Is being a lawyer how I want to spend the rest of my life?

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Korey
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Is being a lawyer how I want to spend the rest of my life?

Postby Korey » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:09 pm

Hey all,

I'm new to this forum and I think its an amazing resource. I've looked to TLS for just about all of my questions, but I wanted to make this post to get some direct feedback from those who are planning, are attending, or have graduated from law school.

I read the article about making the choice to go to law school or not, and still feel like I need more input. I would greatly appreciate it if you guys could help me make up mind, even though I still have a LOT of time to make this decision.

So first things first, my interest in law does not stem simply from the boasted amounts of money some lawyers make, especially since I'm not gullible enough to believe that all lawyers make tons of money. The concept of law intrigues me and I am a detail oriented person that never stops until I get to the bottom of things. However, with that being said, what are the chances of really making good money in this career? I know this is probably an unanswerable question, but does the salary essentially depend upon the law school, or are there other factors that go into it? :D

The other thing I want to know is the quality of life being a lawyer. Every time I tell people of my future plans, I get the typical response, "Well have fun having absolutely no life." Is there a way to become an attorney making reasonable money but not working RIDICULOUS hours? I don't want to spend my entire life single with a lot of money, but nothing to do with it. My mother works for a corporate attorney (to be honest, I don't even know what they really do) but he seems to work normal hours and appears to make decent money. Is this true or is it my imagination?

A little extra information about myself if they may help form a response
Age: 19
Home: NJ
College: New York University
Current GPA after first semester: 3.92

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echoi
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Re: Is being a lawyer how I want to spend the rest of my life?

Postby echoi » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:18 pm

Have you talked to the corporate attorney your mother works for yet?

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Curly
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Re: Is being a lawyer how I want to spend the rest of my life?

Postby Curly » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:20 pm

Isn't it too early to decide the rest of your life at age 19?

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birD
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Re: Is being a lawyer how I want to spend the rest of my life?

Postby birD » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:27 pm

There is all different types of lawyers, some work crazy hours some work normal 9-5 days. It all depends on what you do, my mom is a lawyer and she has a normal schedule so it definitely is possible.

Korey
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Re: Is being a lawyer how I want to spend the rest of my life?

Postby Korey » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:29 pm

Curly wrote:Isn't it too early to decide the rest of your life at age 19?

Yea, but I want to know what I'm doing for the next 3 years here so I don't waste the RIDICULOUS tuition. And the attorney my mom works for wasn't interested in talking to me. He's not the nicest dude.

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traehekat
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Re: Is being a lawyer how I want to spend the rest of my life?

Postby traehekat » Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:26 am

The short answer, no. The long answer... yes.

gregw8705
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Re: Is being a lawyer how I want to spend the rest of my life?

Postby gregw8705 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:50 am

Korey wrote:
Curly wrote:Isn't it too early to decide the rest of your life at age 19?

Yea, but I want to know what I'm doing for the next 3 years here so I don't waste the RIDICULOUS tuition. And the attorney my mom works for wasn't interested in talking to me. He's not the nicest dude.


You shouldn't change your undergrad planning because you are or are not going to law school. You can get into law school with any major. Study what you'd otherwise study. Applying to law school to figure out what exactly your options and probable outcomes are should only cost you $200 for LSAT and a little more for application + LSAC fees.

Your GPA is good so if you can keep it rolling and do well on the LSAT you could get into Harvard, Yale, or Stanford, in which case the odds are very good that you can get a decent paying job and probably find one with reasonable hours (either at first or after a few years of hard work).

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Kiersten1985
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Re: Is being a lawyer how I want to spend the rest of my life?

Postby Kiersten1985 » Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:53 am

gregw8705 wrote:
Korey wrote:
Curly wrote:Isn't it too early to decide the rest of your life at age 19?

Yea, but I want to know what I'm doing for the next 3 years here so I don't waste the RIDICULOUS tuition. And the attorney my mom works for wasn't interested in talking to me. He's not the nicest dude.


You shouldn't change your undergrad planning because you are or are not going to law school. You can get into law school with any major. Study what you'd otherwise study. Applying to law school to figure out what exactly your options and probable outcomes are should only cost you $200 for LSAT and a little more for application + LSAC fees.

Your GPA is good so if you can keep it rolling and do well on the LSAT you could get into Harvard, Yale, or Stanford, in which case the odds are very good that you can get a decent paying job and probably find one with reasonable hours (either at first or after a few years of hard work).


+1. As long as your GPA is good, law school will always be there. Do what you find interesting. Graduating with any major and a stellar GPA from NYU will never be a waste of tuition.

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gdane
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Re: Is being a lawyer how I want to spend the rest of my life?

Postby gdane » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:01 pm

You have plenty of time to decide whether or not you truly want to be a lawyer. Things change.

However, so far you're doing well. A close to perfect GPA at NYU is really great. Just keep working hard. I wouldnt worry too much about LS yet. Applying is a long and somewhat "stressful" process, so dont concern yourself too much with it.

As for your specific questions. Lawyers are just like any other profession out there, some earn a lot and some not so much. That depends on what you want to do. If you want to get into public interest work then you wont start off making too much. Working for the federal government is good option. Lots of benefits there. There is also "Biglaw". Lots of people on here will tell you that if you dont go into biglaw you shouldnt go to law school at all. Dont listen to them. These are the same people that will tell you that unless you get into a T14 school you wont get a good job. With that being said...

Your employment prospects do depend on where you go to school, BUT to say that you HAVE to go to a T14 school to get a good job is a lie. Should you aim high? Of course. It doesnt hurt to go to a T14, but if you can graduate at the top of your class it doesnt matter where you go. Location also has a lot to do with this.

Again, dont worry too much. Enjoy yourself for now.

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englawyer
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Re: Is being a lawyer how I want to spend the rest of my life?

Postby englawyer » Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:59 pm

if you are interested in both law and X (where X is some other career), you should certainly try X after undergraduate before going to law school. you might click with it and go off on some other path. if you go to law school, you are pretty much guaranteed to be a lawyer. if you try the other career, and hate it, you can go to law school after a couple years no problem (just take the LSAT and apply).

whether or not you will make the huge salary (160k to start) depends on your school, and thus your LSAT. this is not in your control right now, so just maintain your high GPA so you can keep law school open as a path in the future.

philanono
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Re: Is being a lawyer how I want to spend the rest of my life?

Postby philanono » Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:15 am

I disagree. I think its definitely a good thing that you're already thinking of whether to go to law school or not, because its a very big decision. One of the biggest mistakes I made in undergrad was that I didn't really figure out if law school was the right thing for me, so that's what I'm doing right now while working full time. I intern at the DA's office and I don't really know about other types of law, but I literally follow my DA for the beginning of my internship and its a very stressful lifestyle. I'll break down the positives and the negatives I've seen.

Negative:
1. Stressful - she tells me its a job that follows you around and its true. She's a trial attorney so even when she's at home or wherever, she'll get calls from investigators, cops etc. about finding witnesses, etc. Especially when they're in trial, they practically don't sleep. and they also have a lot of case loads. She has about 34 cases, sometimes she'll stay pass 5pm or take work home.

2. It's not a job where you can easily just call in sick - I was sitting in calender court with my DA and the judge called an attorney who wasn't there. The attorney basically got fined $1,000 for not showing up. There is no forgiveness in this profession.

3. Student Loans - over 100,000 in debt if you go to law school. Your monthly payment would probably be as high as a mortgage payment.

Positive:
1. It's not boring - at least for me, or at least criminal law. It's a very challenging profession and not something where you are forced to sit on a desk doing the same mundane thing over and over. It's the type of job that makes you think and if that's something you like then maybe law is for you.

2. Pay? - this is a maybe. Because in that particular DA's office, she said you start off 60k a year which is shit considering you went 3 years of law school. But now she gets paid 97k a year, after working there for 3 years and being promoted. How you get promoted? It's all about winning cases and not some bullshit they tell you in the beginning about justice.

3. Hours - Sure you work a lot but as long as you finish all your job and on top of your shit, you could leave the office whenever you want. At least in their office, its like that. I'll be working on a Friday afternoon and most DA's are already gone. I think its all about balancing your caseloads.

4. Rewarding - Well this is my own opinion and I think it only works if you're working for the District Attorney's office. I've witness victims in court whose lives were completely changed because of the crime that was done to them and its heart breaking, so knowing that you've put a rapist, sexual offender, murderer etc, in prison so that they will never have to do it to anyone again, it's pretty rewarding. Now if you work as a criminal defense...its a whole different issue, and frankly I don't know how they could do it.

That said, go to law school if you truly LOVE the LAW. One judge told me that LAW is a jealous mistress, and if you don't love it then you're gonna have a miserable life, which is true. He also said that mediocrity is not good enough for law and its true.
My suggestion is intern, anywhere whether its a private firm, the DA's office, public defenders anything where you basically see how their everyday lives work. If you know a lawyer, ask if you can follow them around for a day and see how their lives is like.

Don't go to law school without really understanding what lawyers actually do, that's the worst mistake you can make.

P.S.
Btw, my DA hates her job. LOL.

As for me, I'm still considering LS, because I just love everything I do in there. Sure, it's definitely stressful but what good job isn't?

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maine08080
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Re: Is being a lawyer how I want to spend the rest of my life?

Postby maine08080 » Wed Mar 03, 2010 3:08 am

OP, it sounds like you and I are in a similar boat as far as the prospective stage is concerned.

I saw this on another post from god knows where. Hope it provides some comic relief.

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1WingedAngel
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Re: Is being a lawyer how I want to spend the rest of my life?

Postby 1WingedAngel » Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:19 pm

I also think it's a good that you're evaluating your career options early. But yeah, you don't really need to plan for law admissions this far ahead. Just keep getting a high GPA. Best thing to do at the moment is to take a few law-related and logical reasoning course in undergrad to see if you like the material.




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