greg737 wrote:OK.. so I'm considering going to law school and becoming a lawyer, but between what I've heard from my friends (in both law school and as practicing attorneys) and online on message boards, I'm terrified I"m going to hate it, if only because everywhere I see, lawyers are always said to be miserable people who hate their jobs.
Usually, the miserable lawyers I know follow a pretty typical path -- Came directly from undergrad to law school with no work experience and aspirations of biglaw because of the salary and supposed "prestige."
If they end up in biglaw, they're miserable because of the long hours, tedious workload, and interwoven nature of work and "personal time" inherent to this type of career. The problem is that they never worked a full time job before law school; they've spent the last 20 years of their lives in schools. Someone can TELL you that you'll regularly work 70 hours a week and be tethered to your blackberry at all times, but it's hard to internalize that if you don't have any tangible work experience. When they suddenly find themselves in that position, they realize that (1) the practice of law is not what they thought it was (at a big firm), and (2) the demands are far greater than they envisioned.
If they end up in a small or midsized firm they may actually enjoy the work, but it's easy to be miserable if they've got six figures worth of debt and a $50k salary in an expensive metro area.
The happiest lawyers I know are solos or partners in small firms they started. There are also plenty of people that enjoy biglaw, but it takes a certain personality. I don't think you accurately recognize whether or not you HAVE that type of personality if you've never had a fulltime job before.
I think going to law school with the expectation that it entitles you to a cushy, enjoyable, and secure six figure job is a recipe for disaster. However, law school attracts that type -- the risk averse.