CyanIdes Of March wrote:So I've read a lot of doom and gloom (people who regret law school, regret big law, etc). Does anyone know people that loved law school, loved their careers afterwards, and weren't just socially weird people who enjoy what should be misery?
The only guy I know who's currently several years into biglaw is a person who enjoyed law school on the whole, had a good clerkship, and has had ups and downs with his job but generally is happy with it for the time being and will remain for a few more years at least. It's not exactly that he loves it, but he's not miserable; he's generally pretty pleased with how it's all working out. He went to a t14 (but not t6) law school and, as far as I know, did fine but not top of his class or anything.
Given the options available to me now, I'm pretty sure that I'll be happy with what comes, too.
It's really hard to take much from how other people feel about law school since perspectives vary by a ton. If you are the type that needs a job that defines your life and gives your life meaning (and a good number of people in law school think like this) then you are going to hate big law and, truthfully, 90%+ of all career paths. For people like that, its hard to really blame it on law school.
There is another contingent of people who came to law school for a sort of "challenge the system" type of academic experience and they are generally unhappy with the lack of innovative thinking and the fact that so many people stick to the traditional path of clerkships or law firms. Again, its hard to really blame law school here.
A third portion (which I expect is very large) are the type of people who really find once they start working that they are unable to handle the stress of big law or simply unwilling, or too unhappy, to deal with 60+ hour weeks. Unfortunately, most of us didn't really have a crazy demanding career before hand (no, TFA doesn't count) and really don't know what it will be like before we start. I suspect that this a big source of the doom and gloom surrounding life as a lawyer. Further, a shocking number of people just really don't understand personal finance and taxes and just really don't realize how far $160k pre-tax in nyc/sf/dc actually goes in reality.
Finally, you have the people who see life at a law firm as just a job/career rather than something that actually defines their life. These people are mostly happy just having a job where people are fairly nice and respectful, they are decently paid, and the work is somewhat interesting. This is the contingent that is fairly happy in big law. In my experience these tend to be the people who have seriously worked before law school.
Personally, I don't really hate or love law school in particular. The actual academic experience is pretty meh but I do enjoy living student life and being out of the real world for a while. Other than 1L year, its really just extended and extremely boring undergrad.