Do You Regret Going to Law School?

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
NYstate
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby NYstate » Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:23 pm

sinfiery wrote:
Kronk wrote:Except for maybe the first few weeks, the experience of law school is draining, miserable, dry, overbearing, and oversaturated with the same shit over and over again. Every class is taught the same, dumbass way, counterintuitive (and counter to enjoyment and proper learning). Then when you get out in the field you realize that the job isn't as exciting as you think it's going to be (there are some exceptions, PD jobs are legitimately enjoyable for the most part), and you realize you just went through miserable school so you could have a miserable job, when you could've just had the miserable job to begin with, minus the debt and the three years.

And yes, I realize there is banal, boring crap in every job.

According to cinephile, sounds like you don't do shit in lawschool and get handed a job where you don't really do shit either.


I think it is possible that cinephile can do as well as she does with limited study because she is exceptional. I don't think everyone can do as well as she has with her approach.

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cinephile
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby cinephile » Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:25 pm

bizzybone1313 wrote:
Kronk wrote:
ManoftheHour wrote:
bizzybone1313 wrote:It is gonna be real depressing when she tells you where she attends. Your tiers are a little off.


I think that speaks volumes...


Do I read this right that you guys are dismissing the post because he / she doesn't go to the caliber of school you might?


You are reading it wrong. She attends one of the most elite schools in the country and in the world, which is obviously ranked higher than the tiers ManoftheHour listed.



No, I don't. You might confusing me with someone else, or with something I posted in a different thread about friend (not a "friend," but really a friend) who got into Harvard with a 3.5.

I go to T25 with a decent scholarship, 2L.
But from what I understand from friends at other (and better) law schools, it's kind of always like this. You can slack your way through and come out without learning anything, but still with reasonably good grades. But in many ways, life is like that too. I once held a job where I barely did anything other than smile prettily at my boss, and I was able to collect a paycheck for that. That depressed me too. I suppose I just expected more. What, I'm not sure.

and @sinfiery, you're probably right about finding fulfillment in another way. I just need to devote some time to figuring out how.

And while not everyone can do this, I've found that because of the nature of the curve and the distribution of people with different abilities in law school, sometimes you can do this. I guess I just expected something different.

buster
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby buster » Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:41 pm

i do not regret it, because i found a job i really like, feel like i learned things that i was interested in and met some cool people along the way. but that's just me - i'm one person and everyone has a different experience. as others have said, i think it's a huge gamble and taking on tons of debt for extremely uncertain job prospects isn't something to take lightly. so much of it is luck and not in your control.

i think you just have to know yourself and educate yourself about job prospects from your school and what it means day-to-day to be a lawyer in the area of your choice and make an informed decision. law school is not for everyone, but it is right for some people.

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bk1
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby bk1 » Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:46 pm

Not learning something doesn't really bother me. If I wanted to actually learn something I'd look it up on the internet or read it in a book. I'm not going to school to learn, I'm going to get a line on my resume.

Working as a lawyer might make me feel like shit, but law school doesn't really bother me.

LaBarrister
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby LaBarrister » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:16 pm

cinephile wrote:I go to T25 with a decent scholarship, 2L.
But from what I understand from friends at other (and better) law schools, it's kind of always like this. You can slack your way through and come out without learning anything, but still with reasonably good grades. But in many ways, life is like that too. I once held a job where I barely did anything other than smile prettily at my boss, and I was able to collect a paycheck for that. That depressed me too. I suppose I just expected more. What, I'm not sure.

and @sinfiery, you're probably right about finding fulfillment in another way. I just need to devote some time to figuring out how.

And while not everyone can do this, I've found that because of the nature of the curve and the distribution of people with different abilities in law school, sometimes you can do this. I guess I just expected something different.


I hear you, cinephile. I'm expecting fulfillment with my career. If I don't find it, I will be lost.

I am really sorry that you didn't find what you were looking for in law school. I can relate to you wanting something real, though. I've been that way all of my life. The grades never mattered to me unless I got something bigger from them. Not everyone is like that. In fact, people like us are probably the minority.

I actually remember my first semester in college, getting all A's. I looked at my report card and thought about how pointless all those marks were. I got absolutely nothing from them, and almost wished I didn't have them, because they defined me in a way that I didn't give a damn about.

I don't know how you define yourself, but I've always been a dreamer.

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los blancos
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby los blancos » Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:44 pm

Meh, I don't know if I agree with all that's being said - in my experience, how much you get out of your education is directly correlated to how much effort you put into it. You're not going to gain the same understanding of the contours of a subject by facebooking during class and just studying 4 days for the final. (That said, I tend to think law school as we know it really doesn't need to be any longer than 3 semesters maximum. It should be more like med school, with legal 'rotations' for the last half of it)

I say this as someone who, by and large, has done that for the last 7 years of his life. I've been skating by, trying to do the bare minimum. It's kind of sad, because I dropped a ridiculous amount of $$$ on my education and didn't broaden my intellectual horizons. My 2L SA was the first time I was actually motivated to do anything, and I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy work a lot more than I enjoyed school.

Law school sucks, but there are enjoyable jobs in this field. That said, they are far fewer in number than anyone would care to admit.


(For those of you who compared med school to law school... My fiance started med school when I started lawl school... We agree that med school is infinitely harder, but law school is a more soul-destroying experience)

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jtabustos
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby jtabustos » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:11 am

cinephile & others,

Do you feel the emptiness of law is related to what seems like an unrelenting drive for profit in the profession at the expense of all else (and to the point of harming workers' personal lives and fostering a culture of greed and bankrupt/empty values)?

I feel like as a kid that I saw law as a noble profession, where learned men and women could wield the law to protect the innocent and fight against evil in society. I'm not saying this doesn't happen today. But so much of law (at least at TLS) seems to revolve around biglaw and $$$.

But I think you also mentioned another point that was interesting, which was the lack of an intellectual challenge for you in law. Do you find that it's you personally who feels this way or do other students feel that way too.

I had a friend who actually graduated from law school at a T30 and was at the bottom of his class. He said the intellectual side of it was very challenging for him (he was a polisci major with high UG GPA).

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Kronk
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby Kronk » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:51 am

Eh, there is some intellectual challenge. The problem for me is that it's all just comprehending an idea, then regurgitating it. There's not analysis and not creativity in law school at all. I mistakenly thought there would be some creativity in crafting an argument and presenting it, but even in those more practical classes it's just regurgitation. The case is about employment discrimination? Look up past employment discrimination cases, understand them, if they support your side of the argument regurgitate them and apply them to our facts. Very little creativeness at all. Lawyers make interesting, novel arguments about 1% of the time.

I also agree with Cinephile, I can get by just studying for each class for 2-3 days straight during the finals period and would never have to go to class at all (although I always do all the readings and I generally go). I still get good grades here.

I think part of what made it bad for me was that drive for prestige / money / THINGS that seems to dominate, or the wave of "who is the most prestigious? I need to do one of those prestigious things so I don't embarrass myself around my classmates!" but if you can avoid that it's chill. My life in LS has been much better when I just accepted the fact I didn't want to do clerkships and biglaw and no longer have shame just being like "Sup, probably going to work for (PROLEISH PI JOINT THAT MAKES ME HAPPY) although I am trying to parlay this education into a career not even as a lawyer at all." The other thing was that I came to law school hoping that I could find fulfillment in my job as well as life. The things that really make me feel like I did something have always been mountain climbs, rock climbs, mountain biking, running races, etc. I was hoping I could get a job I felt good about as well. Hopefully someday this law degree still leads to that, but I guess I just realized that working for a cool PI organization that does awesome work that fulfills you is a lot more rare because 1) there are just not that many of those jobs 2) a lot of them aren't as cool as they seem from the outside. At least most government / PI jobs allow you the free time to

I will say, it seems that a TON of my friends here have the same sentiments that I do. Like--wow this isn't as interesting as I thought it would be, maybe I don't want to be a lawyer? Which is a scary thing to admit when you've committed this far and are a 3L, with debt and etc. But it's not limited to the non hard-workers or non-corporate people or anything. My friend that is about to work at David Boies' firm recently said "I"m just trying to get on the track that makes sure I'm not a lawyer in 5 years." It goes around.

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Dany
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby Dany » Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:04 pm

Yes.

Also portaprokoss is thread MVP.

cpajd
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby cpajd » Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:09 pm

No Regrets. For those making this decision, I think there are two keys: 1) possess a true desire to practice law, and 2) find a way to NOT borrow much money. Its really pretty simple. The ones that have regrets did not adequately address these two issues, by and large.

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06102016
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby 06102016 » Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:23 pm

..

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Kronk
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby Kronk » Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:26 pm

cpajd wrote:No Regrets. For those making this decision, I think there are two keys: 1) possess a true desire to practice law, and 2) find a way to NOT borrow much money. Its really pretty simple. The ones that have regrets did not adequately address these two issues, by and large.


Yeah breh, but the fact is that 95% of people don't really know if they want to practice law until they know what practicing law entails, and don't really know what practicing law entails until they have gone to law school. It's not really as simple as "do you have a true desire to practice law?" I think almost everyone believes they have a true desire to practice law prior to school.

Being a legal assistant (and sometimes even a paralegal) doesn't really let you know what it's going to be like or what the classes will be like, either. Neither does taking one law-ish class in UG, as it's more that every class is the exact same than that any one particular class is awful, IMO.

tomwatts
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby tomwatts » Sun Apr 14, 2013 2:47 pm

Kronk wrote:Eh, there is some intellectual challenge. The problem for me is that it's all just comprehending an idea, then regurgitating it. There's not analysis and not creativity in law school at all. I mistakenly thought there would be some creativity in crafting an argument and presenting it, but even in those more practical classes it's just regurgitation. The case is about employment discrimination? Look up past employment discrimination cases, understand them, if they support your side of the argument regurgitate them and apply them to our facts. Very little creativeness at all. Lawyers make interesting, novel arguments about 1% of the time.

This is an interesting point. The way you win a case in litigation is by convincing the judge that you're making a completely straightforward, simple, unsurprising argument and that the other side is presenting a complex, novel, strange idea. So all of the energy and creativity goes into trying to figure out how to make what might in fact be a novel point into an obvious and straightforward one (and vice-versa). This is an interesting task (to me), but it might not at all be what people expect when they come to law school.

On the topic, I don't regret going to law school at all. My experience is unusual, because:
1) I'm at HLS.
2) I'm also getting an MPP, so I don't have only law classes.
3) My total debt load is going to be much less than 200K (and much, much less than the 300K sticker price for the 4 years). And one way or another, it'll be fine.

But basically, I'm going to get what I want out of law school without being totally demolished financially or emotionally by it. So that's why I don't regret it.
Last edited by tomwatts on Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

LaBarrister
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby LaBarrister » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:25 pm

The Stages of Literary Tragedy

Anticipation Stage
This is the point in the classic tragedy when the hero feels unfulfilled, and looks to the future for gratification.

Dream Stage
This is the moment when the hero has decided what to do (usually something wrong) and seems to be "getting away with it."

Frustration Stage
Things start to go wrong, and the hero starts to freak out.

Nightmare Stage
Just as it sounds, this is the point in the tragedy when everything seems to be turning against the hero.

Destruction or Death Wish Stage
Self-explanatory
Last edited by LaBarrister on Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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howlery
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby howlery » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:29 pm

Maybe MTal's patented 'climb the retail ladder' approach isn't such a bad idea for those of us who can't do math. This thread has been great by the way, wish I could buy some of you a drink and a hug.

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presh
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby presh » Sun Apr 14, 2013 4:10 pm

Every time I see my student loan payment debited from my bank account. :lol:

In all seriousness, though, I don't regret it. I work as a government attorney. I enjoy the work, my hours are normal (a rarity in law), and I make a decent paycheck even if it isn't anything close to what a biglaw attorney makes. While I hate how much of my salary goes to student loans, I'm lucky that my debt is low enough and my salary is high enough that I can pay them back on the standard repayment plan.

I was a good candidate for law school though b/c I was in a dead end job before I applied, and my degree wasn't particularly useful so my opportunity costs were almost non-existent. Unlike a lot of the people here, I enjoyed law school for the most part.

I would do some things differently with the benefit of hindsight though. And if I could do it all over, I would have gone to a totally different college and gotten a degree in Arabic so I could work as a translator and/or in the state department. But in general, I'm happy with my life and how things turned out.

shock259
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby shock259 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:33 am

2L here: don't regret anything yet. Relatively low stress atmosphere for a few years. Lots of free time for drinking/socializing. I don't have any debt. Have SA lined up for the summer with a firm I like. Ask me again in a few years.

toothbrush
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby toothbrush » Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:44 am

There is such a dichotomy in answers here. People seem to either hate it or just tolerate it for lack of a better.. anything. Some few seem to enjoy it.

Pretty sad thread but thanks for the info.

keg411
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby keg411 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 11:50 am

I think when you're in the middle of the grind it can be super annoying. I wouldn't be surprised if I end up looking back on law school fondly as "fun." But I came here as a means to an end (get a job, which I did) and I'm personally not into the academic circle jerk part of it.

But I loved most of 1L (minus first semester finals and winter break pre-grades). 2L was what did me in. You'd be shocked how much OCI and everything that goes along with the job search can turn you on an experience.

sf_39
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby sf_39 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:13 pm

toothbrush wrote:There is such a dichotomy in answers here. People seem to either hate it or just tolerate it for lack of a better.. anything. Some few seem to enjoy it.

Pretty sad thread but thanks for the info.


I wonder if there's a sample bias based on the kind of people who would sign up for a forum to discuss their legal life (not saying that's universal obviously) and the people who would come to post in a thread "do you regret law school?"

LaBarrister
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby LaBarrister » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:54 pm

sf_39 wrote:
toothbrush wrote:There is such a dichotomy in answers here. People seem to either hate it or just tolerate it for lack of a better.. anything. Some few seem to enjoy it.

Pretty sad thread but thanks for the info.


I wonder if there's a sample bias based on the kind of people who would sign up for a forum to discuss their legal life (not saying that's universal obviously) and the people who would come to post in a thread "do you regret law school?"


Of course there is. That's common sense.

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Emma.
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby Emma. » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:10 pm

<-- 3L at good school. Great grades, minimal debt, lots of choices as far as jobs.

I've mostly enjoyed school and have made a lot of amazing friends, but I still regret going to law school.

Even the best options for practicing law pretty much all suck.

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sinfiery
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby sinfiery » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:02 pm

Emma. wrote:<-- 3L at good school. Great grades, minimal debt, lots of choices as far as jobs.

I've mostly enjoyed school and have made a lot of amazing friends, but I still regret going to law school.

Even the best options for practicing law pretty much all suck.


3Ls are more convincing about how terrible law school is when they complain about lack of jobs and soul crushing debt.

Hutz_and_Goodman
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:10 pm

Anyone who is 22-24 and is talking about not being a servant, soul-crushing debt/experience, horrible lack of options: make a note in google calendar to come back here in 10 years, whether you are a lawyer or not, and report back. I don't think many of the people in this thread know what it's like to actually hold a real job, so their criticism of the legal profession is heavily colored by not understanding that to make a very comfortable living ($100k+ lets say) you have to put up with a lot of stuff, whether you are a lawyer, doctor, banker, entrepreneur, you name it. Going to any professional school when you are 21/22 and taking out six figures in debt is incredibly stupid. You are not an adult yet and don't even know who you are. If you conclude after law school that money is not that important to you, that is a totally valid conclusion. There are many things to do that are more creative, more laid back, more fun, less stressful, better control of hours. But that is not going to apply to any of the above professions, and there are very few anomalous other lucrative situations (professional athlete, movie star, win the lottery, marc cuban level of entrepreneurial success, high level drug dealer, huge amounts of inherited wealth).
Last edited by Hutz_and_Goodman on Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Emma.
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Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby Emma. » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:11 pm

sinfiery wrote:
Emma. wrote:<-- 3L at good school. Great grades, minimal debt, lots of choices as far as jobs.

I've mostly enjoyed school and have made a lot of amazing friends, but I still regret going to law school.

Even the best options for practicing law pretty much all suck.


3Ls are more convincing about how terrible law school is when they complain about lack of jobs and soul crushing debt.


Why so? If even the good outcomes suck, doesn't that how how bad a choice law school really is?




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