Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

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soylatte
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Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby soylatte » Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:36 pm

Hello! I have been obsessively browsing various legal employment forums on TLS recently and I was hoping for some advice regarding my personal situation. I have been a legal intern at a small, but incredibly busy in-house law department of a government contractor since I was a sophomore in undergrad and the internship turned into a full-time paralegal gig when I graduated in the summer of 2011. I spent most of my undergrad flip flopping about whether I wanted to go to law school or not and I had actually been considering various graduate programs during my last year of undergrad (including some PhD programs), but I was working on two undergrad theses simultaneously (never doing that again!) on top of a whole bunch of other things that year - needless to say, I got so burnt out by the time graduation rolled around that I felt like I needed a break from academia and the generous full-time offer from my internship seemed like an easy out.

The General Counsel and attorneys in my office are really great about acting as mentors and I get to work on some pretty interesting projects as a paralegal and they often comment that I am doing "junior associate" work. We are a small department, so we work pretty crazy law firm-ish hours despite being "in-house." However, the upside is I have gotten some great exposure in both litigation and corporate matters and learned a lot about what it would be like to be an attorney. The problem is, despite all of this experience, I still cannot decide if I want to go to law school or not.

I double majored and double minored in undergrad, wrote two theses (one for each major) and graduated magna cum laude with a 3.85 GPA. I also had a handful of A+'s on my transcript that may bump the LSAC GPA up a bit. From what I have learned browsing the forums, it seems like I would have a pretty decent shot at a T14 if I did well on the LSAT. From my experience as a paralegal, I think my personality is well suited for a career in law and I think I would make a pretty decent attorney.

But all the horror stories about law school graduates (even students from T14 schools) who cannot find jobs after graduation with the crushing law school debt hanging over their heads make me nervous. I paid my own way through undergrad by working two jobs and my parents will definitely not be able to help me out with financing law school either. I currently make pretty good money as a paralegal (a little more than $54,000 base but nearly $70,000 after bonuses and all the crazy OT this year), especially considering I am just one year out of undergrad. Of course, I have no life outside of work, but that's another story... (and basically what BigLaw jobs would be after law school, right?)

Is this paralegal job worth giving up to go to law school to maybe become an attorney?

Another problem contributing to this conundrum is I have always been interested in pursuing something along the lines of working in non-profits with international human rights (especially women's rights issues) and a career as a corporate attorney would be the complete opposite of that "do good" ideal. But I have never had any professional experience working in a non-legal, non-corporate job and another part of me thinks that I am just being overly idealistic and naive about these kinds of goals. My dream job would be to work for the US Government or in an international organization like the UN or a prominent NGO... but just about everybody claims jobs in "international human rights law" do not exist right?

I signed up for and tried to study twice for the LSAT since I finished undergrad, but work and life got in the way both times so I still have not taken the exam yet. I would like to resume studying in January for the June exam if I was serious about applying for law school in the fall of 2013, but I can't decide if it would be the best option...

If you were in my shoes, would you stay as a paralegal, go to law school, or do something completely different with your life?

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joshhoward
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Re: Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby joshhoward » Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:55 pm

does your paralegal job offer you any realistic pathway towards better paid (or more desirable by measures you value) positions? That would be the shot-caller for me.

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typ3
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Re: Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby typ3 » Wed Dec 26, 2012 10:01 pm

Stay a paralegal and work your way up in the company to become a middle manager or manager of a department. It's not worth taking out the debt and not working for 3 years when you are already making close to 70k.

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Nova
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Re: Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby Nova » Wed Dec 26, 2012 10:10 pm

IMO, its worth a few hundred hours to take the LSAT and apply. After getting offers, youll be in a better position to decide whether attending is worth the risk. If you never take the LSAT and apply, you may always wonder what if.

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minnbills
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Re: Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby minnbills » Wed Dec 26, 2012 10:12 pm

I'd consider going to law school part time if you can find a strong enough program, and assuming you could stay in your current job. Otherwise I would probably wait at least a year to keep building experience. I'd wait to see what happens with this economy before letting go of a good job. It sounds like you're doing great, so keep that up and maybe they'll even pay for your law school.

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armenazo
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Re: Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby armenazo » Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:16 pm

Hi OP, I'm in a similar boat. I just wanted to say you're a really good writer - as evidenced by your post - and you seem super motivated.

Whatever outcome, I'm sure you'll do fine 8)

westie25
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Re: Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby westie25 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:48 am

soylatte wrote:Hello! I have been obsessively browsing various legal employment forums on TLS recently and I was hoping for some advice regarding my personal situation. I have been a legal intern at a small, but incredibly busy in-house law department of a government contractor since I was a sophomore in undergrad and the internship turned into a full-time paralegal gig when I graduated in the summer of 2011. I spent most of my undergrad flip flopping about whether I wanted to go to law school or not and I had actually been considering various graduate programs during my last year of undergrad (including some PhD programs), but I was working on two undergrad theses simultaneously (never doing that again!) on top of a whole bunch of other things that year - needless to say, I got so burnt out by the time graduation rolled around that I felt like I needed a break from academia and the generous full-time offer from my internship seemed like an easy out.

The General Counsel and attorneys in my office are really great about acting as mentors and I get to work on some pretty interesting projects as a paralegal and they often comment that I am doing "junior associate" work. We are a small department, so we work pretty crazy law firm-ish hours despite being "in-house." However, the upside is I have gotten some great exposure in both litigation and corporate matters and learned a lot about what it would be like to be an attorney. The problem is, despite all of this experience, I still cannot decide if I want to go to law school or not.

I double majored and double minored in undergrad, wrote two theses (one for each major) and graduated magna cum laude with a 3.85 GPA. I also had a handful of A+'s on my transcript that may bump the LSAC GPA up a bit. From what I have learned browsing the forums, it seems like I would have a pretty decent shot at a T14 if I did well on the LSAT. From my experience as a paralegal, I think my personality is well suited for a career in law and I think I would make a pretty decent attorney.

But all the horror stories about law school graduates (even students from T14 schools) who cannot find jobs after graduation with the crushing law school debt hanging over their heads make me nervous. I paid my own way through undergrad by working two jobs and my parents will definitely not be able to help me out with financing law school either. I currently make pretty good money as a paralegal (a little more than $54,000 base but nearly $70,000 after bonuses and all the crazy OT this year), especially considering I am just one year out of undergrad. Of course, I have no life outside of work, but that's another story... (and basically what BigLaw jobs would be after law school, right?)

Is this paralegal job worth giving up to go to law school to maybe become an attorney?

Another problem contributing to this conundrum is I have always been interested in pursuing something along the lines of working in non-profits with international human rights (especially women's rights issues) and a career as a corporate attorney would be the complete opposite of that "do good" ideal. But I have never had any professional experience working in a non-legal, non-corporate job and another part of me thinks that I am just being overly idealistic and naive about these kinds of goals. My dream job would be to work for the US Government or in an international organization like the UN or a prominent NGO... but just about everybody claims jobs in "international human rights law" do not exist right?

I signed up for and tried to study twice for the LSAT since I finished undergrad, but work and life got in the way both times so I still have not taken the exam yet. I would like to resume studying in January for the June exam if I was serious about applying for law school in the fall of 2013, but I can't decide if it would be the best option...

If you were in my shoes, would you stay as a paralegal, go to law school, or do something completely different with your life?


I was a paralegal for 7 years before deciding to go to law school. My first piece of advice is to not even consider law school until you are 100% sure it's what you want to do. It took me 7 years to decide. Spend a few years in your current job, and make sure you truly love the legal field. Getting in that WE is great for your career and for your law school resume if you eventually decide to pursue that route.

Do you love your job now? If so, stay there. $70,000 is a lot of money to make right out of undergrad, and many attorneys (particularly attorneys in non-profit) don't see that kind of money. If you would like to work in non-profit, there are jobs out there. But...build up that experience & resume. Pursuing your dream of working for a human rights organization is an attainable goal; however, you don't need a JD to do that job. Stash away some of that $70,000/year, and put yourself in a good position to take a pay cut if/when you find that non-profit job you're wanting. 5+ years of experience as a paralegal opens up more job opportunities. It's gets you out of that "entry level" label.

Also, volunteer at a non-profit. Get your foot in the door just like you did at your current position. Show them the passion you have for that line of work. Prove to them that your goal is to have a career in a non-profit, because it's something you desire to do & something you're called to do. That may sound cheesy, but it's what they want. Many people think they want the job, but the want fizzles when they realize the job is not super glamorous. Therefore, non-profits want to hire people who truly want to be there.

If after you've been in your position for a few years you still feel that desire to go to law school, then definitely do it. Go for as debt free as possible. But...there's no rush, so take your time. Enjoy making good money at a job it seems like you enjoy. :-)

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Re: Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby bdubs » Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:55 am

Study like crazy until you hit solid scores in the mid 170s (173+). Apply to HLS, SLS, and the other T14 that give you a fee waiver. Take H, S, or any T14 that gives you close to a full ride. If none of those is an option then don't bother going.

It's way better than being a paralegal forever. Even if you don't land your dream job, i still think you will be better off with any of those 3 than trying to do whatever it is you are doing with a BA.

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soylatte
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Re: Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby soylatte » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:32 am

kingabraham3 wrote:does your paralegal job offer you any realistic pathway towards better paid (or more desirable by measures you value) positions? That would be the shot-caller for me.

I am currently a "Paralegal I" with a just barely "target-range" salary. I am not entirely sure what that means in HR-speak, but another paralegal in the department has been with the company for decades and I believe she is currently a "Paralegal IV" with a presumably more significant base salary...

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soylatte
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Re: Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby soylatte » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:35 am

typ3 wrote:Stay a paralegal and work your way up in the company to become a middle manager or manager of a department. It's not worth taking out the debt and not working for 3 years when you are already making close to 70k.

Thanks! I don't think there is much potential for me to move from a paralegal into any kind of management position within the company, but the cost of leaving this job and taking out loans in hopes that I will be an attorney some day has been one of my biggest concerns when I consider law school.

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soylatte
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Re: Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby soylatte » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:51 am

westie25 wrote:
I was a paralegal for 7 years before deciding to go to law school. My first piece of advice is to not even consider law school until you are 100% sure it's what you want to do. It took me 7 years to decide. Spend a few years in your current job, and make sure you truly love the legal field. Getting in that WE is great for your career and for your law school resume if you eventually decide to pursue that route.

Do you love your job now? If so, stay there. $70,000 is a lot of money to make right out of undergrad, and many attorneys (particularly attorneys in non-profit) don't see that kind of money. If you would like to work in non-profit, there are jobs out there. But...build up that experience & resume. Pursuing your dream of working for a human rights organization is an attainable goal; however, you don't need a JD to do that job. Stash away some of that $70,000/year, and put yourself in a good position to take a pay cut if/when you find that non-profit job you're wanting. 5+ years of experience as a paralegal opens up more job opportunities. It's gets you out of that "entry level" label.

Also, volunteer at a non-profit. Get your foot in the door just like you did at your current position. Show them the passion you have for that line of work. Prove to them that your goal is to have a career in a non-profit, because it's something you desire to do & something you're called to do. That may sound cheesy, but it's what they want. Many people think they want the job, but the want fizzles when they realize the job is not super glamorous. Therefore, non-profits want to hire people who truly want to be there.

If after you've been in your position for a few years you still feel that desire to go to law school, then definitely do it. Go for as debt free as possible. But...there's no rush, so take your time. Enjoy making good money at a job it seems like you enjoy. :-)

Thank you! It was very helpful to hear about your experience with the same decision. I would say that I enjoy my work most of the time, but there are some days (that may stretch into weeks) that really get to me... like any other job would, I suppose. The General Counsel is intense, but we connect well and have an excellent working relationship. My friends (attorneys or otherwise) always tell me how lucky I am to have boss whom I like and who values the work I do because that is not always the case in out in the "real" working world!

However, I do personally take issue with the kind of business in which the company engages - I won't get too specific, but mostly defense type work, oil drilling, and mineral mining... basically, all the types of things that would make a hippie-at-heart like me cringe. Most of my colleagues in administration and otherwise are really lovely people, but our company's bottom line does bother me on a deeper level. I understand that working in BigLaw would also likely create certain personal conundrums like this because attorneys do not exactly get to choose their clients, but this disconnect with my values has been major food for thought for me in this decision.

Maybe this is me showing my idealistic naivete again, but I would really like to be PROUD of the work I do before I call it a career, not secretly ashamed at the products and activities that I support...

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Grazzhoppa
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Re: Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby Grazzhoppa » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:03 am

you sounded like a great law school applicant. then you started with the hippie bs.

retake morals. ED Northwestern.

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Re: Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby suralin » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:46 am

soylatte wrote:Thank you! It was very helpful to hear about your experience with the same decision. I would say that I enjoy my work most of the time, but there are some days (that may stretch into weeks) that really get to me... like any other job would, I suppose. The General Counsel is intense, but we connect well and have an excellent working relationship. My friends (attorneys or otherwise) always tell me how lucky I am to have boss whom I like and who values the work I do because that is not always the case in out in the "real" working world!

However, I do personally take issue with the kind of business in which the company engages - I won't get too specific, but mostly defense type work, oil drilling, and mineral mining... basically, all the types of things that would make a hippie-at-heart like me cringe. Most of my colleagues in administration and otherwise are really lovely people, but our company's bottom line does bother me on a deeper level. I understand that working in BigLaw would also likely create certain personal conundrums like this because attorneys do not exactly get to choose their clients, but this disconnect with my values has been major food for thought for me in this decision.

Maybe this is me showing my idealistic naivete again, but I would really like to be PROUD of the work I do before I call it a career, not secretly ashamed at the products and activities that I support...


It is a little idealistic, but I see no problem with that kind of outlook as long as it is sufficiently tempered with knowledge of how bad being unemployed generally is or how shitty it can be working in a job where you don't get along with your colleagues/boss(es). If certain kinds of PI make you happy, then that's a reasonable goal.

After all, the point of getting a job that makes a lot of money is generally to "convert" that money to happiness; if you can get that happiness at a better exchange rate (the job itself provides happiness), that's a rational choice.

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soylatte
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Re: Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby soylatte » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:07 pm

Suralin wrote:It is a little idealistic, but I see no problem with that kind of outlook as long as it is sufficiently tempered with knowledge of how bad being unemployed generally is or how shitty it can be working in a job where you don't get along with your colleagues/boss(es). If certain kinds of PI make you happy, then that's a reasonable goal.

After all, the point of getting a job that makes a lot of money is generally to "convert" that money to happiness; if you can get that happiness at a better exchange rate (the job itself provides happiness), that's a rational choice.

That's a really good point. Thank you for sharing your perspective! Since this paralegal job is my first "real" job out of college, I guess I don't REALLY know how much it would suck to have to be unemployed/hate my colleagues. Of course, I've heard enough stories from friends who are also recent grads (and have seen some struggle more than others to find any kind of permanent employment) to make this risk a significant concern when I think about switching jobs. I have been working at the same place since I turned 19, so I basically "grew up" in this office and I have been pretty sheltered employment-wise...

I know I am incredibly lucky to land such a great job in this economy with undergrad degrees in the humanities but sometimes I do wonder what I may be missing out on by staying in my comfort zone. My colleagues are generally great people to work with, but I do get jealous of friends who work in more "fun" environments with people are who are also in their twenty-somethings and go out to co-worker happy hours all the time!

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Re: Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby calverna » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:17 pm

Can you vocalize your reasons (if any) for even considering law school? It's not clear from your posts what even draws you to law, other than "I'm already a paralegal so what the hell." A lot of people in this thread seem to be telling you to crush your LSAT and see where you get in, but that's not a reason to go to law school -- especially in this market.

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Re: Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby spleenworship » Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:33 pm

Nova wrote:IMO, its worth a few hundred hours to take the LSAT and apply. After getting offers, youll be in a better position to decide whether attending is worth the risk. If you never take the LSAT and apply, you may always wonder what if.

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soylatte
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Re: Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby soylatte » Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:23 pm

calverna wrote:Can you vocalize your reasons (if any) for even considering law school? It's not clear from your posts what even draws you to law, other than "I'm already a paralegal so what the hell." A lot of people in this thread seem to be telling you to crush your LSAT and see where you get in, but that's not a reason to go to law school -- especially in this market.

I have been thinking about this question a lot and honestly, "what the hell" is part of the reason why I am considering law school at this point in my life. My parents are immigrants who barely speak English and I am the first person to attend university in my family, so I have not received much guidance about college or professional careers in that respect. (Which is a reason why I genuinely appreciate all this great advice and insight I am getting from TLS!)

Since I was majoring in the humanities, I got the "Are you going to law school?" question quite often when I was in college, so this option has always been on my mind. I had no idea what it would be like to be an attorney, so I looked for a legal internship in undergrad (which eventually turned into this paralegal position) because I wanted to see if it would be a good fit. I asked the General Counsel and all the staff attorneys the same question when I was an intern and none of them had any good reason for pursuing a career in law aside from the generic "I don't know, I wanted a professional career" and "I didn't know what to do with my life." And these were all people who graduated from Harvard Law and moved from prestigious BigLaw firms to their current in-house positions. I have even talked to partners at BigLaw firms (both based regionally in Southern California and in NYC) who have worked with me on company matters and none of them could give me a good reason either - one even told me he originally wanted to be a pilot in the military but realized that he would just be a "bus driver in the sky" in civilian life and chose law instead!

I do understand that when the attorneys I have talked to went to law school a decade or two ago, the legal job market was probably much more open and the decision to attend law school may have been less of a risk, so I am definitely wary about that reality as I try to make my decision in the current economy.

However, I do feel like I have an intellectual affinity for law... at least academically. I enrolled in a summer program with incoming 1Ls at a local law school for credit as an undergraduate and I also took many constitutional law-based classes for one of my majors with a adjunct professor who taught full-time at the local law school, and I felt challenged and engaged in all of those experiences. I understand that studying "the law" theoretically in school is very different from the practical application of "the law," but I think my experience working with attorneys as an intern and as a paralegal have showed me that this kind of career would at the very least be tolerable (if not kind of enjoyable) for me.

I feel comfortable that I am doing well in my current position and the General Counsel seems to trust me with handling matters that even I am surprised she would assign to a 23-year-old just-out-of-college paralegal. But aside from more pay and gaining more responsibility over similar matters as my tenure with the company in this position grows, there won't be much "movement" in terms of advancement in this paralegal career track. And this might be okay. Since I am basically being trained on the job, every new matter is kind of exciting because I see every case as an opportunity for me to learn something new right now. But I am worried that at some point I will get bored by the "wall" I will hit as "just a paralegal" because the reality is there is only so much a paralegal is allowed to do... and at that point in my life, law school may not be a viable option anymore because of other personal commitments or other life developments. On the other hand, I am not sure that the additional "responsibility" and opportunities for advancement as an attorney will be worth the risk and debt of attending law school now because in the end, attorneys and paralegals essentially work on the same types of matters together, right?

The bottom line is I think I would enjoy law school on an intellectual level and that I would probably make a decent attorney. And I don't have any real work experience doing anything else, so I can't really compare what I have seen/experienced so far in a legal career to any other career that I may be well suited to pursue. Admittedly, these are not the best reasons for committing 3 years of my life to law school as the logical "next step" and potentially racking up $200,000 in debt, but that's the honest rationale behind all this uncertainty!

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armenazo
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Re: Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby armenazo » Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:53 pm

soylatte wrote:
calverna wrote:Can you vocalize your reasons (if any) for even considering law school? It's not clear from your posts what even draws you to law, other than "I'm already a paralegal so what the hell." A lot of people in this thread seem to be telling you to crush your LSAT and see where you get in, but that's not a reason to go to law school -- especially in this market.

I have been thinking about this question a lot and honestly, "what the hell" is part of the reason why I am considering law school at this point in my life. My parents are immigrants who barely speak English and I am the first person to attend university in my family, so I have not received much guidance about college or professional careers in that respect. (Which is a reason why I genuinely appreciate all this great advice and insight I am getting from TLS!)

Since I was majoring in the humanities, I got the "Are you going to law school?" question quite often when I was in college, so this option has always been on my mind. I had no idea what it would be like to be an attorney, so I looked for a legal internship in undergrad (which eventually turned into this paralegal position) because I wanted to see if it would be a good fit. I asked the General Counsel and all the staff attorneys the same question when I was an intern and none of them had any good reason for pursuing a career in law aside from the generic "I don't know, I wanted a professional career" and "I didn't know what to do with my life." And these were all people who graduated from Harvard Law and moved from prestigious BigLaw firms to their current in-house positions. I have even talked to partners at BigLaw firms (both based regionally in Southern California and in NYC) who have worked with me on company matters and none of them could give me a good reason either - one even told me he originally wanted to be a pilot in the military but realized that he would just be a "bus driver in the sky" in civilian life and chose law instead!

I do understand that when the attorneys I have talked to went to law school a decade or two ago, the legal job market was probably much more open and the decision to attend law school may have been less of a risk, so I am definitely wary about that reality as I try to make my decision in the current economy.

However, I do feel like I have an intellectual affinity for law... at least academically. I enrolled in a summer program with incoming 1Ls at a local law school for credit as an undergraduate and I also took many constitutional law-based classes for one of my majors with a adjunct professor who taught full-time at the local law school, and I felt challenged and engaged in all of those experiences. I understand that studying "the law" theoretically in school is very different from the practical application of "the law," but I think my experience working with attorneys as an intern and as a paralegal have showed me that this kind of career would at the very least be tolerable (if not kind of enjoyable) for me.

I feel comfortable that I am doing well in my current position and the General Counsel seems to trust me with handling matters that even I am surprised she would assign to a 23-year-old just-out-of-college paralegal. But aside from more pay and gaining more responsibility over similar matters as my tenure with the company in this position grows, there won't be much "movement" in terms of advancement in this paralegal career track. And this might be okay. Since I am basically being trained on the job, every new matter is kind of exciting because I see every case as an opportunity for me to learn something new right now. But I am worried that at some point I will get bored by the "wall" I will hit as "just a paralegal" because the reality is there is only so much a paralegal is allowed to do... and at that point in my life, law school may not be a viable option anymore because of other personal commitments or other life developments. On the other hand, I am not sure that the additional "responsibility" and opportunities for advancement as an attorney will be worth the risk and debt of attending law school now because in the end, attorneys and paralegals essentially work on the same types of matters together, right?

The bottom line is I think I would enjoy law school on an intellectual level and that I would probably make a decent attorney. And I don't have any real work experience doing anything else, so I can't really compare what I have seen/experienced so far in a legal career to any other career that I may be well suited to pursue. Admittedly, these are not the best reasons for committing 3 years of my life to law school as the logical "next step" and potentially racking up $200,000 in debt, but that's the honest rationale behind all this uncertainty!


In a technical sense, you're right in believing that there is a ceiling in the paralegal profession. However, I think you're self-imposing this concept onto the profession a bit. Think outside the box! While it's true that there is a ceiling in many entry level positions - whether it be as an assistant professor, junior associate, or junior paralegal - it can be overcome through demonstrated ability, connections, and some luck.

For example, lots of paralegals who have worked at my bigfirm have moved onto bigger and better things - whether those opportunities be working with previous clients as analysts, or moving on to more senior roles in the paralegal profession (project manager, senior human resources director, etc.)

Cast your net wide, learn a ton, and if you still feel unsatisfied, please join us in the June 2013 LSAT Study Partner thread http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=198695.

Best of luck.

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Re: Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby ksllaw » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:56 pm

A few key questions I've asked myself recently during my law school "exploration" process are:

a.) Am I passionate about legal work?

b.) Would I be good at it?

c.) Is it worth it?

I know that, for myself, I would need to be passionate about something that could potentially cost so much (life-changing debt) and require such an intense emotional and academic commitment. Law school is not like most other activities that require some of our money or time, such as buying a new car or taking a few night classes in art history for greater appreciation of the subject, where you invest a part of yourself or money and gain something in return that has relatively minor personal consequences to it. Rather, it's more like a decision to get married (although not as weighty in my opinion - I think marriage is an even more serious decision than law school, but I believe it's closer to that than, say, choosing to buy a car, for example). As such, I think I would have to be passionate about legal work just as I would have to be passionate about a potential marriage partner to make that commitment. I would not want to make the decision to merely "try it out" for fun or out of curiosity - or, even worse, because I did not know what else I wanted to do.

There's often talk of things like salaries or other perks when discussing decisions to attend law school, but sometimes the topic of passion gets left out in these discussions when it should be very high (I think) on the list of reasons.

You sound like you're in a great position - working as a paralegal in and around attorneys with excellent credentials - to gauge what law is like and to gain a sense of whether or not it's something you would enjoy and even possibly be passionate about. I wish I had that opportunity actually. I'm an OL who works outside of the legal profession at the moment and can only get a sense of the work through secondhand narrative.

Next, I think it's important to t

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suralin
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Re: Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby suralin » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:43 pm

ksllaw wrote:A few key questions I've asked myself recently during my law school "exploration" process are:

a.) Am I passionate about legal work?

b.) Would I be good at it?

c.) Is it worth it?

I know that, for myself, I would need to be passionate about something that could potentially cost so much (life-changing debt) and require such an intense emotional and academic commitment. Law school is not like most other activities that require some of our money or time, such as buying a new car or taking a few night classes in art history for greater appreciation of the subject, where you invest a part of yourself or money and gain something in return that has relatively minor personal consequences to it. Rather, it's more like a decision to get married (although not as weighty in my opinion - I think marriage is an even more serious decision than law school, but I believe it's closer to that than, say, choosing to buy a car, for example). As such, I think I would have to be passionate about legal work just as I would have to be passionate about a potential marriage partner to make that commitment. I would not want to make the decision to merely "try it out" for fun or out of curiosity - or, even worse, because I did not know what else I wanted to do.

There's often talk of things like salaries or other perks when discussing decisions to attend law school, but sometimes the topic of passion gets left out in these discussions when it should be very high (I think) on the list of reasons.

You sound like you're in a great position - working as a paralegal in and around attorneys with excellent credentials - to gauge what law is like and to gain a sense of whether or not it's something you would enjoy and even possibly be passionate about. I wish I had that opportunity actually. I'm an OL who works outside of the legal profession at the moment and can only get a sense of the work through secondhand narrative.

Next, I think it's important to t


You didn't fini

ksllaw
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:17 pm

Re: Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby ksllaw » Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:23 am

Suralin wrote:
ksllaw wrote:A few key questions I've asked myself recently during my law school "exploration" process are:

a.) Am I passionate about legal work?

b.) Would I be good at it?

c.) Is it worth it?

I know that, for myself, I would need to be passionate about something that could potentially cost so much (life-changing debt) and require such an intense emotional and academic commitment. Law school is not like most other activities that require some of our money or time, such as buying a new car or taking a few night classes in art history for greater appreciation of the subject, where you invest a part of yourself or money and gain something in return that has relatively minor personal consequences to it. Rather, it's more like a decision to get married (although not as weighty in my opinion - I think marriage is an even more serious decision than law school, but I believe it's closer to that than, say, choosing to buy a car, for example). As such, I think I would have to be passionate about legal work just as I would have to be passionate about a potential marriage partner to make that commitment. I would not want to make the decision to merely "try it out" for fun or out of curiosity - or, even worse, because I did not know what else I wanted to do.

There's often talk of things like salaries or other perks when discussing decisions to attend law school, but sometimes the topic of passion gets left out in these discussions when it should be very high (I think) on the list of reasons.

You sound like you're in a great position - working as a paralegal in and around attorneys with excellent credentials - to gauge what law is like and to gain a sense of whether or not it's something you would enjoy and even possibly be passionate about. I wish I had that opportunity actually. I'm an OL who works outside of the legal profession at the moment and can only get a sense of the work through secondhand narrative.

Next, I think it's important to t


You didn't fini



Apologies! Had the flu this past week. Let me finish later tonight! Typing on the run, at the moment. :)

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soylatte
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Re: Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby soylatte » Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:34 pm

ksllaw: Thank you! I am also very interested in reading the rest of your post.

(Coincidentally, I am also getting over the flu myself...)

ksllaw
Posts: 312
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:17 pm

Re: Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby ksllaw » Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:50 am

soylatte wrote:ksllaw: Thank you! I am also very interested in reading the rest of your post.

(Coincidentally, I am also getting over the flu myself...)


Hi. Apologies. Been a bit busier than expected, but would love to respond back once I get the chance.

And, stay healthy! A big flu bug seems to have hit the U.S. the past two weeks. :cry:

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tooswolle
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Re: Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby tooswolle » Mon Jan 14, 2013 2:28 am

As someone who was in a similar predicament last/this year I decided that it wasn't the time given the uncertainties in the market. I hope someday the investment will be worth it. My best advice look at what you earn, look at your debt and look at what your options are. I had decent options but in the end decided guaranteed money and an easy job were too much to give up for a pipe dream. You know how I rewarded myself for that? I bought myself a Corvette and am enjoying life...But in all honest I still come on this forum at times thinking what if...as it's never truly easy to let go.

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kwais
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Re: Idealistic Paralegal Reconsidering Law School?

Postby kwais » Mon Jan 14, 2013 2:43 am

When you are 50, you will not regret having quit your first job out of UG to follow an aspiration. You might regret not trying. Take the LSAT and then make the decision. If you can get a large scholarship at a T14 then this is a very different question than, say, paying to attend a lower T1.




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