Why do you want to go to law school?

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Bronte
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby Bronte » Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:38 am

After having done law school already, here are some factors I think you guys should consider in making your decision.

First, you should have determined that law school is a good investment. This is not the same as wanting to make good money. While wanting to make good money is natural, you should determine that the school you are attending, taking into account your scholarship package and opportunity costs, will give you a good chance of making money. In wonky economics terms, you should attempt to verify that law school will yield a positive net present value. This is discussed a lot on this forum (although usually in an ad hoc fashion), so I'll leave it at that.

Second, you should enjoy technical reading, research, and writing. Almost universally, the practice of law involves a lot of reading and a lot of writing. And it's highly technical reading and writing: reading statutes, regulations, judicial and administrative opinions, treatises, and technical journals. It also involves heavy use of databases for complicated, time-consuming research. It involves writing memos, briefs, and transactional documents, with page counts often numbering in the hundreds.

Third, you should be someone with an intense detail orientation. In litigation, weeks, months, even years are spent on disputes over the most minor of details. The meaning of a word, the date of an invent, the failure to follow the most complicated and painstaking procedures. In major transactions, even at the highest levels, lawyers are dealing with the nuances of corporate structures and voting requirements and filing dates. And don't forget the nitty-gritty details of the finished product. Citations, footnotes, grammar, typefaces, headings, margins. This is the stuff of lawyering.

Fourth, you should at least understand that many if not most desirable legal jobs are business and finance oriented. The biggest legal market in the country is in New York because Wall Street is in New York. Big and medium-sized law firms have businesses for clients. So do many small law firms. And a lot of the best government work is also primarily in the field of business regulation. Think DOJ Antitrust, SEC, FTC, etc. A lot of law students become disillusioned when they go to law school wanting to "help people" only to discover that most good legal jobs are all about business and finance.

Fifth, you should consider that the law tends to be a solitary profession. All that research and reading and writing and detail work is done sitting at your desk, by yourself. Negotiating? Business people do most of the negotiating. Trial work? Most lawyers don't spend much time in court. Litigation is characterized by motion practice (more writing) and discovery (more reading). It is not the most social of professions.

I would strongly consider whether this sounds good to you before taking the plunge.

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sinfiery
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby sinfiery » Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:57 am

Is grammar really important or can I pawn it off to Watson??


Thank you for the post!

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Scotusnerd
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby Scotusnerd » Wed Jun 05, 2013 7:30 am

Bronte wrote:Fifth, you should consider that the law tends to be a solitary profession. All that research and reading and writing and detail work is done sitting at your desk, by yourself. Negotiating? Business people do most of the negotiating. Trial work? Most lawyers don't spend much time in court. Litigation is characterized by motion practice (more writing) and discovery (more reading). It is not the most social of professions.

I would strongly consider whether this sounds good to you before taking the plunge.


Hey Bronte, you made a really good post, thanks for sharing that. I have to add one caveat about the fifth thing though: depending on where you are, law can be social. I work in an office where we all wander around and ask questions for most of the day. A lot of lawyering seems to be keeping up with other lawyers out here: everyone knows everybody and knows where the skeletons are buried. Also, you have to have some love of socializing to do trial work: you are advocating orally to another person (generally a judge) for a living.

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Nothing but the Funk
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby Nothing but the Funk » Wed Jun 05, 2013 9:40 am

thelawdoctor wrote:
Nothing but the Funk wrote:I'm going to law school to have a shot a well paying job that will open up doors for me so I can make connections that will help me get to my goal of being a judge.


what kind of judge are you thinking? When I did my internships in Administrative Law, I noticed that many ALJ seem to just show up and get the job for being the only person in line. Not as respected as other courts, and tend to pay less, but it lets you call yourself "judge".



Thanks for the info. Honestly, I haven't thought that much about what court I want to be in. Just because I have 2 years of undergrad, 3 years of law school, and probably at least two or three years of big law to pay back loans first.

By chance do you know how easy it would be to move from one type of court to another once your foot is in the door?

thelawdoctor
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby thelawdoctor » Wed Jun 05, 2013 7:18 pm

sinfiery wrote:Is grammar really important or can I pawn it off to Watson??


Thank you for the post!


grammar has zero value in law school (beyond law review and LRW)

thelawdoctor
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby thelawdoctor » Wed Jun 05, 2013 7:19 pm

Nothing but the Funk wrote:
thelawdoctor wrote:
Nothing but the Funk wrote:I'm going to law school to have a shot a well paying job that will open up doors for me so I can make connections that will help me get to my goal of being a judge.


what kind of judge are you thinking? When I did my internships in Administrative Law, I noticed that many ALJ seem to just show up and get the job for being the only person in line. Not as respected as other courts, and tend to pay less, but it lets you call yourself "judge".



Thanks for the info. Honestly, I haven't thought that much about what court I want to be in. Just because I have 2 years of undergrad, 3 years of law school, and probably at least two or three years of big law to pay back loans first.

By chance do you know how easy it would be to move from one type of court to another once your foot is in the door?

You only had 2 years of undergrad?

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sinfiery
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby sinfiery » Wed Jun 05, 2013 7:40 pm

thelawdoctor wrote:
sinfiery wrote:Is grammar really important or can I pawn it off to Watson??


Thank you for the post!


grammar has zero value in law school (beyond law review and LRW)


Amazing!
Probably the best reason for me to go to law school

thelawdoctor
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby thelawdoctor » Wed Jun 05, 2013 7:43 pm

sinfiery wrote:
thelawdoctor wrote:
sinfiery wrote:Is grammar really important or can I pawn it off to Watson??


Thank you for the post!


grammar has zero value in law school (beyond law review and LRW)


Amazing!
Probably the best reason for me to go to law school

:wink:

You only need basic grade school level math too! (have to be to contribution and small stuff like that but not much more)

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Scotusnerd
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby Scotusnerd » Wed Jun 05, 2013 7:54 pm

thelawdoctor wrote:grammar has zero value in law school (beyond law review and LRW)


Wait until you do statutory construction arguments. I never want to argue about placement of a semicolon again.

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Birdnals
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby Birdnals » Wed Jun 05, 2013 7:59 pm

NoodleyOne wrote:Models and Bottles baby.

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Clyde Frog
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby Clyde Frog » Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:02 am

Birdnals wrote:
NoodleyOne wrote:Models and Bottles baby.



You have the funniest avatar I've ever seen

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ManOfTheMinute
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby ManOfTheMinute » Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:12 am


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suralin
better than you
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby suralin » Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:37 am

Bronte wrote:After having done law school already, here are some factors I think you guys should consider in making your decision.

First, you should have determined that law school is a good investment. This is not the same as wanting to make good money. While wanting to make good money is natural, you should determine that the school you are attending, taking into account your scholarship package and opportunity costs, will give you a good chance of making money. In wonky economics terms, you should attempt to verify that law school will yield a positive net present value. This is discussed a lot on this forum (although usually in an ad hoc fashion), so I'll leave it at that.

Second, you should enjoy technical reading, research, and writing. Almost universally, the practice of law involves a lot of reading and a lot of writing. And it's highly technical reading and writing: reading statutes, regulations, judicial and administrative opinions, treatises, and technical journals. It also involves heavy use of databases for complicated, time-consuming research. It involves writing memos, briefs, and transactional documents, with page counts often numbering in the hundreds.

Third, you should be someone with an intense detail orientation. In litigation, weeks, months, even years are spent on disputes over the most minor of details. The meaning of a word, the date of an invent, the failure to follow the most complicated and painstaking procedures. In major transactions, even at the highest levels, lawyers are dealing with the nuances of corporate structures and voting requirements and filing dates. And don't forget the nitty-gritty details of the finished product. Citations, footnotes, grammar, typefaces, headings, margins. This is the stuff of lawyering.

Fourth, you should at least understand that many if not most desirable legal jobs are business and finance oriented. The biggest legal market in the country is in New York because Wall Street is in New York. Big and medium-sized law firms have businesses for clients. So do many small law firms. And a lot of the best government work is also primarily in the field of business regulation. Think DOJ Antitrust, SEC, FTC, etc. A lot of law students become disillusioned when they go to law school wanting to "help people" only to discover that most good legal jobs are all about business and finance.

Fifth, you should consider that the law tends to be a solitary profession. All that research and reading and writing and detail work is done sitting at your desk, by yourself. Negotiating? Business people do most of the negotiating. Trial work? Most lawyers don't spend much time in court. Litigation is characterized by motion practice (more writing) and discovery (more reading). It is not the most social of professions.

I would strongly consider whether this sounds good to you before taking the plunge.


This was extremely informative, thanks!

And I feel weird for admitting this, but yes, as an introvert who enjoys being nitpicky/pedantic and who really does like technical reading and writing, that does sound good to me. :lol:

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Clyde Frog
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby Clyde Frog » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:46 am

ManOfTheMinute wrote:http://youtu.be/kTqlWhwTILw



I always picture this song playing in the background while I 180 the LSAT.

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Nothing but the Funk
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby Nothing but the Funk » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:49 am

thelawdoctor wrote:
Nothing but the Funk wrote:
thelawdoctor wrote:
Nothing but the Funk wrote:I'm going to law school to have a shot a well paying job that will open up doors for me so I can make connections that will help me get to my goal of being a judge.


what kind of judge are you thinking? When I did my internships in Administrative Law, I noticed that many ALJ seem to just show up and get the job for being the only person in line. Not as respected as other courts, and tend to pay less, but it lets you call yourself "judge".



Thanks for the info. Honestly, I haven't thought that much about what court I want to be in. Just because I have 2 years of undergrad, 3 years of law school, and probably at least two or three years of big law to pay back loans first.

By chance do you know how easy it would be to move from one type of court to another once your foot is in the door?

You only had 2 years of undergrad?


I've got two years of undergrad left. I'm only a junior currently. Sorry for the confusion.

thelawdoctor
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby thelawdoctor » Thu Jun 06, 2013 9:33 pm

It's ok. Some states will let you in with only the two years.

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rftdd888
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby rftdd888 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 3:51 am

i always wanted to be a lawyer. i know it is for me because i feel just as sure about it at 22 as i did at 14, for completely different yet entirely sufficient reasons. perhaps i could have been a journalist, but i never thought i was curious enough for that job. considered teaching, yet the realm of classrooms/academia felt constricting. when i was a kid i felt like lawyers were important because they manipulated laws. whether or not i could have articulated the feeling back then, i understood that law was the fabric of my society and subsequently those who practiced law held special importance -> at least in my eyes.

when i got older i did the normal research we all have, and i kept digging and searching for information on the profession. it always remained my goal, through college, everything. i read all about the profession. i read fifty million times how awful the profession was, how the actual practice of law is nothing like prospective students expect or desire, it's a fool's gamble, et cetera. i reached out to tons of different attorneys, both in real life and on the internet. from prosecutors at the state and federal level, public defenders, personal injury lawyers, criminal defense attorneys, biglaw attorneys midlaw attorneys JAG lawyers AUSA's, read and reread many of their experiences and accepted everything with a very open mind. i learned a lot about the profession from lawyers i would smoke cigars with at a local cigar shop, or connect with through university or on the internet.

out of all of the paths i considered, i never felt a better option was available to me. i have tried to examine all aspects and develop backup plans upon backup plans. i'm optimistic and excited about doing the work, and i am confident that success will come with hard work. when i was considering careers i wanted something that would give me the opportunity to impact people's lives. i am interested in doing it this way, so it is my gamble to take.

vinnnyvincenzo
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby vinnnyvincenzo » Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:27 pm

I want to learn what my possible defense will be for if/when I inevitably get arrested for dealing drugs.

whereskyle
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby whereskyle » Fri Jun 07, 2013 4:43 pm

So, does anyone want to chime in, who wanted to go to law school in order to serve the impoverished/defend the indefensible/defend the constitution, who feels that they realized that dream? I decided to decline UVA at sticker, because I simply don't want to be helping the richest save bucks and get away with shit in order to pay back my debt. Now, I'm interested in going to LS at low cost, so I can do the kind of work (low-paying as it is) that I want to do without the debt. Anyone want to inspire me with a story of this being possible, if one truly wants it? Also, anyone want to tell me about how much they love their crim law work? I've heard that the most important factor in securing a PD job is demonstrating your commitment to the cause, as much as it is school rank. Anyone want to verify that last point?

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Bobson
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby Bobson » Fri Jun 07, 2013 5:26 pm

I want to be a lawyer because I want to prosecute criminals, and I know I'll be good at it. After working in a state prison, I've decided I would much rather put additional criminals where they belong, than babysit the ones who are already there.

Whether that's military law (I'm an Air Force vet) or working for a county attorney office is fine with me.

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Bronte
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby Bronte » Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:10 pm

whereskyle wrote:I decided to decline UVA at sticker, because I simply don't want to be helping the richest save bucks and get away with shit in order to pay back my debt.


This isn't an accurate characterization of big law, and its implicit moral judgment is dubious. Though this kind of mentality does make my point as to why a lot of people end up miserable in the profession. As to people who went to law school and succeeded in getting public interest work, I know a few.

Bobson wrote:I want to be a lawyer because I want to prosecute criminals, and I know I'll be good at it. After working in a state prison, I've decided I would much rather put additional criminals where they belong, than babysit the ones who are already there.

Whether that's military law (I'm an Air Force vet) or working for a county attorney office is fine with me.


This post back-to-back and contrasted with whereskyle's is pretty hilarious. Yet I would likewise encourage you to reexamine this sentiment.

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MKX
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby MKX » Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:16 pm

Strangely I find law interesting.


The real reason though. I'm boring. I enjoy boring. I love money. Boring but not always so repetitive. Oh and I love the office setting. Mainly because its boring. Law does interest me too.

100% serious post. I love girls, money, sports, and boring.

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sinfiery
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby sinfiery » Sat Jun 08, 2013 3:31 pm

whereskyle wrote:So, does anyone want to chime in, who wanted to go to law school in order to serve the impoverished/defend the indefensible/defend the constitution, who feels that they realized that dream? I decided to decline UVA at sticker, because I simply don't want to be helping the richest save bucks and get away with shit in order to pay back my debt. Now, I'm interested in going to LS at low cost, so I can do the kind of work (low-paying as it is) that I want to do without the debt. Anyone want to inspire me with a story of this being possible, if one truly wants it? Also, anyone want to tell me about how much they love their crim law work? I've heard that the most important factor in securing a PD job is demonstrating your commitment to the cause, as much as it is school rank. Anyone want to verify that last point?

PLSF bro. Debt free in 10 years if you do PI for 10 years.



You and bobson can make your own comic strip

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rftdd888
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby rftdd888 » Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:25 pm

whereskyle wrote:So, does anyone want to chime in, who wanted to go to law school in order to serve the impoverished/defend the indefensible/defend the constitution, who feels that they realized that dream? I decided to decline UVA at sticker, because I simply don't want to be helping the richest save bucks and get away with shit in order to pay back my debt. Now, I'm interested in going to LS at low cost, so I can do the kind of work (low-paying as it is) that I want to do without the debt. Anyone want to inspire me with a story of this being possible, if one truly wants it? Also, anyone want to tell me about how much they love their crim law work? I've heard that the most important factor in securing a PD job is demonstrating your commitment to the cause, as much as it is school rank. Anyone want to verify that last point?


it's possible if one truly wants it, nobody should have to tell you that. one thing I could recommend is getting a crim law attorney POV, which you can actually find if you search for the law school sections on reddit they have AMAs with practicing attorneys who offer the type of info you might be asking for.

I've always had an interest in public interest and criminal law, but I really don't think you can decide on any of that until you get to law school. Is biglaw for me, or a smaller firm job, or public interest, prosecuting, defending...? Hard to figure it out as an 0L. You can give yourself a ton of options by trying to get money at a good school. Are you retaking at all or something?

thelawdoctor
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Re: Why do you want to go to law school?

Postby thelawdoctor » Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:40 pm

Bobson wrote:I want to be a lawyer because I want to prosecute criminals, and I know I'll be good at it. After working in a state prison, I've decided I would much rather put additional criminals where they belong, than babysit the ones who are already there.

Whether that's military law (I'm an Air Force vet) or working for a county attorney office is fine with me.


knowing you hate the enemy doesn't mean you'll do a good job




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