Should I go *back* to law school?

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shibby

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Should I go *back* to law school?

Post by shibby » Tue Feb 11, 2020 2:52 pm

Hope this is the right place to ask...

I went to a top law school and dropped out after 1 year. It was because I was basically struck with a horrible bout of depression and anxiety spring of 1L, the worst I've ever experienced (lost 20 pounds, basically didn't leave my apartment except for classes, really quite bad).

It's been a few years and I've actually built somewhat of a successful career as a product manager in tech. I learned to code and moved across the country. I have a good-paying job, plenty of career options, my work is interesting, and overall I'm quite happy. But there are some issues with tech that have left me unhappy (as a URM I feel extremely lonely, for one).

Also, for the past couple years I've had the gnawing sense that I need to finish what I started and become a lawyer. The law still fascinates me. At my company I work closely with our in house counsel and I'm envious of the work she gets to do. I also have lawyer friends and am well aware of the professional challenges they encounter (i.e., I am under no illusion that being a lawyer is easy or necessarily fun).

Due to annoying ABA rules I would have to reapply to and restart law school and do 1L all over again. It's also a bit daunting to think about the opportunity cost of 3 years in school without working (salary, professional advancement, opportunities, etc.).

Tl;dr - good life in tech after dropping out of law school, but not fully content and think becoming a lawyer would make me more personally/professionally satisfied. 32 yo and not keen on taking 3 years out of my life at this point for school, but would still do it. Halp.

Libya

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Re: Should I go *back* to law school?

Post by Libya » Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:01 pm

I’m a 2L so take this FWIW, but I would probably not go to law school at 32 if I was successful and quite happy with my career. Just the opportunity cost for you is so massive that I would only begin to consider it if I got a full ride to a T14 AND a very specific (while also attainable) idea of what I wanted to do with the degree—NOT generic biglaw goals, or “international law”, or whatever bullshit 0Ls say they want to do. Just my $0.02

decimalsanddollars

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Re: Should I go *back* to law school?

Post by decimalsanddollars » Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:07 pm

"Finish what I started" sounds more like sunk-cost fallacy than desire to be a lawyer. You should think of this decision as a brand new one, focused on whether you want to be a lawyer and whether the benefits outweigh the costs (not counting something previously left unfinished as either). That said, you now have much more information, firsthand and secondhand, on which to base the decision. As Libya said, opportunity cost will be huge because you're starting over and because you currently have a good if imperfect job.

Do you know, generally or specifically, what caused problems the first time? Can you mitigate or remove those causes now? If you have reason to think there may still be issues this time, I would definitely advise against. There are other exit options from tech to consider, each with their own challenges and benefits, and you should weigh the law-school option against other options that might be available to you.

shibby

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Re: Should I go *back* to law school?

Post by shibby » Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:28 pm

decimalsanddollars wrote:Do you know, generally or specifically, what caused problems the first time? Can you mitigate or remove those causes now? If you have reason to think there may still be issues this time, I would definitely advise against. There are other exit options from tech to consider, each with their own challenges and benefits, and you should weigh the law-school option against other options that might be available to you.
Bad grades. It sounds crazy but my 1L fall grades were such a blow to my identify and conception of myself and basically triggered a crisis. Enough time has passed to know how outsized my response was to the event (CBT, mindfulness, and general perspective) that I highly doubt it would happen again (even if I were to get bad grades).

Anyway, thank you for the thoughtful response. I will think hard about those other exit options before making such a big leap.

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LSATWiz.com

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Re: Should I go *back* to law school?

Post by LSATWiz.com » Tue Feb 11, 2020 7:24 pm

URM's are also underrepresented in law. Did you feel connected to other URM's at law school? Despite not being a URM, I'd imagine that if I was I'd feel connected to people based on one aspect of my identity but not necessarily on any other aspect so wouldn't be sure that being with other URM's would automatically make me feel more included. That said, I think you'll find the same thing in law.

I also think that all work gets boring once it becomes a routine and you're not learning as much. Smart people like thinking and unfortunately, the better you get at something, the less you think while doing it. This is normally why people listen to Ted Talks while working or pursuing other interests on the side. While you may be passionate about law, it may be like the Rachel McAdams character in the Notebook or whatever, pondering how life would look with each of two different characters. The law aspect may seem exciting because you haven't conquered it.

I'd also say and not to sound insensitive, but if one semester of bad grades caused you a psychological breakdown of sorts, I think being a lawyer poses a real threat to your mental health. This isn't saying you can't do it, but that a good result may be the equivalent of where you are now and it presents a great deal of risk. You're not only sacrificing the career you have now, but also focusing your mental health and pursuit of happiness. Legal work is going to be just as boring as whatever you do now, probably much more boring.

dabigchina

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Re: Should I go *back* to law school?

Post by dabigchina » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:16 pm

It's been a few years and I've actually built somewhat of a successful career as a product manager in tech. I learned to code and moved across the country. I have a good-paying job, plenty of career options, my work is interesting, and overall I'm quite happy.
You sound like you like your life better than 90% of the lawyers I know.
But there are some issues with tech that have left me unhappy (as a URM I feel extremely lonely, for one).
If you think tech is monochromatic, wait until you take a look at what the practice of law looks like. At least tech has Asians.

tl;dr: the answer is no.

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