Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

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anattorney
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Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby anattorney » Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:14 pm

I have been practicing for 5 years. I see typical traits among classmates and more senior attorneys who "fit in" with practicing law and those who don't or who are actively looking to get out. This is not about the job market since that is discussed endlessly. This is about whether, assuming you can get a job, you would actually feel reasonable professional and personal fulfillment as an attorney.

Describe your personality, interests, priorities, life goals, etc. and I will help you assess whether being an attorney is a decent fit.

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Danger Zone
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Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby Danger Zone » Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:16 pm

I enjoy meaningless bullshit. Thoughts?

anattorney
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Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby anattorney » Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:28 pm

There is ample room to pursue your love of meaningless bullshit in the law.

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midwest17
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Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby midwest17 » Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:30 pm

What kind of law do you practice? Or do you think your 5 years of experience is sufficient to judge whether people will do well as attorneys, no matter what specific career path they take?

anattorney
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Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby anattorney » Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:38 pm

I practice family law currently. I was previously in biglaw/corporate. But yes, I think my experience is sufficient to have a good idea of whether people will do well as an attorney. It's not just my work experience but knowing a bunch of attorneys at various stages in their careers. There are pretty consistent characteristics between attorneys who really enjoy their jobs and those who don't.

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Danger Zone
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Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby Danger Zone » Sat Oct 12, 2013 3:42 pm

Any characteristics in particular that stand out to you?

anattorney
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Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby anattorney » Sat Oct 12, 2013 4:04 pm

Off the top of my head, some things that stand out among attorneys who are not happy:

Had some other career they wanted to pursue but did not because it was impractical or they saw a low probability of success.
Went to law school for perceived economic advantages only compared to other career fields they were considering.
Place more value on personal relationships and interpersonal harmony than rational thought/analysis.
Became a lawyer because they wanted to help people.
Is the type of person who wants to please everyone or dislikes it when people are angry/upset with them.
Have an anxiety disorder - being a lawyer will make your anxiety disorder worse because part of your job is to always be thinking of everything that can possibly go wrong.

Some things that stand out among attorneys who are happy or happy-ish:

Have a competitive aspect to their personality - true for both transactional and litigation, IMO.
Are detail oriented or at the very least, do not actively dislike detail-oriented stuff.
View professional competence and acclaim as one of their main life goals.
Didn't mind or possibly enjoyed taking the LSAT. Get real enjoyment/thrill out of taking apart arguments (at least for litigators, may not apply as much for transactional attorneys).
Is comfortable with making difficult/risky decisions.

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jordan15
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Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby jordan15 » Sat Oct 12, 2013 4:52 pm

Do you feel, especially working for corporate, that you are often on the "wrong" side of the law? Do you get to do pro bono that you feel is intrinsically rewarding?

anattorney
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Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby anattorney » Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:08 pm

jordan15 wrote:Do you feel, especially working for corporate, that you are often on the "wrong" side of the law? Do you get to do pro bono that you feel is intrinsically rewarding?


This is a good question .

I do not do corporate now but I think that there is more room to feel that you are on the "wrong" side of the law in litigation. My brief experience in corporate was basically just doing deals between huge/powerful entities. I didn't care about it much, which for me, is a deal killer in my career, as I need to care about the work I am doing to feel fulfilled (some people don't). I switched to family law because I don't care about corporations, I care about people. But I at least felt morally neutral about it. On the other hand, in litigation you may often find yourself on the "wrong" side of a dispute.

Some people are bothered by this and some aren't. The fact that you are asking this question at all tells me that you are probably the type of person who would be bothered by this. If you are looking towards pro bono as a way to "compensate" for work that is not fundamentally in line with your principles, you probably will not be happy in any firm where you don't have a measure of control over the clients that you work for and the cases that you work on. Obviously as a fledgling attorney you won't get this anywhere, but when you look at your long-term path, think seriously about this.

No job is going to be 100% in line with all your ideals all of the time, but it feels pretty terrible to have to put your efforts into something you find repugnant.

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Otunga
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Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby Otunga » Sat Oct 12, 2013 5:38 pm

I'm making a reply semi-based on the criteria you suggested above.

There is a career I'd love to break into eventually - film, and more particularly, screenwriting. I like to write similar things in my spare time and will probably finish a project or two over the next year (a gap year). So, on this front, law school may not be a good idea.

However, I don't hit any of the other 'bad' things for law that you mentioned above.

Additionally, I satisfy all of the 'good' law things that you mentioned above outside of the desire to attain professional competence as some life goal (seems hollow). I take this goal to mean I have a desire simply to tell people that I practice law to feel a sense of superiority. If it means something more along the lines of having a desire for professional stability, then yes, I would like that.

As for whether I think defending corporations on trial is taking the "wrong side", I'm not sure - but neither would I expect to become a trial lawyer anyway. I'd see myself more in the area of helping with transactions between corporations. As I think you suggested, that seems more morally neutral than anything else.

anattorney
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Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby anattorney » Sat Oct 12, 2013 6:30 pm

If you want to continue to pursue screenwriting, I think the main issue with being a lawyer is the extent to which the job is going to exhaust you mentally and leave you with no motivation and time to pursue other projects. Some lawyer jobs won't do this, but they are probably more the exception than the rule. I'm not saying it would be impossible to write a screenplay while you are working in biglaw, but you would be stacking the deck heavily against yourself. Also, it would be pretty hard (although again not impossible) to work on screenplays during law school.

Also, I don't know if you would need to take out loans for law school, but I would probably stay away from getting a "pay the bills" job that required you to take out loans. If you do something else for a few years while you are trying to break into screenwriting, law school will still be there.

Do you have any other options you are considering besides law school?

As far as professional stability goes, being a lawyer doesn't necessarily put you in that category anymore. If you are at a biglaw firm it is up or out and they have no compunctions about layoffs, if you are at a small firm you need to bring in business after a few years which is not easy, if you are a government employee you may get tanked due to budget cuts. Being a lawyer is not necessarily LESS stable than other careers, but I wouldn't say it's more stable either. Also, biglaw is kind of a trap in that although it is the most "prestigious" job you can get out of law school, it is also the job in which you are least likely to acquire actual lawyering skills in your first couple of years that would help you get another job if you get laid off.

By attaining professional competence as a life goal, I didn't necessarily mean just wanting to tell someone you are a lawyer to feel superior, but rather, you have sort of a traditional view of "prestige" and you want to be in that category. Competence was probably not the best word to use. E.g., if you could make the same amount of money in a complete 9-5 job and have time to pursue your screenwriting, but society "looked down" on that job for some reason, would you still want to do it? I think people who really like being a lawyer, derive a deeper sense of satisfaction about the title of "lawyer" and the role that they see lawyers playing in society than the people who don't.


Otunga wrote:I'm making a reply semi-based on the criteria you suggested above.

There is a career I'd love to break into eventually - film, and more particularly, screenwriting. I like to write similar things in my spare time and will probably finish a project or two over the next year (a gap year). So, on this front, law school may not be a good idea.

However, I don't hit any of the other 'bad' things for law that you mentioned above.

Additionally, I satisfy all of the 'good' law things that you mentioned above outside of the desire to attain professional competence as some life goal (seems hollow). I take this goal to mean I have a desire simply to tell people that I practice law to feel a sense of superiority. If it means something more along the lines of having a desire for professional stability, then yes, I would like that.

As for whether I think defending corporations on trial is taking the "wrong side", I'm not sure - but neither would I expect to become a trial lawyer anyway. I'd see myself more in the area of helping with transactions between corporations. As I think you suggested, that seems more morally neutral than anything else.

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jordan15
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Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby jordan15 » Sat Oct 12, 2013 7:42 pm

anattorney wrote:
jordan15 wrote:Do you feel, especially working for corporate, that you are often on the "wrong" side of the law? Do you get to do pro bono that you feel is intrinsically rewarding?


This is a good question .

I do not do corporate now but I think that there is more room to feel that you are on the "wrong" side of the law in litigation. My brief experience in corporate was basically just doing deals between huge/powerful entities. I didn't care about it much, which for me, is a deal killer in my career, as I need to care about the work I am doing to feel fulfilled (some people don't). I switched to family law because I don't care about corporations, I care about people. But I at least felt morally neutral about it. On the other hand, in litigation you may often find yourself on the "wrong" side of a dispute.

Some people are bothered by this and some aren't. The fact that you are asking this question at all tells me that you are probably the type of person who would be bothered by this. If you are looking towards pro bono as a way to "compensate" for work that is not fundamentally in line with your principles, you probably will not be happy in any firm where you don't have a measure of control over the clients that you work for and the cases that you work on. Obviously as a fledgling attorney you won't get this anywhere, but when you look at your long-term path, think seriously about this.

No job is going to be 100% in line with all your ideals all of the time, but it feels pretty terrible to have to put your efforts into something you find repugnant.


Thanks. I fit all of your "good qualities" (except maybe the risky decisions one) and I'm not opposed to working for corporate interests, but there are obviously boundaries where I would definitely hate my life (working for BP, defending Zimmerman, etc) and I worry that what I view as "extreme" is actually a large majority of high paying jobs. I'm not so idealistic to think that I'm going to only work for international human rights but explicitly helping corporations screw over the little people would be upsetting.

I like what you said about feeling "morally neutral" towards doing deals between large corporations. That sounds fine with me :). I'd still feel better doing some pro bono that I feel "morally positive" about, but as long as I'm not helping corporations club baby seals, I'm good.

Thanks again.

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bizzybone1313
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Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby bizzybone1313 » Sat Oct 12, 2013 7:54 pm

jordan15 wrote:
anattorney wrote:
jordan15 wrote:Do you feel, especially working for corporate, that you are often on the "wrong" side of the law? Do you get to do pro bono that you feel is intrinsically rewarding?


This is a good question .

I do not do corporate now but I think that there is more room to feel that you are on the "wrong" side of the law in litigation. My brief experience in corporate was basically just doing deals between huge/powerful entities. I didn't care about it much, which for me, is a deal killer in my career, as I need to care about the work I am doing to feel fulfilled (some people don't). I switched to family law because I don't care about corporations, I care about people. But I at least felt morally neutral about it. On the other hand, in litigation you may often find yourself on the "wrong" side of a dispute.

Some people are bothered by this and some aren't. The fact that you are asking this question at all tells me that you are probably the type of person who would be bothered by this. If you are looking towards pro bono as a way to "compensate" for work that is not fundamentally in line with your principles, you probably will not be happy in any firm where you don't have a measure of control over the clients that you work for and the cases that you work on. Obviously as a fledgling attorney you won't get this anywhere, but when you look at your long-term path, think seriously about this.

No job is going to be 100% in line with all your ideals all of the time, but it feels pretty terrible to have to put your efforts into something you find repugnant.


Thanks. I fit all of your "good qualities" (except maybe the risky decisions one) and I'm not opposed to working for corporate interests, but there are obviously boundaries where I would definitely hate my life (working for BP, defending Zimmerman, etc) and I worry that what I view as "extreme" is actually a large majority of high paying jobs. I'm not so idealistic to think that I'm going to only work for international human rights but explicitly helping corporations screw over the little people would be upsetting.

I like what you said about feeling "morally neutral" towards doing deals between large corporations. That sounds fine with me :). I'd still feel better doing some pro bono that I feel "morally positive" about, but as long as I'm not helping corporations club baby seals, I'm good.

Thanks again.


Lol. "As long as I'm not helping corporations club baby seals." 180 post. I lol'ed hard.

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bizzybone1313
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Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby bizzybone1313 » Sat Oct 12, 2013 7:58 pm

OP, are we making possibly the biggest mistakes of our lives by wanting to attend law school? I get this nagging sense that this could backfire on us on a very life ruining level. I, for example, want to practice immigration or plaintiff side employment law. These areas of law seem to fit a very healthy balance between helping people and making money as an attorney. I think immigration law is far more realistic than plaintiff side employment law. Plaintiff side employment law seems more unicorny and difficult to actually get.

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mr. wednesday
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Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby mr. wednesday » Sat Oct 12, 2013 8:01 pm

bizzybone1313 wrote:OP, are we making possibly the biggest mistakes of our lives by wanting to attend law school? I get this nagging sense that this could backfire on us on a very life ruining level. I, for example, want to practice immigration or plaintiff side employment law. These areas of law seem to fit a very healthy balance between helping people and making money as an attorney. I think immigration law is far more realistic than plaintiff side employment law. Plaintiff side employment law seems more unicorny and difficult to actually get.


Sort of an odd two options. They are very different in practice; one involves a lot of settlement, negotiations, litigation, and the other is almost entirely statutory and paperwork. Unless you mean removal, which is more like being a PD than anything else.

Just don't go into debt for either of those options.

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Otunga
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Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby Otunga » Sat Oct 12, 2013 9:55 pm

anattorney wrote:If you want to continue to pursue screenwriting, I think the main issue with being a lawyer is the extent to which the job is going to exhaust you mentally and leave you with no motivation and time to pursue other projects. Some lawyer jobs won't do this, but they are probably more the exception than the rule. I'm not saying it would be impossible to write a screenplay while you are working in biglaw, but you would be stacking the deck heavily against yourself. Also, it would be pretty hard (although again not impossible) to work on screenplays during law school.

Also, I don't know if you would need to take out loans for law school, but I would probably stay away from getting a "pay the bills" job that required you to take out loans. If you do something else for a few years while you are trying to break into screenwriting, law school will still be there.

Do you have any other options you are considering besides law school?

As far as professional stability goes, being a lawyer doesn't necessarily put you in that category anymore. If you are at a biglaw firm it is up or out and they have no compunctions about layoffs, if you are at a small firm you need to bring in business after a few years which is not easy, if you are a government employee you may get tanked due to budget cuts. Being a lawyer is not necessarily LESS stable than other careers, but I wouldn't say it's more stable either. Also, biglaw is kind of a trap in that although it is the most "prestigious" job you can get out of law school, it is also the job in which you are least likely to acquire actual lawyering skills in your first couple of years that would help you get another job if you get laid off.

By attaining professional competence as a life goal, I didn't necessarily mean just wanting to tell someone you are a lawyer to feel superior, but rather, you have sort of a traditional view of "prestige" and you want to be in that category. Competence was probably not the best word to use. E.g., if you could make the same amount of money in a complete 9-5 job and have time to pursue your screenwriting, but society "looked down" on that job for some reason, would you still want to do it? I think people who really like being a lawyer, derive a deeper sense of satisfaction about the title of "lawyer" and the role that they see lawyers playing in society than the people who don't.


Otunga wrote:I'm making a reply semi-based on the criteria you suggested above.

There is a career I'd love to break into eventually - film, and more particularly, screenwriting. I like to write similar things in my spare time and will probably finish a project or two over the next year (a gap year). So, on this front, law school may not be a good idea.

However, I don't hit any of the other 'bad' things for law that you mentioned above.

Additionally, I satisfy all of the 'good' law things that you mentioned above outside of the desire to attain professional competence as some life goal (seems hollow). I take this goal to mean I have a desire simply to tell people that I practice law to feel a sense of superiority. If it means something more along the lines of having a desire for professional stability, then yes, I would like that.

As for whether I think defending corporations on trial is taking the "wrong side", I'm not sure - but neither would I expect to become a trial lawyer anyway. I'd see myself more in the area of helping with transactions between corporations. As I think you suggested, that seems more morally neutral than anything else.


Thoughtful reply. Another option I'd consider is teaching in high school, though that'd probably require further study in some form, too. As for whether I care if society looks down upon the job I do, I don't care either way. Law doesn't appeal to me for the prestige, but for the skillset required (assuming the job is fairly kind to introverts as many lawyer jobs seem to be).

I'm with you on being debt-averse, especially in the case of just grabbing a "pay the bills" job while pursuing something more enjoyable. However, I've always seen screenwriting as a hobby and not something I'd want to depend on. That said, would I like to have a successful project? Totally.

Sure enough, I'm in a situation many humanities majors find themselves in, sort of hanging onto a sort of idealist career in the background. However, I'm fairly confident I could be content in the legal profession, so this isn't to say that I'd see being a lawyer as a "pay the bills" diversion from my true passion, as I wouldn't even say I have a "true passion". I can say that teaching probably isn't something I'd like to do for any extended period (I sub sometimes.), while law appears more accommodating to my personality. (Ironically, I'm not one for coveting personal relationships and am instead more analytic and detached. You'd think someone wanting to write about characters would be more comfortable with such things.)

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Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby anattorney » Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:00 pm

If you have the nagging sense that this could backfire on you, you could very well be right. Are there any other careers you are considering? What exactly appeals to you about being a lawyer?

I don't know that much about the immigration job market. It doesn't strike me as a practice area that would be particularly lucrative, though, depending on what type of clients you are envisioning. As for plaintiff's litigation, I don't think it is necessarily "unicorny", but it requires a lot more risk tolerance than many other areas and most law students don't go to law school because they want to take risks. You would probably have to do a lot of networking to find a position, starting like now.

The above poster makes a good point too in that although two areas may seem sort of similar in terms of "helping people", your day to day is going to be a lot different.

bizzybone1313 wrote:OP, are we making possibly the biggest mistakes of our lives by wanting to attend law school? I get this nagging sense that this could backfire on us on a very life ruining level. I, for example, want to practice immigration or plaintiff side employment law. These areas of law seem to fit a very healthy balance between helping people and making money as an attorney. I think immigration law is far more realistic than plaintiff side employment law. Plaintiff side employment law seems more unicorny and difficult to actually get.

anattorney
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Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby anattorney » Sat Oct 12, 2013 10:11 pm

Do you know what kind of legal job you want? I would say that biglaw and government work are pretty introvert-friendly, but any kind of job where you will eventually be expected to bring in clients (and not just inherit institutional clients), you will have to be OK with networking and marketing yourself. (This is of course a helpful skill to have in lots of jobs, even if it doesn't come naturally. I am an introvert, and while I used to hate that kind of stuff with a passion, I've been able to get better at it with time. I'm a social and friendly person, but I hate icebreaker/schmoozing type conversation). Also you have to consider the client contact angle which varies widely with type of job.

What about trying to get a job as a paralegal for a year or two before you decide if you want to go to law school? They make pretty good money.

Whatever you end up doing, just don't stop your writing or the creative activities that bring you fulfillment - I think there are many frustrated creative lawyers out there who feel like it is "pointless" to do something if they aren't making a living off of it or aren't the best at it.

Otunga wrote:
anattorney wrote:If you want to continue to pursue screenwriting, I think the main issue with being a lawyer is the extent to which the job is going to exhaust you mentally and leave you with no motivation and time to pursue other projects. Some lawyer jobs won't do this, but they are probably more the exception than the rule. I'm not saying it would be impossible to write a screenplay while you are working in biglaw, but you would be stacking the deck heavily against yourself. Also, it would be pretty hard (although again not impossible) to work on screenplays during law school.

Also, I don't know if you would need to take out loans for law school, but I would probably stay away from getting a "pay the bills" job that required you to take out loans. If you do something else for a few years while you are trying to break into screenwriting, law school will still be there.

Do you have any other options you are considering besides law school?

As far as professional stability goes, being a lawyer doesn't necessarily put you in that category anymore. If you are at a biglaw firm it is up or out and they have no compunctions about layoffs, if you are at a small firm you need to bring in business after a few years which is not easy, if you are a government employee you may get tanked due to budget cuts. Being a lawyer is not necessarily LESS stable than other careers, but I wouldn't say it's more stable either. Also, biglaw is kind of a trap in that although it is the most "prestigious" job you can get out of law school, it is also the job in which you are least likely to acquire actual lawyering skills in your first couple of years that would help you get another job if you get laid off.

By attaining professional competence as a life goal, I didn't necessarily mean just wanting to tell someone you are a lawyer to feel superior, but rather, you have sort of a traditional view of "prestige" and you want to be in that category. Competence was probably not the best word to use. E.g., if you could make the same amount of money in a complete 9-5 job and have time to pursue your screenwriting, but society "looked down" on that job for some reason, would you still want to do it? I think people who really like being a lawyer, derive a deeper sense of satisfaction about the title of "lawyer" and the role that they see lawyers playing in society than the people who don't.


Otunga wrote:I'm making a reply semi-based on the criteria you suggested above.

There is a career I'd love to break into eventually - film, and more particularly, screenwriting. I like to write similar things in my spare time and will probably finish a project or two over the next year (a gap year). So, on this front, law school may not be a good idea.

However, I don't hit any of the other 'bad' things for law that you mentioned above.

Additionally, I satisfy all of the 'good' law things that you mentioned above outside of the desire to attain professional competence as some life goal (seems hollow). I take this goal to mean I have a desire simply to tell people that I practice law to feel a sense of superiority. If it means something more along the lines of having a desire for professional stability, then yes, I would like that.

As for whether I think defending corporations on trial is taking the "wrong side", I'm not sure - but neither would I expect to become a trial lawyer anyway. I'd see myself more in the area of helping with transactions between corporations. As I think you suggested, that seems more morally neutral than anything else.


Thoughtful reply. Another option I'd consider is teaching in high school, though that'd probably require further study in some form, too. As for whether I care if society looks down upon the job I do, I don't care either way. Law doesn't appeal to me for the prestige, but for the skillset required (assuming the job is fairly kind to introverts as many lawyer jobs seem to be).

I'm with you on being debt-averse, especially in the case of just grabbing a "pay the bills" job while pursuing something more enjoyable. However, I've always seen screenwriting as a hobby and not something I'd want to depend on. That said, would I like to have a successful project? Totally.

Sure enough, I'm in a situation many humanities majors find themselves in, sort of hanging onto a sort of idealist career in the background. However, I'm fairly confident I could be content in the legal profession, so this isn't to say that I'd see being a lawyer as a "pay the bills" diversion from my true passion, as I wouldn't even say I have a "true passion". I can say that teaching probably isn't something I'd like to do for any extended period (I sub sometimes.), while law appears more accommodating to my personality. (Ironically, I'm not one for coveting personal relationships and am instead more analytic and detached. You'd think someone wanting to write about characters would be more comfortable with such things.)

ZVBXRPL
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Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby ZVBXRPL » Sun Oct 13, 2013 12:11 am

Great thread.
Last edited by ZVBXRPL on Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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manofjustice
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Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby manofjustice » Sun Oct 13, 2013 11:56 am

I know this isn't about the job market, but...

If you really want to be a lawyer: this doesn't mean you should go to law school. Would you agree? It's like thinking about whether to propose to a really hot, wonderful girl. You couldn't imagine being with anybody else. Your subconscious tells you to quit because she's more likely to leave you and you'll be more hurt when she does. That's not an irrational motivation.

Well, you love the law and couldn't imagine doing anything else. Do you really want to put yourself through this job market?

It's worse than with the girl--at least the girl ends things so you can eventually move on. With law, you'll keep going. Loving law so much, you'll be less likely to drop out law school, less likely to switch careers, more likely to double down, and so more likely to end up mid-life without a career or financial security.

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Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby anattorney » Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:14 pm

ZVB,

"More street smart than book smart" is the classic solo lawyer personality. As you suspect it is less well suited for biglaw. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't try out biglaw (if you can get it), but I would not attend law school or take out loans based on the assumption that you will have a long biglaw career.

Re: working long hours, there is a really big qualitative difference between working long hours building your own practice/business or working in a smaller practice for clients you are personally involved with and have a sense of ownership over the outcome of the case/transaction, vs working long hours when you are working on a tiny piece of a transaction or litigation that has been going on for 10+ years. "Having the power to help and change people's lives" -- helping and changing people's lives is not something that you get much of in biglaw.

As for seeing family and friends, the real problem with biglaw as a jr associate is not the hours per se but your lack of control. You are really expected to be accessible at all times and you never feel like you are "away" from the office. Every plan on your social calendar is tentative because a partner might need you to work on something at the last minute. This does vary somewhat from firm to firm and some people are better at setting their own limits than others, but overall there is just very little control.

I also don't know what "expensive LS" you are referring to, but if the expensive LS is not in the top 20 or so, I would never ever ever pay full sticker for it no matter what your career goals. I would only go to an online law school if you really want to be entrepreneurial/solo practitioner and just need the JD as a credential to do that, b/c you are going to have a tough time getting hired by someone else with a degree from an online law school.

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ghostofdreams
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Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby ghostofdreams » Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:07 am

It's been suggested that entering the legal market before considering or entering law school is an education in itself. Do you agree? If so, in what ways can a person enter into a job with some sort of legal capacity without a law degree or as a paralegal?

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bizzybone1313
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Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby bizzybone1313 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:17 am

We really appreciate you taking the time to do this.

Can you state if you yourself are happy being an attorney? What tier of law school did you graduate from? How many hours do you work? What kind of money do you make in terms of a ballpark range?

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KeepitKind
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Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby KeepitKind » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:01 am

Can you talk a little about your transition from transactional biglaw to family law? Did you join a small family law firm? Were you treated basically as a 1st yr associate when you switched over? Or did you have any skills that carried over into litigation and made you valuable right away?

No need to reveal anything too specific, just curious about the general switch from corporate biglaw to a smaller, litigation-based practice.

msilver4
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Re: Attorney taking questions on whether you should be a lawyer

Postby msilver4 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:40 pm

I'm so glad to see this post..

I went to a Big Ten school and majored in both journalism and political science. I've been working professionally as a journalist at a daily newspaper in a large city for two years. I really love journalism, but it's not a realistic career because of the pay, industry uncertainty, hours, etc. I took the LSAT in Oct. and I'm thinking about going into law instead. I'm a very competitive person and I know I would enjoy what I would learn in law school. I don't really know what kind of lawyer I would want to be yet, but I know I don't want to do big law.

I have a lot of the traits you listed as reasons not to go to school (I do care about my personal life, I want to help people...) But this seems like a really cynical way to go about law school.

Am I totally delusional to think that I could go to law school, find a job that will pay back my loans and make a comfortable living, make me happy, help people and not take over my whole personal life?




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