I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

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Ioannis
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I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby Ioannis » Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:40 am

How can I be so sure that I will enjoy to be a lawyer? When you applied/entered law school, how sure were you to be a lawyer? You guys frustrate me to no end.
How is it possible for one to be so sure that they want to do something without actually experiencing it? I've read everything I can (your opinions, articles, First-hand experiences blogs and books) to figure if I would be fit to go to law school and be a lawyer. I plan to work at a law firm this summer to get a first hand look. My cousin is a (partner at a firm in nyc no less) lawyer and I have asked her many questions on the subject. Everything I hear, the few good points and the ever growing risks/faults of entering the law field, i've considered greatly. It still feels right for me to go though (With rational reasons of course, I've decided to only go if I'm able to enter a top school and/or (more preferably) a lower end top 30-50 school with significant scholarship money. Which is going to be completely riding on my LSAT due to me graduating with around a 3.4 (i messed up freshmen/sophmore year).

Everyone here on this forum makes me second guess my goal of law school. It seems to be universally understood that you must be 100% certain of you wanting to enter law. Once again, How can a prospective student be so sure without experiencing it? How can I be so sure that when I'm asked that question, I do not even think to hesitate to say "yes"?
I'm a person who is extremely considerate of others (educated and intelligent ) opinions in deciding issues in my life, so hesitation in matters unknown to me is part of my character..... so I can never be so sure. But I've reasoned I fit the bill, due to my extreme interest in politics and how the law influences society. That is not the only reason, but few other interests that are very much connected with law. I'm not a math or science person but i've learned in college that I'm a very good at grasping concepts and theories extremely quickly and understanding them thoroughly. I can "Read between the lines" I'm a person quick to make connections between things and have been able to make my own ideas about them. I'm very good at understanding "both sides to the coin" in issues. I don't know what else to say about myself right now, but I feel like i possess many attributes that will fit me as a lawyer.

but, yes, for the third time, what will make me sure of going to law school?
sorry for the rant, I wrote this during my study session and it's a pretty hasty/scattered post...


I'm just so frustrated and would appreciate a lot of input and more specifically, personal stories on how they decided to go to law school/become a lawyer.
What were your thoughts on it before you entered it?
What were you right/wrong about?
Do you enjoy it as much as you thought? (Applies to law school and/or being a lawyer)
What do you like/don't like?
Last edited by Ioannis on Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:13 am, edited 2 times in total.

handsonthewheel
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Re: I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby handsonthewheel » Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:48 am

Get a job and take a couple years. Seriously.

Ioannis
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Re: I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby Ioannis » Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:51 am

handsonthewheel wrote:Get a job and take a couple years. Seriously.

i really dislike these type of bitter posts

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bk1
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Re: I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby bk1 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:57 am

I agree that the pervasive responses seem to indicate that people need to be 100% sure they want to practice law, but I don't think that's generally true or even always the case. I mean you have a good idea what being a lawyer is like and you probably have more of an idea what it's like than most people who enter law school. You're right, most people aren't going to have any clue whether they truly want to be a lawyer without experiencing it first hand. There's nothing wrong with having some hesitation. I'd think you were crazy if you you didn't. It's more of a calculated risk that you think you'd be okay with the life of a lawyer.

I think the reason people respond that way on TLS is that a lot of people just kind of fall into law school (it's easy, all you need is a bachelor's degree and to have sat for the LSAT) so there a bunch of people who: (a) just kind of decided to go to law school without knowing what being a lawyer is like at all, and (b) made that choice without truly knowing how bad the legal market is. You're in a better place than the majority of law school matriculants so as long as you have your eyes open to what it's like and how bad the market really is.

There are some issues with what you've said though. The reality is that the lives of the vast majority of lawyers don't intersect with politics in ways that you might be thinking. Furthermore the law is pretty stagnant so there really aren't a lot of options for people to influence society in that way. If you want to work in politics then go join a campaign and hustle your way up through the ranks because law school is not going to get you there.

handsonthewheel wrote:Get a job and take a couple years. Seriously.


I don't think this kind of comment is actually out of hand. A lot of people think that being a lawyer is their one true goal when they haven't even tried any other job at all. Furthermore they rarely have ever actually had to live off of a job. It gives perspective that a lot of K-JD's often lack. The truth is that law school will always be there. You can always go later. But once you've gone it is hard to turn back. You've sunk 3 years and often tons of money into it. It's difficult to just take another job after that, especially when other jobs will often look at you as an overqualified flight risk.

Ioannis
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Re: I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby Ioannis » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:09 am

bk1 wrote:I agree that the pervasive responses seem to indicate that people need to be 100% sure they want to practice law, but I don't think that's generally true or even always the case. I mean you have a good idea what being a lawyer is like and you probably have more of an idea what it's like than most people who enter law school. You're right, most people aren't going to have any clue whether they truly want to be a lawyer without experiencing it first hand. There's nothing wrong with having some hesitation. I'd think you were crazy if you you didn't. It's more of a calculated risk that you think you'd be okay with the life of a lawyer.

I think the reason people respond that way on TLS is that a lot of people just kind of fall into law school (it's easy, all you need is a bachelor's degree and to have sat for the LSAT) so there a bunch of people who: (a) just kind of decided to go to law school without knowing what being a lawyer is like at all, and (b) made that choice without truly knowing how bad the legal market is. You're in a better place than the majority of law school matriculants so as long as you have your eyes open to what it's like and how bad the market really is.

There are some issues with what you've said though. The reality is that the lives of the vast majority of lawyers don't intersect with politics in ways that you might be thinking. Furthermore the law is pretty stagnant so there really aren't a lot of options for people to influence society in that way. If you want to work in politics then go join a campaign and hustle your way up through the ranks because law school is not going to get you there.

handsonthewheel wrote:Get a job and take a couple years. Seriously.


I don't think this kind of comment is actually out of hand. A lot of people think that being a lawyer is their one true goal when they haven't even tried any other job at all. Furthermore they rarely have ever actually had to live off of a job. It gives perspective that a lot of K-JD's often lack. The truth is that law school will always be there. You can always go later. But once you've gone it is hard to turn back. You've sunk 3 years and often tons of money into it. It's difficult to just take another job after that, especially when other jobs will often look at you as an overqualified flight risk.


Thanks for the input and elaboration on that other posters comment. I'm going to work hard on the LSAT, not to get into a top school, but to get to the best school that will also offer me a full-ride to lower my risks of going to the law school. i don't come from a very privileged background, I'm not going to have much of a safety net. Sadly, from what I've read, being from this background is a even stronger supporter of not going to law school. It depresses me greatly. After researching of what's it like to be a lawyer, it's the only thing i can see myself doing. I actually do fancy the idea of spending a lot of time on work. I'm the type of person who enjoys of spilling their energy day and night for something (I must enjoy that thing though). I've tried the hard sciences and math-related fields, It really isn't for me. I don't enjoy it. I like writing but after attempting to freelance for a few online magazines, I do not see myself writing for media and/or magazines.

I just constantly see myself looking on the law path. But all these "don't go" signs have me confused and depressed.

I'm just so frustrated and would appreciate a lot of input and more specifically, personal stories on how they decided to go to law school/become a lawyer.
What were your thoughts on it before you entered it?
What were you right/wrong about?
Do you enjoy it as much as you thought? (Applies to law school and/or being a lawyer)
What do you like/don't like?

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:39 am

Ioannis wrote:
bk1 wrote:I agree that the pervasive responses seem to indicate that people need to be 100% sure they want to practice law, but I don't think that's generally true or even always the case. I mean you have a good idea what being a lawyer is like and you probably have more of an idea what it's like than most people who enter law school. You're right, most people aren't going to have any clue whether they truly want to be a lawyer without experiencing it first hand. There's nothing wrong with having some hesitation. I'd think you were crazy if you you didn't. It's more of a calculated risk that you think you'd be okay with the life of a lawyer.

I think the reason people respond that way on TLS is that a lot of people just kind of fall into law school (it's easy, all you need is a bachelor's degree and to have sat for the LSAT) so there a bunch of people who: (a) just kind of decided to go to law school without knowing what being a lawyer is like at all, and (b) made that choice without truly knowing how bad the legal market is. You're in a better place than the majority of law school matriculants so as long as you have your eyes open to what it's like and how bad the market really is.

There are some issues with what you've said though. The reality is that the lives of the vast majority of lawyers don't intersect with politics in ways that you might be thinking. Furthermore the law is pretty stagnant so there really aren't a lot of options for people to influence society in that way. If you want to work in politics then go join a campaign and hustle your way up through the ranks because law school is not going to get you there.

handsonthewheel wrote:Get a job and take a couple years. Seriously.


I don't think this kind of comment is actually out of hand. A lot of people think that being a lawyer is their one true goal when they haven't even tried any other job at all. Furthermore they rarely have ever actually had to live off of a job. It gives perspective that a lot of K-JD's often lack. The truth is that law school will always be there. You can always go later. But once you've gone it is hard to turn back. You've sunk 3 years and often tons of money into it. It's difficult to just take another job after that, especially when other jobs will often look at you as an overqualified flight risk.


Thanks for the input and elaboration on that other posters comment. I'm going to work hard on the LSAT, not to get into a top school, but to get to the best school that will also offer me a full-ride to lower my risks of going to the law school. i don't come from a very privileged background, I'm not going to have much of a safety net. Sadly, from what I've read, being from this background is a even stronger supporter of not going to law school. It depresses me greatly. After researching of what's it like to be a lawyer, it's the only thing i can see myself doing. I actually do fancy the idea of spending a lot of time on work. I'm the type of person who enjoys of spilling their energy day and night for something (I must enjoy that thing though). I've tried the hard sciences and math-related fields, It really isn't for me. I don't enjoy it. I like writing but after attempting to freelance for a few online magazines, I do not see myself writing for media and/or magazines.

I just constantly see myself looking on the law path. But all these "don't go" signs have me confused and depressed.

I'm just so frustrated and would appreciate a lot of input and more specifically, personal stories on how they decided to go to law school/become a lawyer.
What were your thoughts on it before you entered it?
What were you right/wrong about?
Do you enjoy it as much as you thought? (Applies to law school and/or being a lawyer)
What do you like/don't like?


People on this site tell people make sure they want to be a lawyer because attending law school is a huge risk for most people choosing to go to law school.

Example: Paying sticker at a T30 w/o a clear idea of what you want to do after law school can be a recipe for disaster. If that person decides what he really wants to do is public interest, then he probably should have attended a law school in the area he wanted to work with a significant scholarship. If his goal is biglaw, maybe he should retake and try to get into a higher ranked school where his chances at biglaw are much better.

Actually the advice to retake so you can attend a better school or get a better scholarship is usually the best advice is most of these threads. But so many people bristle at the idea of sitting out one more year, and so advice is then based on "what do you want to go to law school?" so posters can try to help in some way.

My personal story (small details changed to lessen the chance of outing myself):
Wasn't sure if I wanted to be a lawyer. Took the LSAT and applied. Got into a few T30 schools (some with scholarships). Decided to retake in June and raised my score by 8 points. Decided to not attend any law school I got into, reapply, and make sure I wanted to be a lawyer. Decided that I thought I would be happy at a big firm in Texas, got into multiple T14 schools and ended up choosing UT instead with a significant scholarship.

If I had ended up going to law school that first time around it probably would've been a mistake. I was a lot less sure I wanted to be a lawyer (hadn't really talked to many practicing lawyers until I took my year off) and I probably would have had a hard time getting a biglaw job back in Texas since the school I was thinking of originally attending was halfway across the country. Instead, I took a much smaller risk by waiting a year, paying less for UT than I would've for the other school, and I will be working for a big law firm in Texas for my 2L summer.

I enjoy law school (which I thought I would). I think I'll enjoy working at a law firm, but who knows. If I end up hating it, I'll have graduated with little to no debt and can stick it out for a few years while looking for other (hopefully legal) options.

ETA: Attending a T14 with a decent scholarship is probably not a bad option for most people, even if you have no clue what you want to do.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:03 am

Ioannis wrote:Everyone here on this forum makes me second guess my goal of law school.

That's the point. You shouldn't make a huge time and financial commitment without second, third and fourth guessing it.

That said, as far as this goes...
Ioannis wrote:I'm a person who is extremely considerate of others (educated and intelligent ) opinions in deciding issues in my life

With all due respect, at some point you need to just ignore what other people are saying and make the best decision you can for yourself. People on TLS are certainly better informed about law school than the vast majority of people (and will give you better advice on the matter than, say, your parents), but at the end of the day they are just parroting generic, fairly gloomy advice. You're right that you'll never be 100% sure.

You seem not to be the typical person who needs to be told to take a step back and reconsider. You're doing that. You know not to borrow a ton of money to go to a bad law school. So you've gotten the message. Relax.

Jhuen_the_bird
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Re: I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby Jhuen_the_bird » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:25 pm

I think what people are really trying to tell you is that you need to, at least, really be trying to BE A LAWYER by going to law school. Before law school, I believed that "you can do anything with a JD!" ... this is absolutely false. It is extremely difficult to do anything that doesn't specifically requrie a JD (i.e. being a lawyer) after you graduate and become a licensed attorney. I repeat: YOU CANNOT DO 'ANYTHING' WITH A LAW DEGREE!

Also, in this economy (in addition to the attorney market being overcrowded for longer than the economy has been bad), you have to realize that you can no longer be picky about the "type of law" you want to practice or what you "want" to do. You find whatever damn job(s) you can. I mean, new attorneys are scrambling for document review jobs which are not at all glamorous. It's also near-impossible to successfully practice as a solo on your own immediately after law school - you just don't know enough, and it is ridiculously stressful.

handsonthewheel
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Re: I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby handsonthewheel » Tue Mar 06, 2012 4:54 pm

Ioannis wrote:
handsonthewheel wrote:Get a job and take a couple years. Seriously.

i really dislike these type of bitter posts


This isn't bitter at all.

I got a job and took a few years off between undergrad and law school and I couldn't be happier that I did. I was more focused, I was more mature and professional (when I needed to be), and I had an idea of what worked for me globally.

Time in the working world is the best way to figure some things out. If you have to ask an internet message board about whether you should go to law school or not, you clearly need to take some time before making such a decision. This isn't to impugn your ability or intelligence, it's suggesting a course of action you are apparently unwilling to hear and I'm doing so from a position of at least my own experience.

Do what you want, otherwise be willing to listen when you ask a question.

Ioannis
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Re: I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby Ioannis » Tue Mar 06, 2012 5:15 pm

handsonthewheel wrote:
Ioannis wrote:
handsonthewheel wrote:Get a job and take a couple years. Seriously.

i really dislike these type of bitter posts


This isn't bitter at all.

I got a job and took a few years off between undergrad and law school and I couldn't be happier that I did. I was more focused, I was more mature and professional (when I needed to be), and I had an idea of what worked for me globally.

Time in the working world is the best way to figure some things out. If you have to ask an internet message board about whether you should go to law school or not, you clearly need to take some time before making such a decision. This isn't to impugn your ability or intelligence, it's suggesting a course of action you are apparently unwilling to hear and I'm doing so from a position of at least my own experience.

Do what you want, otherwise be willing to listen when you ask a question.

I appreciate the much more full response this time but you can't dismiss me as someone who isn't willing to listen when you expect me to take a 2 second, unsupported comment seriously.

ajr
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Re: I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby ajr » Tue Mar 06, 2012 5:25 pm

If it makes you feel any better: almost every top lawyer/ law professor I have met (at work and at my law school) has said - I don't know what I was thinking, I just went to law school because it seemed like an obvious thing to do. Granted they were Stanford undergrads and went to Y/H/C, but don't be discouraged because you are not 100% sure.
That's just a personality thing. I went to grad school and have been working almost 10 years. I'm still not sure. Some people have always been dead sure of everything.

shbe0701
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Re: I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby shbe0701 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:29 pm

tag

Ioannis
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Re: I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby Ioannis » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:36 pm

shbe0701 wrote:tag

long time lurker and recent poster, what does this mean?

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bk1
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Re: I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby bk1 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:41 pm

Ioannis wrote:
shbe0701 wrote:tag

long time lurker and recent poster, what does this mean?


People tag posts so that they show up in the "view your posts" tab which shows threads you've posted in. This allows them to find the post later.

But it's pretty pointless since TLS has an option to bookmark threads (though the reason most people tag instead of using the bookmark feature is because they don't know the bookmark function exists).

shbe0701
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Re: I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby shbe0701 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:42 pm

Just did that so that this thread comes up through the "view your posts" link. The topic interests me so I'd like to follow it.

GS15
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Re: I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby GS15 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:24 am

If you don't know why you want to go, than don't go. Otherwise you are wasting your time....

nouseforaname123
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Re: I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby nouseforaname123 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:05 am

I fit the bill, due to my extreme interest in politics and how the law influences society. That is not the only reason, but few other interests that are very much connected with law. I'm not a math or science person but i've learned in college that I'm a very good at grasping concepts and theories extremely quickly and understanding them thoroughly. I can "Read between the lines" I'm a person quick to make connections between things and have been able to make my own ideas about them. I'm very good at understanding "both sides to the coin" in issues. I don't know what else to say about myself right now, but I feel like i possess many attributes that will fit me as a lawyer.


Very little of your law school experience will deal with politics or how the law influences society. Odds are your legal career will not touch on those topics either. The rest of your paragraph does not compute. You claim you're good at grasping theories and concepts and can read between the lines but you also are struggling to understand the TLS message? Perhaps you are overestimating your analytical skills?

People are basically trying to tell you that LS and the practice of the law will be nothing like what you envision as a 0L. You better be damn sure you want to be a lawyer because you probably have no idea what you are getting yourself into. Hint: your "extreme interest in politics and how the law influences society" gives you away as a wide-eyed 0L. You might as well tell us that you used to be a pre-med major and your burning desire to practice international law has nothing to do with that C in O-Chem. I know this may sound harsh to you; eventually, you'll understand.


Ioannis wrote:After researching of what's it like to be a lawyer, it's the only thing i can see myself doing. I actually do fancy the idea of spending a lot of time on work. I'm the type of person who enjoys of spilling their energy day and night for something (I must enjoy that thing though).


What kind of law are you wanting to practice?


What were your thoughts on it before you entered it?


I knew the risks. I was interested in law school b/c I'm a grinder. After 5+ years of WE in corporate America I knew I wanted to work on more complicated matters. Financial rewards were also a factor (though not as big as you might think). In retrospect, it was a bad risk to take. Thus far things have worked out well for me, but in retrospect, I cannot deny LS was a bad risk.

Do you enjoy it as much as you thought? (Applies to law school and/or being a lawyer)


Yes and no. Like almost everything else in life, LS will pleasantly surprise you in some ways and leave you disappointed in other ways.

What do you like/don't like?


IMHO, LS, by its very nature, conditions students to become more cynical. With the exception of students at the very best schools, you'll look back and realize what a bad risk LS is because LS will teach you how to spot issues.

LS truly is a winner take all game. Some combination of school prestige, class rank, personality, and a few other factors will open the doors to the (generally) most desired legal jobs. Either you have the right combination or you don't. Period.

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PDaddy
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Re: I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby PDaddy » Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:03 am

You need to see what lawyers do on a daily basis. Although some are extremely pleased and living the good life, many, if not most, are miserable because the profession is not what they expected it to be. Many entered for the wrong reasons. Most attorneys are NOT rich; in fact, many are earning the same money they could have earned without going through the trouble of getting a JD (this excludes high-paid entertainment lawyers and a few other specialists).

You need to see the underbelly of the profession and decide whether or not you can handle it: like how many judges and lawyers are liars with poor judgment and poor reasoning skills; how judges stick together, even when one of them has clearly abused his discretion; how courts do not like to reverse/overturn decisions and thus are hard to convince to do so; how most appeals fail, despite many being meritorious; how transactional attorneys often spend time cloistered away in their offices and see little daylight early in their careers (sometimes throughout); how the profession is viewed negatively by the public because the system is not about "justice" and thus fails to work for the public; how the side with the best evidence often loses cases because judges/juries care more about who tells the "best story" instead of the evidence; how most judges prefer to try certain types of cases (usually criminal) and dismiss civil cases with corporate defendants on summary judgment, despite the existence of triable issues of material fact in most cases; how most attorneys are alcoholics and/or drug users (Marijuana and Cocaine are prevalent); how political the system is; how judges are often bribed or (worse) have their lives threatened on a regular basis; how you will spend thousands of hours in the library doing someone else's grunt-work trying to prove that you are worthy of being in a corrupt profession that leaves you wondering why you ever joined it - when you could have been a doctor, an investment banker or an entreprenuer; how everyone assumes you're rich and you feel the pressure to put up a facade because you're an attorney, and how that leaves you broke; how attorneys have a high divorce rate; how everyone is always asking for free advice or services, and will thus view you as a heartless spawn...the half-life of the devil if you charge your rate.

Get it right; this profession is not for the faint-of-heart. You had better be tough as nails if you enter it, and you had better enter it out of love for the law. There will be plenty of nights that you hate it. As one who has worked closely with attorneys, I speak from experience.

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vamedic03
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Re: I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby vamedic03 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:54 am

^I don't think that a 0Ls ranting about how bad legal practice is really adds anything. By the way, the high paid lawyers aren't "entertainment lawyers", they're rainmakers who bring in big corporate clients. And, the reason that courts are loathe to reverse themselves, is the concept of stare decisis. And the reason that court of appeals don't reverse trial courts on questions of fact is because trial court judges are in the best position for evaluating evidence.

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DCDuck
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Re: I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby DCDuck » Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:43 am

Instead of telling you why I went to law school, I'll list some reasons that I have heard here or from classmates, that I feel are not the best reasons to go to law school. People who went for these reasons generally (not universally) really regret the decision.
1. My parents want me to go. Unless they will also foot the bill, and even then that likely is not a sufficient reason alone to go.
2. I have nothing else to do. In this situation, they will find something to do for 3 years, but probably go way in debt and end up with nothing to do again once they graduate. And come on, there are lots of options just as realistic as law school, many with less time commitment and cost.
3. I was a Poli sci/english/women's studies major and I am sick of working at Starbucks. There is a good chance that you will go to law school, be unable to find a legal job, and now you are overqualified to go back to your job at Starbucks.
4. "It's a one-way train to dollars, models and bottles." This is no longer true, if it ever was. Most law grads will make less than $60k out of law school, many closer to $35,000. Plus the debt. But yeah, for some, it's basically like winning the lottery. Except you won't have time for the models.
5. "I want to help people." Become a social worker. Seriously. Ok, for some people this is a good reason, but you need to enunciate more specifically HOW you want to help people with a law degree. ANd recognize that most lawyers who help people are not taking home a huge salary.
6. Legally Blond, Law and Order, Ally McBeal, Boston Legal, etc.. Fine shows. Now an accurate depiction of the legal profession. Was your high school experience like Glee?
7. "I hate reading and/or writing, but. . ." Law school will not be fun for you. Most legal jobs, especially early in your career, involve a lot of reading and writing, too (but not all of them.)

The people for whom law school is generally a good idea are people who have thought about it for a long time. People who can articulate a reason for going, and have done some research to see if that reason can actually be helped by law school. People who like reading and writing and problem solving.

I also find that the people who enjoy law school more and have better luck with the job hunt are generally people who took at least 2 years off of school between undergrad and law school. This topic has been addressed a lot on these boards, but quickly, it will help you appreciate being back in school, help give you a better idea of what you want to do, your strengths and weaknesses, etc., and future employers like people with work experience, particularly full-time work experience. It will also help you evaluate exactly how much money $100,000 in debt really is.

Basically, people need to educate themselves about the law school experience, the legal profession, and the current state of the legal market. Then they need to honestly weigh everything. The financial and opportunity costs, all of your other possible options (nursing? Electrician? Engineer? Teacher? Business? Find a rich spouse?), would you still be glad you went to law school if you end up graduating with no realistic job prospects, because you were so devoted to going to law school that just the mere opportunity to pursue that dream was enough? Ok, well maybe that's a stretch.

The point is, there are as many good reasons to go to law school as there are bad reasons. No one can be 100% sure that it is the right decision. And it is a really personal decision. The most important thing is that you go into the decision honestly with your eyes open, knowing what you are getting yourself in to and that it is a risk.

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traehekat
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Re: I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby traehekat » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:21 pm

I love it, but that doesn't make it any more rational to shell out a ton of money for will likely be a useless degree for most people.

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spleenworship
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Re: I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby spleenworship » Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:58 pm

I have 2 answers to your questions:

1. I followed a lawyer to make sure I liked it.

2. I found lawyers have certain personality traits that make them compatible with their jobs, and that I had too: meticulous , obsessive, enjoy games, puns, reading, writing, mildly risk averse, competitive, works well with (and enjoys the company of) others, having balanced views and generally see both sides. You will notice these traits aren't exclusive to the law, but I am guessing people with these traits are generally happy with their job.

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Samara
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Re: I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby Samara » Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:25 pm

Ioannis wrote:But I've reasoned I fit the bill, due to my extreme interest in politics and how the law influences society. That is not the only reason, but few other interests that are very much connected with law. I'm not a math or science person but i've learned in college that I'm a very good at grasping concepts and theories extremely quickly and understanding them thoroughly. I can "Read between the lines" I'm a person quick to make connections between things and have been able to make my own ideas about them. I'm very good at understanding "both sides to the coin" in issues. I don't know what else to say about myself right now, but I feel like i possess many attributes that will fit me as a lawyer.


Ioannis wrote:I'm the type of person who enjoys of spilling their energy day and night for something (I must enjoy that thing though). I've tried the hard sciences and math-related fields, It really isn't for me. I don't enjoy it. I like writing but after attempting to freelance for a few online magazines, I do not see myself writing for media and/or magazines.


**I'm an 0L, so take my opinion with a grain of salt, especially compared to vets like bk1 and Richie Tennenbaum.**

The above quotes sound a lot like me when I graduated from college almost four years ago. I liked politics a lot, majoring in political science, but didn't know what I wanted to do. I thought about law school, largely because I didn't really know what else to do. I also had no idea what lawyers really did. Anyway, as you can guess, I decided not to go to law school and got a job.

That was possibly the best decision I've ever made.

Over the past four years, I've gained a lot of work experience that will help me as I enter the legal field. More importantly, it helped me figure out what I really want to do. Turns out, I ended up back at law school. But I now know, thanks in large part to TLS, what I can expect from law school, what it's really like to be a lawyer, and how I can use law school to accomplish some very personal goals I have. In those four years, I also found my true academic passion, which has helped tremendously in giving me the drive to succeed academically.

If I had gone to law school four years ago, I would almost certainly have paid way too much for a school with way too weak job prospects, slacked off tremendously to poor grades, and probably ended up miserable in an unfulfilling job, regretting my decisions. Instead, I will be attending Northwestern Law this fall (something I never thought was possible until last summer) and have the tools and environment needed for true success. I may still not get where I want to go (T14s are not a golden ticket), but I now know that I am pursuing what I truly want to pursue and that I am maximizing my ability to pursue that.

I strongly urge you (and every other college graduate) to work for a couple years before going to law school. Law school will always be there for you when you're ready. If you go now, you may not find out what you truly want until it's too late.

Sandrew
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Re: I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby Sandrew » Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:55 pm

Here was my decision-making framework:

Why Law School?
Consider these statements:

Statement A: I want to be A Lawyer. I am interested in the practice of law. I know that there are different means of lawyering, and while I'm not yet decided on which of these practice areas I want to pursue, I am open to several of them as a future career.

Statement B: I want to do A Particular Career, for which a JD is a useful or necessary credential. That Career may or may not entail practicing law. I know about, and I am not interested in, other careers for which a JD is the usual prerequisite.


It is probably more useful to think of this dichotomy as ends of a spectrum, rather than distinct groups. For example, consider this statement, falling somewhere in-between: I most want to do Career X, and I am open to Careers Y and Z, but I have ruled out Careers L, M, N and O. Obviously, if you fall nowhere on the spectrum, that's a good tip to consider a different form of education, if any at all.

Confidence in My Why Statement?
Irrespective of where you fall on this spectrum, consider another dimension: How confident am I in that statement? No one can help you answer this. But you will get better with experience.

Confidence in Outcome?
Next, make an honest estimate of the likelihood of your success. It sounds like you've already made good use of the data available to you. Of course, the more flexible your goals (i.e. the closer you are to Statement A), the more likely your success will be, all else equal.

Costs?
Last, take account of the costs of a JD, including opportunity costs.

My Application of this Framework
Prior to deciding to go to law school, I had worked in a non-legal career for several years. Late in that career, I came to the somewhat sudden conclusion that I wanted to pursue a different career, and I researched what it would take to make a transition. I was pretty close to the Statement B end of the spectrum, and my confidence in that statement was pretty high. I identified and considered three transition paths--i.e. direct (no further education), JD, and PhD--and assessed the tradeoffs of each. I then took the LSAT. Twice. After I scored well on the LSAT (on my second try) and received a scholarship at a school that fit well with my goals, I chose the JD path. I quit my job, followed my wife to a new city, and started law school.

Since I'm more of a Statement B person, my likelihood of success was (and is) lower. On the other hand, since I had the advantage of experience in another field, I was more confident that my goal was the right one for me. I took honest stock of my chances of success and the significant opportunity costs of changing careers. A JD seemed to offer the best risk-reward tradeoff for me. Was I certain that I would succeed? No. Was I certain I was making the best decision? No. But I was confident enough to take a leap. I'm happy I did.

Reassessment
As a 1L, my feelings as to why I am in law school and how confident I am in that reasoning are so far unchanged. It's still to early to tell whether I'm destined to succeed in changing careers, but I'd venture the probability has increased from a year ago.

I am happy to be here. I enjoy law school itself, exams notwithstanding, at least as much I anticipated I would. It certainly factored into my decision to leave my earlier career that I'd be returning full-time studenthood. I did grad school before, but that was directly after undergrad. This time, almost a decade later, I feel much better equipped to succeed academically and, more importantly, to appreciate being a student.

Tarheel1234
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Re: I don't understand. "Why do you want to go to law school?"

Postby Tarheel1234 » Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:45 pm

I figured I couldn't get in Med school, so I chose law school instead.

And getting a job after undergrad ain't easy, especially with a useless liberal arts major.




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