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.
User avatar
jetsfan1
Posts: 571
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:14 pm

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby jetsfan1 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:03 am

Just read through most of this thread for the first time. As a 0L, the one thing that struck me was the discussion about how you should only go to law school if you want to practice law, but that's really impossible to know until you go to law school/work as an SA. I've interned at a single lawyer "firm" in small town rural America. Going in, I really though I was gonna be able to decide if law school was for me off of this experience. Basically, all I did was work on property law, and found it incredibly boring. Then I realized there are a tonnn of other areas, and what I was doing was hardly representative of what my life as a lawyer would be. So, I'm back to the drawing board not sure about law school.

I guess, If there's a question here for law students/grads, it's this. Is that an accurate outlook? Is there really any way to find out I I wan to be a lawyer. Thanks guys.

From,
A confused 0L still trying to decide and hopin TLS will come through like it always does.

RodneyRuxin
Posts: 455
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:08 pm

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby RodneyRuxin » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:18 am

jetsfan1 wrote:A confused 0L still trying to decide and hopin TLS will come through like it always does.


Did you like reading cases? Writing?

You truly have to like the material to be able to work hard and not face burnout. You have to enjoy what you're doing.

If you need more experience, why not work as a paralegal for a year?

portaprokoss
Posts: 218
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:40 pm

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby portaprokoss » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:47 am

sf_39 wrote:I don't think anyone would deny law jobs being enjoyable and "worth it" is debatable and there's certainly arguments to be had but citing the fact people wrote books about the topic doesn't make it a clear cut answer. I'm sure I can find books about why law jobs are worth it, just like we can find books on both sides of any major argument.

Of course some people would argue that the law is enjoyable. There are—in fact—people who enjoy practicing law.

My point isn’t that people wrote books with damning titles. My point is that those books contain studies, surveys, and statistics showing lawyers to be much more, significantly more dissatisfied and unhappy than 1) the general population and 2) those in comparable professions. Studies have confirmed this over and over again for the past 60 years. The data also shows that the dissatisfaction rate is continually rising.

Only one study (out of literally hundreds) found differently—Urban Lawyers by Heinz, Nelson, Sandefur, and Laurmann (2005)—and it has been unanimously criticized for poor method and leading/ unclear questions.

So sure, you can find books written by people who like the law. Those books will be packed with opinion and anecdote re: their own personal life-journey. But know that it is statistically unlikely you will share those feelings.

User avatar
06102016
Posts: 13466
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:29 pm

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby 06102016 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:00 am

..

bld2414
Posts: 48
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:48 pm

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby bld2414 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:02 am

I dont regret my decision at all, but I feel like my situation couldnt have worked out any better.

I give out pretty negative advice about law school to those who ask.

User avatar
los blancos
Posts: 7119
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 4:18 pm

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby los blancos » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:17 am

Kronk wrote: Also, those jobs that qualify aren't quite as hard as you might've heard. Although they're certainly not easy. Just depends. City Attorney office? Scarce. Public defender / DA? Very, very easy to get.



wat

sf_39
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:33 pm

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby sf_39 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:23 am

portaprokoss wrote:
sf_39 wrote:I don't think anyone would deny law jobs being enjoyable and "worth it" is debatable and there's certainly arguments to be had but citing the fact people wrote books about the topic doesn't make it a clear cut answer. I'm sure I can find books about why law jobs are worth it, just like we can find books on both sides of any major argument.

Of course some people would argue that the law is enjoyable. There are—in fact—people who enjoy practicing law.

My point isn’t that people wrote books with damning titles. My point is that those books contain studies, surveys, and statistics showing lawyers to be much more, significantly more dissatisfied and unhappy than 1) the general population and 2) those in comparable professions. Studies have confirmed this over and over again for the past 60 years. The data also shows that the dissatisfaction rate is continually rising.

Only one study (out of literally hundreds) found differently—Urban Lawyers by Heinz, Nelson, Sandefur, and Laurmann (2005)—and it has been unanimously criticized for poor method and leading/ unclear questions.

So sure, you can find books written by people who like the law. Those books will be packed with opinion and anecdote re: their own personal life-journey. But know that it is statistically unlikely you will share those feelings.


Ok but that wasn't what you said. You listed a bunch of books and said read what they say about the problem. You should be able to understand where I was coming from.

It's hard for me to debate the merits of those books without seeing the studies, facts, and sources they use. I'm also slightly skeptical of approaching any career related study in terms of depression on a general scale though when it comes to making an individual decision. If one was making a purely financial decision for LS then it's a perfectly viable discussion to have but career choices in general have more variables in terms of skill sets, general preferences and several other intangibles variables to bring into a discussion.

LaBarrister
Posts: 193
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:20 pm

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby LaBarrister » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:25 am

los blancos wrote:
Kronk wrote: Also, those jobs that qualify aren't quite as hard as you might've heard. Although they're certainly not easy. Just depends. City Attorney office? Scarce. Public defender / DA? Very, very easy to get.



wat


They are in the city of my state's flagship, where only 3 or 4 people are competing for each position this year.

LaBarrister
Posts: 193
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:20 pm

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby LaBarrister » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:31 am

sf_39 wrote:
portaprokoss wrote:
sf_39 wrote:I don't think anyone would deny law jobs being enjoyable and "worth it" is debatable and there's certainly arguments to be had but citing the fact people wrote books about the topic doesn't make it a clear cut answer. I'm sure I can find books about why law jobs are worth it, just like we can find books on both sides of any major argument.

Of course some people would argue that the law is enjoyable. There are—in fact—people who enjoy practicing law.

My point isn’t that people wrote books with damning titles. My point is that those books contain studies, surveys, and statistics showing lawyers to be much more, significantly more dissatisfied and unhappy than 1) the general population and 2) those in comparable professions. Studies have confirmed this over and over again for the past 60 years. The data also shows that the dissatisfaction rate is continually rising.

Only one study (out of literally hundreds) found differently—Urban Lawyers by Heinz, Nelson, Sandefur, and Laurmann (2005)—and it has been unanimously criticized for poor method and leading/ unclear questions.

So sure, you can find books written by people who like the law. Those books will be packed with opinion and anecdote re: their own personal life-journey. But know that it is statistically unlikely you will share those feelings.


Ok but that wasn't what you said. You listed a bunch of books and said read what they say about the problem. You should be able to understand where I was coming from.

It's hard for me to debate the merits of those books without seeing the studies, facts, and sources they use. I'm also slightly skeptical of approaching any career related study in terms of depression on a general scale though when it comes to making an individual decision. If one was making a purely financial decision for LS then it's a perfectly viable discussion to have but career choices in general have more variables in terms of skill sets, general preferences and several other intangibles variables to bring into a discussion.


portaprokoss may spell this out for you on more eloquent terms, but I will tell you that you cannot dispel the ubiquitous savagery of the legal community. You just can't. It is real and it is everywhere. The only differences are in concentration.

LaBarrister
Posts: 193
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:20 pm

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby LaBarrister » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:37 am

RodneyRuxin wrote:
jetsfan1 wrote:A confused 0L still trying to decide and hopin TLS will come through like it always does.


Did you like reading cases? Writing?

You truly have to like the material to be able to work hard and not face burnout. You have to enjoy what you're doing.

If you need more experience, why not work as a paralegal for a year?


Is it not highly probable that one would experience burnout from working 80+ hours a week on anything, even if he or she loved the work? It is. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Unless one has a high affinity for an unbalanced lifestyle, merely liking the work would not repel burnout.

BlueDiamond
Posts: 953
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 12:56 pm

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby BlueDiamond » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:51 am

Every. Single. Day.

User avatar
presh
Posts: 8007
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 1:00 am

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby presh » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:54 am

LaBarrister wrote:
los blancos wrote:
Kronk wrote: Also, those jobs that qualify aren't quite as hard as you might've heard. Although they're certainly not easy. Just depends. City Attorney office? Scarce. Public defender / DA? Very, very easy to get.



wat


They are in the city of my state's flagship, where only 3 or 4 people are competing for each position this year.


They are most places. It was a dumb post.

User avatar
Kronk
Posts: 28179
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 9:18 pm

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby Kronk » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:01 pm

Yeah, if you commit to criminal law work early on in LS and work there both summers, you can pretty much nab it. In the state I worked at, you didn't even really need to be at a prestigious school. Once you're in the system some places, you're pretty much in, and PD / DA jobs are one of those things where once you show your commitment to one side or the other and to criminal law in general, you have a huge advantage over anyone who didn't do so.

portaprokoss
Posts: 218
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2011 2:40 pm

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby portaprokoss » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:09 pm

sf_39 wrote:It's hard for me to debate the merits of those books without seeing the studies, facts, and sources they use.

You're absolutely right. You should take the time to inform yourself.

Earlier, posters put forth arguments along the lines of "that's just, like, your opinion, man" and "if you hate law you're just a spoiled rich baby." I want to steer those people toward objective data. Since finals are approaching and we’re all in the library studying, that information is just a few steps away.

User avatar
bjsesq
TLS Poet Laureate
Posts: 13383
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:02 am

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby bjsesq » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:17 pm

To answer the OP: yes. I regret it.

Oban
Posts: 717
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 12:09 pm

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby Oban » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:19 pm

3L, had big scholly, but still graduating with about 100K mainly due to cost of living. While I'm a seriously jaded about law/law school, I don't regret it because my Job before law school was horrible, despite decent pay. There are just not a lot of options coming out of college theese days. It's very feast or famine. Of my friends from my Undergrad, they are either in grad school, working as a barista/service industry jobs, or making bank. There doesn't seem to be much middle ground.

So while law school may leave me in debt, I was under employed in a dead end job before.

User avatar
jetsfan1
Posts: 571
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:14 pm

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby jetsfan1 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:26 pm

jetsfan1 wrote:
A confused 0L still trying to decide and hopin TLS will come through like it always does.


Did you like reading cases? Writing?

You truly have to like the material to be able to work hard and not face burnout. You have to enjoy what you're doing.

If you need more experience, why not work as a paralegal for a year?


That's the thing- I didn't do much of that stuff at all. He mostly had me going back through property abstracts and ensuring the deeds had been conveyed correctly. I'm thinking about working as a paralegal, but I don't want big law, would want to do PI. Would it still give me a similar experience/let me know if it's what I wanted?

User avatar
Rahviveh
Posts: 2271
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:02 pm

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby Rahviveh » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:28 pm

Kronk wrote:Yeah, if you commit to criminal law work early on in LS and work there both summers, you can pretty much nab it. In the state I worked at, you didn't even really need to be at a prestigious school. Once you're in the system some places, you're pretty much in, and PD / DA jobs are one of those things where once you show your commitment to one side or the other and to criminal law in general, you have a huge advantage over anyone who didn't do so.


Is this true even in major markets like SF/LA/NY?

User avatar
dp73816
Posts: 253
Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:54 pm

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby dp73816 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:34 pm

Hated every second of it, not sure if I regret it just yet. Will only know in a few years.

User avatar
Kronk
Posts: 28179
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 9:18 pm

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby Kronk » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:35 pm

ChampagnePapi wrote:
Kronk wrote:Yeah, if you commit to criminal law work early on in LS and work there both summers, you can pretty much nab it. In the state I worked at, you didn't even really need to be at a prestigious school. Once you're in the system some places, you're pretty much in, and PD / DA jobs are one of those things where once you show your commitment to one side or the other and to criminal law in general, you have a huge advantage over anyone who didn't do so.


Is this true even in major markets like SF/LA/NY?


Some particular offices would be especially hard to nab (like NYC, certain ones in SF) and some states are tougher than others, but I think you could make my original post true in the general area. For example, Contra Costa County or Alameda County for SF, so you'd be just 30 minutes outside or so.

Some offices really do hire directly from their intern pool and their interns are basically assured of jobs in the same way SAs are--they are offered near the end of their 2L summer and almost all of them are offered unless you fuck up--that's not true from some of the most prestigious offices (like one in New York--might be Brooklyn, can't remember) but either way if you aren't picky within an hour of your desired location I think that principle holds true in most places.

User avatar
los blancos
Posts: 7119
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 4:18 pm

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby los blancos » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:42 pm

presh wrote:
LaBarrister wrote:
los blancos wrote:
Kronk wrote: Also, those jobs that qualify aren't quite as hard as you might've heard. Although they're certainly not easy. Just depends. City Attorney office? Scarce. Public defender / DA? Very, very easy to get.



wat


They are in the city of my state's flagship, where only 3 or 4 people are competing for each position this year.


They are most places. It was a dumb post.


No, it wasn't. Definitely not in this part of the country. And even 3 or 4 people competing for each position ≠ "very, very easy"

If those jobs were so easy to get, we wouldn't have droves of law school grads who can't find legal work.

Kronk wrote:Yeah, if you commit to criminal law work early on in LS and work there both summers, you can pretty much nab it. In the state I worked at, you didn't even really need to be at a prestigious school. Once you're in the system some places, you're pretty much in, and PD / DA jobs are one of those things where once you show your commitment to one side or the other and to criminal law in general, you have a huge advantage over anyone who didn't do so.


I don't disagree with any of this, but I still think your original statement was a stretch, especially in this budget climate.
Last edited by los blancos on Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.

cpajd
Posts: 44
Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2011 9:40 am

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby cpajd » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:43 pm

Kronk wrote:
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.


True enough, but this field is not different than most any other career. You want to be a doctor, but don't know what its really like till you've actually practiced for a period of time. You want to be a teacher, but don't know what its really like till you've taught. The reality is we do the most homework we can to investigate a given career, then make the best decision we can. My point is that many of the disillusioned JDs weren't really sure they wanted to practice, so the realities of the job coupled with crushing debt almost always is a killer. Again, do your homework (investigate, work at a law firm, talk to people, read up on the realities of the work), then do everything possible NOT to take on much debt. I still believe its a pretty simple formula.

User avatar
Rahviveh
Posts: 2271
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2012 12:02 pm

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby Rahviveh » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:47 pm

cpajd wrote:
Kronk wrote:
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.


True enough, but this field is not different than most any other career. You want to be a doctor, but don't know what its really like till you've actually practiced for a period of time. You want to be a teacher, but don't know what its really like till you've taught. The reality is we do the most homework we can to investigate a given career, then make the best decision we can. My point is that many of the disillusioned JDs weren't really sure they wanted to practice, so the realities of the job coupled with crushing debt almost always is a killer. Again, do your homework (investigate, work at a law firm, talk to people, read up on the realities of the work), then do everything possible NOT to take on much debt. I still believe its a pretty simple formula.


Its not really that simple, because in a lot of cases taking less debt also means reducing the chance at the job you want.

User avatar
Kronk
Posts: 28179
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 9:18 pm

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby Kronk » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:49 pm

los blancos wrote:
Kronk wrote:Yeah, if you commit to criminal law work early on in LS and work there both summers, you can pretty much nab it. In the state I worked at, you didn't even really need to be at a prestigious school. Once you're in the system some places, you're pretty much in, and PD / DA jobs are one of those things where once you show your commitment to one side or the other and to criminal law in general, you have a huge advantage over anyone who didn't do so.


I don't disagree with any of this, but I still think your original statement was a stretch, especially in this budget climate.


I disagree.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18422
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Do You Regret Going to Law School?

Postby bk1 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:49 pm

I don't really get the "true desire" argument. It's a job. Should people have a true desire to be an electrician? Work in IT? Be an accountant?




Return to “Ask a Law Student / Graduate”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MSNbot Media and 5 guests