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Should I Go To Law School?

Posted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:39 pm
by mtn1995
Hi, all,

I've been having a great deal of second thoughts lately about going to law school. I originally decided to attend law school and become a lawyer to enter the public sector. If I became a lawyer, I would want to work with those groups that are normally assisted by public interest lawyers, including the poor, immigrants, or marginalized individuals.

However, I am struggling to decide if I could follow through with my genuine desire to help others by pursuing another career.

The study of law is fascinating to me. I am a logical, fact-oriented individual who enjoys reading, writing, researching, and being intellectually stimulated. I am very firmly set in my understandings of justice and the idea that justice should be available to all. The harsh reality that justice is oftentimes limited in its accessibility to many is a driving force behind my decision to become a lawyer. At the same time, I am not necessarily a confrontational or outspoken individual; I am reserved and introverted.

It seems that the majority of what I could accomplish with a law degree in the public interest field would, based upon my research, involve combatting adversarial individuals throughout the litigation process. While I enjoy learning about the law and am very passionate about helping others, I do not know if those two aspects would necessarily mesh well with the more typical routes taken by public interest lawyers, such as being public defenders or prosecutors. Because I am not a confrontational or aggressive person, I think I would seriously struggle in the kinds of work normally associated with public interest law.

I might just be over-thinking the entire situation, or I may just need to do some more research into what I could do in the public interest field with a law degree. I think the biggest problem is that I really don't have anyone to talk to about these thoughts who has experience in the public interest field. I was wondering if anyone on the message boards here could provide some insight? Any and all constructive suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I'm not going to be attending a top law school or anything like that, either, so I understand the need to attend a law school with as much financial assistance as possible to balance the low income accompanying a career in the public interest field.

Re: Should I Go To Law School?

Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:21 am
by cavalier1138
There are lots of PI positions that don't involve being in criminal trial law (and a lot of jackass PDs don't consider prosecutors to be in the public service, but that's their own hang-up).

Now, if you don't like the adversarial process of law, that might cut off a fair amount of PI work, because litigation is adversarial. But there are groups that do DV work, sex trafficking victims' advocacy, etc., where you are still doing advocacy but are less likely to find yourself yelling at someone across the aisle.

Re: Should I Go To Law School?

Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:32 am
by RCSOB657
Cavalier is absolutely on point.

International Justice Mission (ijm.org) is an example of advocacy legal work in the human trafficking field.

Re: Should I Go To Law School?

Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:03 am
by Johann
I think there's a good chance you'd be a good lawyer - lots of good lawyers have that personal profile. However, like you've pointed out, some of your post grad options if not going to a top law school will likely dea with confrontational litigation / stress (not all, and the extent of your ops will depend on your grades/networking and ability to think outside the box re your career). It's a personal decision that only you have the tools to make. As someone who's been practicing for roughly half a decade, I've seen a lot of people leave law because of the stress (at all different income/job type levels).

If you do go to law school with the intent of public service/public interest work, you should look into public service loan forgiveness (google PSLF) as a repayment method for your loans.

Re: Should I Go To Law School?

Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:57 pm
by mtn1995
I mean, when it comes to discussing something that I am very passionate about, I certainly do become more outspoken. If topics that I feel passionate about are debated in class, I become far more vocal than usual. Maybe that will factor into whether or not I can be confrontational as a public interest lawyer?

That being said, it is reassuring to know that I can use my law degree to work in a non-trial setting, like advocacy.

Re: Should I Go To Law School?

Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 6:24 pm
by cavalier1138
mtn1995 wrote:I mean, when it comes to discussing something that I am very passionate about, I certainly do become more outspoken. If topics that I feel passionate about are debated in class, I become far more vocal than usual. Maybe that will factor into whether or not I can be confrontational as a public interest lawyer?

That being said, it is reassuring to know that I can use my law degree to work in a non-trial setting, like advocacy.


It's not about being outspoken, and even people who do a lot of trial work do not spend most of their time arguing a case to a jury. I'd recommend looking for work at a PD office if that interests you, because you'll get to see what the attorneys do up close and personal.

Re: Should I Go To Law School?

Posted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:27 pm
by RCSOB657
cavalier1138 wrote:
mtn1995 wrote:I mean, when it comes to discussing something that I am very passionate about, I certainly do become more outspoken. If topics that I feel passionate about are debated in class, I become far more vocal than usual. Maybe that will factor into whether or not I can be confrontational as a public interest lawyer?

That being said, it is reassuring to know that I can use my law degree to work in a non-trial setting, like advocacy.


It's not about being outspoken, and even people who do a lot of trial work do not spend most of their time arguing a case to a jury. I'd recommend looking for work at a PD office if that interests you, because you'll get to see what the attorneys do up close and personal.

Settle cases and pretend to believe clients. Lol