This is a difficult question to answer. Some people claim
that they knew they wanted to be a lawyer from the time they
were quite young, but most struggled with their decision up
until the time they applied to law school. In fact, many law
students and even recent graduates are still unsure of the
answer to this question.
Questions to Ask Yourself
One of the more meaningful ways of determining whether
you want to be a lawyer is look at the types of skills that
one must develop to be a competent lawyer.
Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Do I enjoy working closely with people regarding
significant events or issues affecting their lives?
2. Can I empathize with a client's situation; yet have
the ability to objectively analyze the issues and their
consequences in light of the existing law?
3. Do I enjoy educating or teaching a person about a
subject about which he or she may be ignorant or have
4. Am I able to articulate in a clear and concise manner
my analysis of a problem to others, whether it is verbally
or in writing?
5. Do I enjoy being an advocate? Can I argue both sides
of the questions with enthusiasm?
6. Do I like detail work? Do I enjoy searching for the
facts of a situation?
7. Do I like to read and study?
Like so many other aspects
of law school, the curriculum tends to follow a similar
pattern in almost every law school in the
Generally, the first year is very structured, while the
remaining two years are unstructured. In
most law schools, all of the first-year students take the
same classes. Indeed, students usually
cannot even choose which sections and/or professors they
would like to take. Instead, each
student is randomly assigned to a section (see above), and
they take all of their classes with the students in that
section. Moreover, most schools offer
the same set of 6-8 classes in the first year.
The typical 1L curriculum includes some or all of the
following classes, which can be either semester or year-long
Legal Research & Writing
After the first year of law
school, most of the classes are electives.
Often, only a few classes like Legal Ethics (which
may surprise most non-lawyers!) tend to be required after
the first year. Many students will try
to take all of the classes that cover topics offered on the
bar examination (e.g., bankruptcy, secured transactions,
corporations, taxation). Law schools
also are increasingly offering internships and/or clinics
where the student can work on developing skills like trial
litigation and negotiating. Many law
schools also offer specializations (see immediately below).
More about legal career: Legal Salaries: Median Salaries for