Poll: Do you regret going to law school

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )

Do you regret going to law school

Yes, I am no interested in practicing law
14
7%
Yes, for financial reasons
22
10%
Yes, for both of the above reasons
13
6%
Yes, other
11
5%
No
151
72%
 
Total votes: 211

rando
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby rando » Thu Mar 25, 2010 8:04 am

whuts4lunch wrote:As an 0L, I find the poll results very encouraging. I hope that the poll voters are a somewhat representative sample of students at top law schools.


I like law school. That being said, the first thing I thought when reading this poll was "this is not going to be representative at all." The self-selection bias on TLS is astounding. Nowhere else will you find this many LS students at the top of the class with good job prospects. Those people tend to be the ones who like law school and are happy with the financial decisions therein.

Take it with a HUGE grain of salt.

acdisagod
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby acdisagod » Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:58 am

rando wrote:
whuts4lunch wrote:As an 0L, I find the poll results very encouraging. I hope that the poll voters are a somewhat representative sample of students at top law schools.


I like law school. That being said, the first thing I thought when reading this poll was "this is not going to be representative at all." The self-selection bias on TLS is astounding. Nowhere else will you find this many LS students at the top of the class with good job prospects. Those people tend to be the ones who like law school and are happy with the financial decisions therein.

Take it with a HUGE grain of salt.


Probably a good point.

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OperaSoprano
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby OperaSoprano » Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:21 am

engineer wrote:
OperaSoprano wrote:9.5. I took .5 off for the curve and bluebooking.


but that's the best part!

I'll save the why-imposing-a-curve-is-statistically-insignificant rant for another day.


That may be, at least in 80 person+ classes (curving a LRW class with 16 people in it is just wicked.) It's just that the curve isn't psychologically insignificant, as Rayiner points out. The fact that I lucked out has not changed my mind one whit about this system and what it does to people. I'm still not hubristic enough to think it was more than luck. I wish we had a more generous curve (up to 10% As is draconian IMO), but in the main this rant exists because of all the unnecessary anxiety produced by this system. Yes, I can understand why it's useful to firms. That does not mean I have to like it.

Law school is not perfect, but for everything it is and isn't, it's been the adventure of a lifetime.

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OperaSoprano
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby OperaSoprano » Thu Mar 25, 2010 11:39 am

rayiner wrote:
solidsnake wrote:Agreed. I actually love the curve. I like being ranked and objectified, treated like a valuable but ultimately fungible commodity instead of some whiny liberal with feelings.


I love it because it teaches whiny liberals with feelings (of which there are plenty in law school) that they're not special.


FTR, I don't think anyone came in here feeling particularly special. In my case, I just wanted to prove that I deserved my seat, and the school hadn't made an error in taking me from the waitlist. If I did that much, maybe it was enough. I don't know. As for being objectified, at least I ought to be used to that.

Law school has a wonderful human element, and there is so much fulfilling about this experience that it's worth all the rest.

engineer
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby engineer » Thu Mar 25, 2010 2:06 pm

OperaSoprano wrote:
engineer wrote:
OperaSoprano wrote:9.5. I took .5 off for the curve and bluebooking.


but that's the best part!

I'll save the why-imposing-a-curve-is-statistically-insignificant rant for another day.


That may be, at least in 80 person+ classes (curving a LRW class with 16 people in it is just wicked.) It's just that the curve isn't psychologically insignificant, as Rayiner points out. The fact that I lucked out has not changed my mind one whit about this system and what it does to people. I'm still not hubristic enough to think it was more than luck. I wish we had a more generous curve (up to 10% As is draconian IMO), but in the main this rant exists because of all the unnecessary anxiety produced by this system. Yes, I can understand why it's useful to firms. That does not mean I have to like it.

Law school is not perfect, but for everything it is and isn't, it's been the adventure of a lifetime.


It's almost counterintuitive that law schools would impose a mandatory curve. We're taught that law is anything but black and white; with that in mind, how can they possibly assume that exactly 10% (5% at my school) of students will get As, etc. ? It just doesn't seem like it's a valid assumption. While variance will decrease as the overall sample size increases, which is to say that a curve is fair in larger class sizes, it's just not really a good way to do things. I understand how important rank is, but it seems kind of foolish to think that person A should be hired over person B because A did better on one three-hour exam. But, that's just me being bitter.

GatorBait09
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby GatorBait09 » Thu Mar 25, 2010 8:52 pm

heyguys wrote:I honestly feel like going to law school was the worst decision I have made in my life. In fact, I'm still at the hyperbolic 'this decision has ruined at least my 20s' point in the process of dealing with having made the decision. If it weren't for the debt, I would be back home.


Damn and you're going to Yale.

heyguys
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby heyguys » Thu Mar 25, 2010 8:59 pm

GatorBait09 wrote:
heyguys wrote:I honestly feel like going to law school was the worst decision I have made in my life. In fact, I'm still at the hyperbolic 'this decision has ruined at least my 20s' point in the process of dealing with having made the decision. If it weren't for the debt, I would be back home.


Damn and you're going to Yale.


Why in the world does that matter?

coherentowst
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby coherentowst » Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:04 pm

heyguys wrote:
GatorBait09 wrote:
heyguys wrote:I honestly feel like going to law school was the worst decision I have made in my life. In fact, I'm still at the hyperbolic 'this decision has ruined at least my 20s' point in the process of dealing with having made the decision. If it weren't for the debt, I would be back home.


Damn and you're going to Yale.


Why in the world does that matter?


It matters because a significant portion of this forum would probably willingly sever a finger or two to go to Yale. So when you casually refer to this as the worst decision of your life, it's bound to create a sensation.

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eye
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby eye » Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:07 pm

solidsnake wrote:Where's the option for not regretting going to law school generally, but regretting going to the law school one foolishly chose to matriculate at?


which school is that and why? I'm scared of exactly the same thing!

heyguys
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby heyguys » Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:11 pm

betasteve wrote:
heyguys wrote:
GatorBait09 wrote:
heyguys wrote:I honestly feel like going to law school was the worst decision I have made in my life. In fact, I'm still at the hyperbolic 'this decision has ruined at least my 20s' point in the process of dealing with having made the decision. If it weren't for the debt, I would be back home.


Damn and you're going to Yale.


Why in the world does that matter?

Probably a presumption that MODEL AND BOTTLES would cure your ills. Assumedly not, and I would like to hear your side. I am going to posit that there were some grander ideas of what the law was and what you can do once knowing it. Personally, I didn't come in with that, but I am still a little shocked by how incredibly inertial the law is.



For me, it was just the combination of a few realizations within the first few months of law school. Since I've gotten multiple PMs regarding this, I'll just say:

1) as you say, law can be an incredibly intellectually stultifying topic.
2) I left a lot of people and friends to move across the country (literally....I'm from the AZ/NV/NM area).
3) I could have no debt right now and be doing something more modest with my life like teaching. I'm a really simple guy, and there was absolutely no reason for me to ever really have given biglaw a thought.
4) I'm interested in a secondary market. I know the job market sucks and that I'm lucky to be where I am, but that doesn't mean my decision makes any more sense.
5) I fully recognize that there are a ton of people who would kill to be in my position. Makes my unhappiness feel all the more asinine.
6) I'm absolutely stuck for the next two years, and I hate New Haven. A lot.

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AngryAvocado
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby AngryAvocado » Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:24 pm

heyguys wrote:
For me, it was just the combination of a few realizations within the first few months of law school. Since I've gotten multiple PMs regarding this, I'll just say:

1) as you say, law can be an incredibly intellectually stultifying topic.
2) I left a lot of people and friends to move across the country (literally....I'm from the AZ/NV/NM area).
3) I could have no debt right now and be doing something more modest with my life like teaching. I'm a really simple guy, and there was absolutely no reason for me to ever really have given biglaw a thought.
4) I'm interested in a secondary market. I know the job market sucks and that I'm lucky to be where I am, but that doesn't mean my decision makes any more sense.
5) I fully recognize that there are a ton of people who would kill to be in my position. Makes my unhappiness feel all the more asinine.
6) I'm absolutely stuck for the next two years, and I hate New Haven. A lot.


Solid list. Have you thought about becoming a law professor?

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FunkyJD
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby FunkyJD » Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:32 pm

heyguys wrote:For me, it was just the combination of a few realizations within the first few months of law school. Since I've gotten multiple PMs regarding this, I'll just say:

1) as you say, law can be an incredibly intellectually stultifying topic.
2) I left a lot of people and friends to move across the country (literally....I'm from the AZ/NV/NM area).
3) I could have no debt right now and be doing something more modest with my life like teaching. I'm a really simple guy, and there was absolutely no reason for me to ever really have given biglaw a thought.
4) I'm interested in a secondary market. I know the job market sucks and that I'm lucky to be where I am, but that doesn't mean my decision makes any more sense.
5) I fully recognize that there are a ton of people who would kill to be in my position. Makes my unhappiness feel all the more asinine.
6) I'm absolutely stuck for the next two years, and I hate New Haven. A lot.

This is a valuable perspective.

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rbgrocio
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby rbgrocio » Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:02 pm

I love law school, but I hate not having a life, and more than anything else I hate the gunners, all of whom seem to be at the bottom of the class! They need to learn how to shut up.

GatorBait09
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby GatorBait09 » Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:18 pm

coherentowst wrote:
heyguys wrote:
GatorBait09 wrote:
heyguys wrote:I honestly feel like going to law school was the worst decision I have made in my life. In fact, I'm still at the hyperbolic 'this decision has ruined at least my 20s' point in the process of dealing with having made the decision. If it weren't for the debt, I would be back home.


Damn and you're going to Yale.


Why in the world does that matter?


It matters because a significant portion of this forum would probably willingly sever a finger or two to go to Yale. So when you casually refer to this as the worst decision of your life, it's bound to create a sensation.


Actually I'm not saying that at all. I was more interested by the paradox that heyguys was going to the best law school in the country and was hating the experience. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it, just very interesting on an individual level.

I am sorry that you're having such a miserable experience though. Hopefully time will prove it not to be such a waste.

P.S. Yeah, I've been to New Haven...it blows hard.

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SteelReserve
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby SteelReserve » Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:21 pm

Unfortunately this thread (may) not be useful for the OP because when you hear that people regret going to law school, it's usually not law school itself they regret--it's the actual job of lawyering.
For many people, it is the low pay for the price of admission. For many more, it is the billable hour system; it is a partner throwing a brief at you over the weekend so you cannot see your friends or family; it's spending 8-10 hours in front of a computer screen clicking through case law on Lexis and editing citations; it is the difficulty in collecting money from clients; it's the fact that (like law school) you never get to just clock out at the end of the day, you just have more work on your mind throughout the night and over the weekends.

These are the reasons most people regret law school, but I haven't heard any of them discussed because everyone (like me) is in the comfortable bubble of 1L/2L/3L. The only person who approaches a solid position to evaluate 'law school regret' is Corsair because he is a 3L who by all measures has succeeded in school, but has tasted the reality of the job market. And even he has not really faced the reality of spending months post-bar searching for a job and even he has not yet worked full-time in the law.

My point here is I'm guessing OP heard a lawyer tell him he regretted going to law school and OP wanted some validation herein; but really we can only give you the idea of regretting law school from inside the law school bubble.

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Philo38
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby Philo38 » Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:26 pm

rayiner wrote:
solidsnake wrote:
I love it because it teaches whiny liberals with feelings (of which there are plenty in law school) that they're not special.


Yes, there is something so satisfying when you see that spark in their eyes go dim at the moment they realize mommy lied to them for all those years.


This makes anxious to get there.

heyguys
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby heyguys » Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:18 am

Doing legal academia makes very little sense for me, seeing as I hate law school. The thought of remaining in one doesn't strike me as particularly desirable. Moreover, there's absolutely no way that I'm giving any thought to doing law review. I think the hardest part about my current situation is just not seeing any sort of light at the end of the tunnel besides riding out loan forgiveness or doing biglaw. Either way though, that entails 2 more years of law school.

I do appreciate the sympathy and the kind PMs that have been sent. As I said, the whole thing is sort of a humiliating experience, as I know that a ton of folks would kill to be in my position here, etc. Nevertheless, it is what it is, and the thought of two more years in law school piling on debt in Connecticut is frankly soul crushing. 2010 has literally been the worst year of my life, as I feel like I've abandoned everything I've valued in order to take on this burden of debt which ties me to law. I'm 45k in the hole, and by the time I'm done with law school it will almost certainly be more like 130k.

The lesson here: really think hard about whether law is right for you, even if it's an offer from Yale. When I was a 0L, it seemed like such a no-brainer, but even if I'm being over-dramatic, I am one dour, miserable human being at the moment.

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thedogship
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby thedogship » Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:33 am

heyguys wrote:Doing legal academia makes very little sense for me, seeing as I hate law school. The thought of remaining in one doesn't strike me as particularly desirable. Moreover, there's absolutely no way that I'm giving any thought to doing law review. I think the hardest part about my current situation is just not seeing any sort of light at the end of the tunnel besides riding out loan forgiveness or doing biglaw. Either way though, that entails 2 more years of law school.

I do appreciate the sympathy and the kind PMs that have been sent. As I said, the whole thing is sort of a humiliating experience, as I know that a ton of folks would kill to be in my position here, etc. Nevertheless, it is what it is, and the thought of two more years in law school piling on debt in Connecticut is frankly soul crushing. 2010 has literally been the worst year of my life, as I feel like I've abandoned everything I've valued in order to take on this burden of debt which ties me to law. I'm 45k in the hole, and by the time I'm done with law school it will almost certainly be more like 130k.

The lesson here: really think hard about whether law is right for you, even if it's an offer from Yale. When I was a 0L, it seemed like such a no-brainer, but even if I'm being over-dramatic, I am one dour, miserable human being at the moment.


Why don't you just drop out? Paying off $45K is not the end of the world if you cut your losses now. Personally, I think you are being a huge baby, but whatever, this is your life. Don't do something you hate and which makes you miserable. You're not going to be happier 2-3 years from now when your debt is huge and you are going to a law firm every day. I like law school and I know being a lawyer won't be as fun as this. If I hated law school, I'd get out now. If you think law school is soul-crushing, the future is bleak for you. I wonder how many non-legal things one can do with a Yale JD. I really have no idea.

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englawyer
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby englawyer » Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:39 am

agreed. 45k is doable on teacher or whatever else salary so you should take the hit. then again, with LRAP at Yale, you can become a teacher and still have reasonable payments (which is absurdly awesome). At least you aren't at a school where a law-related field is required (cough cough H-bomb)

heyguys
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby heyguys » Fri Mar 26, 2010 9:54 am

thedogship wrote:Why don't you just drop out? Paying off $45K is not the end of the world if you cut your losses now. Personally, I think you are being a huge baby, but whatever, this is your life. Don't do something you hate and which makes you miserable. You're not going to be happier 2-3 years from now when your debt is huge and you are going to a law firm every day. I like law school and I know being a lawyer won't be as fun as this. If I hated law school, I'd get out now. If you think law school is soul-crushing, the future is bleak for you. I wonder how many non-legal things one can do with a Yale JD. I really have no idea.



The only things that are currently keeping me here are:

1) The fear that I am being a huge baby about the whole thing--I've never quit anything before, and this would be a huge decision.
2) The fear that to drop out would be a short-sighted decision that I might regret 20 years down the road.
3) Letting others down/not being a good example.
4) Feeling like a failure/sorry-ass/unappreciative of how "good" I have it.

So that's meant to agree with the 'big baby' comment in terms of how I could definitely see that being how the whole thing is looked upon. It's just a huge and complicated decision.

EDIT: That'll be my last post here--I feel like I'm hijacking the thread, and moping isn't very productive. Thanks for the input all--I'll read any more comments, but I'll refrain from posting.

Pendulum
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby Pendulum » Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:43 am

There was a poll on westlaw on the same subject. IIRC, it was also 25% for those who regret going to law school.

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kswiss
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby kswiss » Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:13 pm

heyguys wrote:
thedogship wrote:Why don't you just drop out? Paying off $45K is not the end of the world if you cut your losses now. Personally, I think you are being a huge baby, but whatever, this is your life. Don't do something you hate and which makes you miserable. You're not going to be happier 2-3 years from now when your debt is huge and you are going to a law firm every day. I like law school and I know being a lawyer won't be as fun as this. If I hated law school, I'd get out now. If you think law school is soul-crushing, the future is bleak for you. I wonder how many non-legal things one can do with a Yale JD. I really have no idea.



The only things that are currently keeping me here are:

1) The fear that I am being a huge baby about the whole thing--I've never quit anything before, and this would be a huge decision.
2) The fear that to drop out would be a short-sighted decision that I might regret 20 years down the road.
3) Letting others down/not being a good example.
4) Feeling like a failure/sorry-ass/unappreciative of how "good" I have it.

So that's meant to agree with the 'big baby' comment in terms of how I could definitely see that being how the whole thing is looked upon. It's just a huge and complicated decision.

EDIT: That'll be my last post here--I feel like I'm hijacking the thread, and moping isn't very productive. Thanks for the input all--I'll read any more comments, but I'll refrain from posting.


I'm an 0L, so I can't really address the law school aspect of what you are saying. I am, though, a person who has been through a lot of trials in my life. I'm older than a lot of people on this board (not by too much), so maybe I can bring a little perspective FWIW (probably what you paid for it).

I think a lot of people are attacking you because you go to Yale, but once you get in, the dynamic at Yale probably isn't that different than a host of T1 and T2 schools. I feel for you man (or woman).

But I also sense some self-defeatism in your post. There are a lot of doors that a Yale degree opens that aren't available to most people. If you want to teach, then by all means teach. It doesn't even have to be at a law school. I have a professor here in UG who went to LS, practiced for a few years, and hated it. Now he teaches media law to communication students, and he loves it.

There are also a variety of other teaching opportunities in history departments (Constitution), and even computer science etc. The law applies to a lot of fields, so you don't have to be in a law school environment to leverage such a prestigious degree. You also have a very good LRAP program and opportunities in PI and government that many of us only dream of.

That said, if you explore all of your options and still don't think there is a way to be happy, you should look into some counseling. 2 more years in hell isn't going to be good for your well-being, and if you don't have some kind of worthwhile goal to pull you though, it could lead to more severe problems.

I don't have the numbers for Yale, but I've thought several times that even if I did, I don't know if I would be comfortable there. I'm from the west coast and come from pretty humble beginnings. I think that I would feel very out of place. I don't know if thats what you are going through. Either way, I hope you sort it out.

Cheers.

SBimmer
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby SBimmer » Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:01 pm

...
Last edited by SBimmer on Mon Mar 29, 2010 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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macattaq
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby macattaq » Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:03 pm

thedogship wrote:
heyguys wrote:Doing legal academia makes very little sense for me, seeing as I hate law school. The thought of remaining in one doesn't strike me as particularly desirable. Moreover, there's absolutely no way that I'm giving any thought to doing law review. I think the hardest part about my current situation is just not seeing any sort of light at the end of the tunnel besides riding out loan forgiveness or doing biglaw. Either way though, that entails 2 more years of law school.

I do appreciate the sympathy and the kind PMs that have been sent. As I said, the whole thing is sort of a humiliating experience, as I know that a ton of folks would kill to be in my position here, etc. Nevertheless, it is what it is, and the thought of two more years in law school piling on debt in Connecticut is frankly soul crushing. 2010 has literally been the worst year of my life, as I feel like I've abandoned everything I've valued in order to take on this burden of debt which ties me to law. I'm 45k in the hole, and by the time I'm done with law school it will almost certainly be more like 130k.

The lesson here: really think hard about whether law is right for you, even if it's an offer from Yale. When I was a 0L, it seemed like such a no-brainer, but even if I'm being over-dramatic, I am one dour, miserable human being at the moment.


Why don't you just drop out? Paying off $45K is not the end of the world if you cut your losses now. Personally, I think you are being a huge baby, but whatever, this is your life. Don't do something you hate and which makes you miserable. You're not going to be happier 2-3 years from now when your debt is huge and you are going to a law firm every day. I like law school and I know being a lawyer won't be as fun as this. If I hated law school, I'd get out now. If you think law school is soul-crushing, the future is bleak for you. I wonder how many non-legal things one can do with a Yale JD. I really have no idea.


You're making a rookie mistake with this statement. You're assuming that law school and law practice are the same. They are not. Law practice, from what I've gathered, entails many different things on a daily basis. Law school is the same thing, over and over, for at least the first year.

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sayan
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Re: Poll: Do you regret going to law school

Postby sayan » Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:26 pm

It's no surprise a lot of lawyers hate their job. They come from such majors as history, art, literature and women's studies where the cold systematic logic of law and its banal nature is in contrast to the high-flying ideals these students had when pursuing economically useless studies. The law was their only alternative to working a low-paying job and naturally those who really had no interest in the field still went into it in hopes that money could compensate for their apathy. Alas, it did not and now they hate their lives.

Cest la vie.




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