totesTheGoat wrote:
BarelyConcealedRage wrote: assuming I have no real attachment to law itself; exactly what can a poor, liberal arts major stuck at a dead end job of 35k a year do that would make him a. Similar amount of money as say, Big Law?


It's an evasion of an answer from me, but he could set more modest expectations. There are a whole bunch of jobs that can make you $100-150k mid-career, but the list gets smaller for jobs that can make you $300k+ a few years after graduation. If you're really interested in being rich rather than just being well off, there's going to be a massive amount of risk and work involved. There's a reason why not everybody is a multi-millionaire.




I would be more than happy to hear about those; I doubt I could survive Big Law for more than 2 years anyway so I doubt I would make much more than that anyway.

I am really just looking for reasons bot go to law school. I've read all the scary numbers, but so far the numbers don't seem any less scary for the alternatives.


If you’re after just money, and you have any kind of personality, I’d just do sales and consider going to b-school in a few years. You can make a decent living off of commissions and can get on a course for executive positions if you’re good. That’s a much cheaper way to go than law school.

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Re: Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby nixy » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:48 pm

As boomer-ish as this sounds, the hypothetical liberal arts major can go out a get some entry level jobs and start to figure out what other kinds of work are out there, what kind of work they like to do, how much money they actually *need* to live comfortably (rather than just “the most I can get paid with the least amount of effort), and what the paths to advancement in what they want to do are. Your question “what other option is there?” makes it sound like there are 6 jobs in the world. There are a ZILLION different kinds of jobs out there, and most people don’t finish their lives in the same profession/industry they started in when they graduated college. You can learn skills and get into other fields than the generic medicine, law, engineering, consulting.

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Re: Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby nealric » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:57 pm

I enjoy being a lawyer to the extent one can enjoy a desk jockey job. I'd rather be a professional race car driver but among realistic alternatives law is probably the one that best suits me. I'm close to 10 years out of school doing tax in-house at a F500 company.

Likes:
I'm paid well. My student loans were paid off a few years ago so I'm actually getting healthy savings built up.
There's some interesting problems to solve. I do tax, which tends to focus heavily on problem solving (including efficiently resolving disputes).
It's fun to be an expert in something and having people come to you for advice.
I like politics in a perverse sort of way. I don't mean national politics, but the internal and geopolitics that impact my job/industry.

Dislikes:
Pushing paper and reviewing contracts and the like can be boring and repetitive.
You are still a desk jockey with all that entails.
Complicated tax laws can be a bit mind-numbing when you have to get really down and dirty into the technical details.
Your creativity is limited to a narrowly defined set of rules/tasks. You won't be coming up with any great inventions.
Nothing super exciting happens in my practice (unlike litigators who can win a big case). If something exciting happens, it's a very bad thing.
The law firm side of things is an hours grind. Even if you get a nice in-house job, you have to put in your time to get there.

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Re: Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby BarelyConcealedRage » Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:13 pm

I suppose it is also worth mentioning that my dead end job is in sales, and is partially dead end because I am bad/mediocre in it.

Boot camps are expensive and have mixed results. The cheapest career track I see with a more guaranteed income is taking medical pre reqs at community college and then becoming a physician assistant.

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Re: Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby Npret » Wed Aug 01, 2018 6:34 pm

These threads convince me that people can’t see the world around them. I live in NYC along with millions of other people. The percentage of biglaw lawyers is tiny. Are you really telling yourself that the only possible jobs are law, doctor, sales or coding?

For me, yes I liked being a big law lawyer while I was chasing prestige because it satisfied that need. When I realized I no longer cared about prestige, I started hating biglaw. Caveat- I had no debt from law school and I would never have borrowed 6 figures to go.

My uncle who is a family court judge in a midwestern state has loved his career. So maybe it depends where you are and what you expect.

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Re: Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby BarelyConcealedRage » Wed Aug 01, 2018 7:35 pm

Npret wrote:These threads convince me that people can’t see the world around them. I live in NYC along with millions of other people. The percentage of biglaw lawyers is tiny. Are you really telling yourself that the only possible jobs are law, doctor, sales or coding?

For me, yes I liked being a big law lawyer while I was chasing prestige because it satisfied that need. When I realized I no longer cared about prestige, I started hating biglaw. Caveat- I had no debt from law school and I would never have borrowed 6 figures to go.

My uncle who is a family court judge in a midwestern state has loved his career. So maybe it depends where you are and what you expect.

I'm definitely aware of people that can survive in places like NYC without being in those fields. Usually, though, they without fail have one of the following:

1) In a field that requires intense like I said, nurses, accountants, scientists etc. They still require more schooling.
2) They live in the ghetto, or crammed with 8 people in a 1 bedroom apartment. Forget being able to support kids or their parents.
3) They were born rich and could do whatever they want for the most part.
4) They had connection$ and their life story is in no way replicable for the average schmuck.
5) They are married to, related to, or otherwise are supported by somebody much richer than them.

Of these only 1 and 2 that could be reliably repeated by someone without many starting privileges. I already lost my shot at most in 1. 2 is not desirable. So, of the narrow few direction I can in 1, fields like law, medical school etc. seem no less dangerous than the other alternatives I have.

My spouse will be a teacher, and even assuming a good starting salary, isn't quite enough to survive on in a place like NYC at least at first.

As I said, I'm sure many people who know better than me. It's just when I get similar advice from other people I know ("explore your options") they are almost without fail part of 3, 4, or 5. Most people I know who tell me to follow my "passion" and ignore money for instance were born to wealthy parents etc.

I'm not intentionally trying to restrict my options. I am realistic about my opportunities. I have plenty of older co-workers at my dead-end job. One of them, at the age 45, will be moving back in with their parents because they can't live on the salary alone (they are divorced). He, also, had a useless liberal arts degree. Most people I met with similar academic records to mine (good grades, but with a toilet paper degree) fail more often than they succeed when they try to figure out what to do with their lives.

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Re: Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby totesTheGoat » Wed Aug 01, 2018 9:51 pm

Of these only 1 and 2 that could be reliably repeated by someone without many starting privileges. I already lost my shot at most in 1. 2 is not desirable. So, of the narrow few direction I can in 1, fields like law, medical school etc. seem no less dangerous than the other alternatives I have.


I call bullshit. Stop moping and figure out what you want to do with your life. Your victim mentality isn't gonna get you a job, so leave it behind and focus on what is available to you.

I know plenty of rich kids who screwed up their lives enough that all the privilege in the world couldnt help them. I know plenty of broke ass poor people who busted their ass and became something.

Once you set aside your woe is me attitude and actually hold yourself accountable not only for your past mistakes, but also for your future success, then you will realize there are many more options than doctor, lawyer and engineer.

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Re: Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby BarelyConcealedRage » Wed Aug 01, 2018 10:05 pm

totesTheGoat wrote:
Of these only 1 and 2 that could be reliably repeated by someone without many starting privileges. I already lost my shot at most in 1. 2 is not desirable. So, of the narrow few direction I can in 1, fields like law, medical school etc. seem no less dangerous than the other alternatives I have.


I call bullshit. Stop moping and figure out what you want to do with your life. Your victim mentality isn't gonna get you a job, so leave it behind and focus on what is available to you.

I know plenty of rich kids who screwed up their lives enough that all the privilege in the world couldnt help them. I know plenty of broke ass poor people who busted their ass and became something.

Once you set aside your woe is me attitude and actually hold yourself accountable not only for your past mistakes, but also for your future success, then you will realize there are many more options than doctor, lawyer and engineer.

I don't mean to imply my position isn't the result of my own actions. Of course, there are plenty of people with my background that have succeeded in other fields. Not every lawyer, not every engineer, not every professional etc. was born wealthy. Statistics show you are likely to stay in the class you are born in, but of course their are exceptions.

The reason some of those other options are shut off from me is not because I am poor, but because I did poorly in high schools and early college (not grade wise, but by pursuing a tp degree). That's 100% me, nobody else.

So that is what I am trying to do - focus on what is available to me. That is why I look for options that can be available to me. They are just more limited because of a combination of my poor start + my poor decisions. Ultimately, it's up to me of course. But for instance none of the options you gave seemed particularly available to me - I am awful at sales, I need some sort of experience to get into marketing, I tried coding and was bad at that too (and hated it) and coding camp is both expensive and far from universally successful, and I have actually applied for those Administrator/Assistant jobs and never gotten a call back, even for relatively low-level work.

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Re: Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby Npret » Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:05 am

Yeah you’re right people are either rich, destitute, connected or in medicine. You have no hope except law school. How anyone else survives is a miracle I guess.

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Re: Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby Npret » Thu Aug 02, 2018 8:43 am

If STEM interests you, you can probably go back to undergrad for less than law school.

The real problem here is that you, like most law students, have no idea what you want to do, other than it seems you want to earn a lot of money. You seem to have no idea of your aptitude either.

Going to law school is a default simple choice for many people. It’s easier than taking serious responsibility for your life. If your serious, work with lawyers or volunteer so you have some clue if you would like being a lawyer.

Your posts do make you seem like a whiny victim. You won’t succeed in law or anything else with that attitude.

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Re: Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby Veil of Ignorance » Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:15 pm

People I know who are pursuing their passions include:

1. a friend who is "acting" in New York, living in his parents' vacation home
2. a friend who is "making art" in Huntington Beach, living in an apartment paid for by their parents
3. an acquaintance working for a non-profit in San Francisco, who, astonishingly, lives in a $3000 apartment and travels to SE Asia all the time

These are the most privileged people in the world, though. You can't bemoan the fact that you aren't them. You don't have to go to law school, though.
You could get a job in journalism, or get a MA then move to a PhD program, or get an MPP. There are options.

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Re: Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby BarelyConcealedRage » Thu Aug 02, 2018 1:23 pm

The vast majority of people in my age group in those cities are 100% subsidized by their parents. Most every report proves it. Something like 60% of millenials get financial help from their parent until they are 30. Following your passion or interest is a cheap sham pushed in early education to avoid the difficult subject of inequality. So i don't have a lot if tolerance for people attending to defend that incredibly harmful lie.

I am not wed to the idea of law school. I am wed to the idea if having financial indepedence, helping my parents retire (my mother is homeless rn, and is living on the streets - not couch surfing, or with family - literally homeless). In the past few years I have made sure to eliminate any of my "passions" so I can focus on self-improvement and providing for my family.

I have simply failed to see how, if I can attend a t-14 at a decent scholarship or lower for close to a full ride, that isn't my best option. As is evidence by almost every report, anecdote, or story on the subject, pretty much every artist, non profit, actor, or other meaningless career field has someone else subsidizing their in all honesty selfish career choice. I would simply like to have a life where money isn't a constant obstacle to everything in my life. I want to an able to enjoy the life style all the other people in college had and I was ignorant of before i rubbed shoulder with middle class and rich people.

If I don't make decent money my parents are both likely to be homeless when they are older. I hope people realize that. One already is, and since my parents are divorced, we had to simply wish her the best in her attempts to survive.

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Re: Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby Veil of Ignorance » Thu Aug 02, 2018 1:48 pm

That sounds really tough. It's admirable of you to want to help your parents. I think that the income flow from biglaw attained after 3 years of law school is probably the highest salary you'll be able to obtain in the shortest amount of time possible. This is why most people do it, even though they don't have your level of hardship. They don't do it because they "love the law". That's privileged baby boomer shit.

There is a middle ground though. You could do sales in Portland and live comfortably on 70k. But I personally would hate sales much more than being a big lawyer.

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Re: Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby dixiecup » Sat Aug 04, 2018 1:00 am

I hear what you're saying OP. You have few options now and want to try something else. Indeed, there isn't much risk to law school. You can fund the entire three years on federally guaranteed PAYE loans that you'll never have to pay back if you don't earn money (and don't have a large inheritance coming your way). At worst, it's a 3 year government funded vacation and, at best, it could turn into something great for you.

But even looking at it this way, I'd consider other graduate programs too. One of the coolest groups of people I knew were the english literature graduate students in my college. I was seriously jealous of their lives, good looking, pleasant people who partied and read and discussed literature all day. There are so many other cool graduate programs that the government will pay for, so be careful because you don't get to make this decision twice (I assume there's SOME cap on student loans.)

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Re: Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby BlackAndOrange84 » Sat Aug 04, 2018 6:07 am

dixiecup wrote:I hear what you're saying OP. You have few options now and want to try something else. Indeed, there isn't much risk to law school. You can fund the entire three years on federally guaranteed PAYE loans that you'll never have to pay back if you don't earn money (and don't have a large inheritance coming your way). At worst, it's a 3 year government funded vacation and, at best, it could turn into something great for you.

But even looking at it this way, I'd consider other graduate programs too. One of the coolest groups of people I knew were the english literature graduate students in my college. I was seriously jealous of their lives, good looking, pleasant people who partied and read and discussed literature all day. There are so many other cool graduate programs that the government will pay for, so be careful because you don't get to make this decision twice (I assume there's SOME cap on student loans.)


It’s harder to get a tenure track job in the humanities than a lawyering job from a T4 shithole. Sure, being a grad student is cool, but decades of underemployment working as an adjunct for maybe $25k with no benefits or becoming an overeducated high school teacher is not worth it.

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Re: Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby Dcc617 » Sat Aug 04, 2018 9:29 am

Join the military. You can be an officer, get paid fine, get benefits, have people thank you all the time, etc. Like, the military sucks, but if you’re really just at wit’s end.

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Re: Does anyone here actually enjoy being a lawyer?

Postby BarelyConcealedRage » Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:56 am

Dcc617 wrote:Join the military. You can be an officer, get paid fine, get benefits, have people thank you all the time, etc. Like, the military sucks, but if you’re really just at wit’s end.

Medically ineligible for the military unfortunately.

I also don't really want to do any humanities grad school program for sure. Graduate school is for professional studies, not partying. I got the partying out of my system in undergrad. I need a job that pays money.



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