Everything from finding the right online university to finding the right job!
Eduers
Post Jobs And Search Resumes On MonsterPost A Job For 30mm Job Seekers - Just One ClickLearn How To Get More Job Offers From Job.com. Click Here To Get Expert Job Searching Advice And Access To 1000s Of Local Jobs.Submit Yourself For As Many Auditions As You Want For FREE

Quick Degree Finder

Should I Go to Law School?

Master - CollegeInfo.com Has Over 120 Schools That Offer Masters Degree.Exploring Computer Schools? Browse computer programming schools at CollegeInfo.com.Online MBA Programs allow you to earn your MBA from home. Find CollegeInfo.com.Start Earning Your Online Business Degree. Find business administration degree programs at CollegeInfo.com.

No one can answer this question for you. You need to make up your own mind. The best others can do is give you some things to think about, and some information upon which to base your decision. You need to make an informed decision, which means you should acquire as much information as possible about law school and especially about law practice before making your career decision.

The following is my two cents' worth. This list is drawn from my personal and professional experiences as an undergraduate, law student, lawyer, professor, and pre-law advisor. I believe it to be fairly representative of the views of undergraduate pre-law advisors generally.

The WRONG Reasons to Go to Law School

  1. I'm a liberal arts major, and I don't know what else to do with my degree.
  2. My parents want me to go.
  3. I have always wanted to go to law school/be a lawyer.
  4. I have always been fascinated by the law. It's intellectually stimulating.
  5. I want to change the world.
  6. I like to argue/debate.
  7. Everyone else in my family is a lawyer.
  8. I did well on the LSAT, so why not?
  9. I want to make a lot of money.
  10. Law school is so versatile. I can use it for something else, like business or politics.

The RIGHT Reasons to Go to Law School

  1. I want to be a lawyer. (If you don't know what that means, go find out!)

    The mistake many students make is that they focus on law school instead of on careers in law. Law school can be a fun, intellectually challenging endeavor. It can also help you to please your parents and to postpone your career decision making for a few more years. But ultimately, law school is just that—three years of schooling that prepares you for a career in the law. You are not even a lawyer when you graduate! You won't know enough to be one. You'll need to take and pass the state bar exam before you can call yourself a lawyer, and you'll need to gain experience before you'll be comfortable with that label.

    Since law school prepares you to be a lawyer, you will need to find out as much as possible about what being a lawyer is all about before you decide to go to law school. That means at least the following: (1) Talk to lawyers. Ask them if they like their jobs, and why. Find out what they do, and what they like and dislike about their daily activities. Find out if they are happy or stressed, challenged, or bored. Ask them whether they'd do it again. (2) Read legal journals and newspapers to find out about the advantages and disadvantages of the legal profession, current trends in hiring, current salary scales, and the like. (3) Most importantly, take a legal job of some sort. Spend a summer—or even better, a year—as a paralegal or legal intern in a law office, volunteer for a district attorney's or public defender's office, or assume some other legal undertaking. Nothing can substitute for this experience. Once you learn first hand what the practice of law is like, you'll be much better prepared to decide whether it's for you.

Explanations for the Wrong Reasons to Go:

  1. I'm a liberal arts major, and I don't know what else to do with my degree.

    Law school is not supposed to be a dumping ground for wayward liberal arts majors. Admittedly, it often is, but many of these folks end up unhappy with their career choice down the road. Don't repeat their mistake. Law is not the only suitable career for a liberal arts major. Also, if you want a legal career, consider one that does not require the expenditure of three years and thousands of dollars in tuition: a paralegal or legal assistant, perhaps.

     
  2. My parents want me to go.

    Pressure from one's parents is a reason many students choose law school. Chances are your parents want to know that you can take care of yourself and get yourself properly settled so that don't have to worry about you so much anymore. My parents were pretty typical in their belief that law school was a ticket to security—good money, prestige, and all that. The only trouble is, it's not true. Law school and a legal career are no guarantee of money, prestige, or happiness.

    Parents want their comfort level increased, and gosh they're entitled to that after all those years of taking care of you. But not at the expense of you taking a job that you will not be happy with, or that does not provide what you want and need from a career. Your parents will understand this argument. In the long run, most parents don't really want their kids to be lawyers, or doctors, or anything specifically. They simply want their children to be happy and successful. If you choose the right career, for the right reasons, you'll be doing both them and you a favor.

     
  3. I have always wanted to go to law school/be a lawyer.

    Okay, but why? List 5 reasons, right now. Can you? Often, students use this belief as a short cut—they have always believed this, and therefore it must be true. Not necessarily. If you can't articulate why you want to go, then you need to do some homework, as noted above. Remember, you need to make an informed decision about whether to attend law school.

     
  4. I have always been fascinated by the law. It's intellectually stimulating.

    Most law students find that law school is fascinating and intellectually stimulating. Many lawyers find law practice stressful and unfulfilling.

     
  5. I want to change the world.

    Lawyers don't change the world. From time to time, famous cases and lawyers emerge—true enough. But there are hundreds of thousands of lawyers in this country, and lightening strikes only a few of them. (How many famous lawyers can you name?) Moreover, there is a whole body of social science literature suggesting that using the legal system to change society doesn't work, or at least causes as many problems as it solves. If you want to change the world, you can do so equally well in another profession, or if you pursue a career that leaves you some spare time to do good things.

     
  6. I like to argue and debate, and I'm good at it.

    What is the connection between your fondness for arguing and your desire to do it professionally? Remember, litigators (trial lawyers) are engaged in an adversarial process. You had better like that component of practice, because that's what the arguing and debating boils down to. A talent for argument and debate may make you a good litigator, but it doesn't answer the question of whether you should or want to be one.

     
  7. Everyone else in my family is a lawyer.

    See response to no. 2, above.

     
  8. I did well on the LSAT, so why not?

    Law school means three years of your life, plus thousands of dollars in tuition, for a job that you might not like. Remember, the LSAT was designed to measure one thing only—your ability to succeed in your first year of law school. It’s a poor indicator of your career choice.

     
  9. I want to make a lot of money.

    The graduates of the top law schools who go to the top firms in the biggest cities make very good money. In exchange, they bill over 2,000 hours per year, which means they often work long hours, seven days per week, with no guarantee of making partner (in 7-10 years). For the rest, salaries aren't appreciably higher than other professions. If you want to make a lot of money, start a business, become a broker or an investment banker, or pursue an information technology career.

     
  10. Law School is so versatile. I can use it as a stepping stone to something else, like business or politics.

    If you want to go into business, go into business. Law schools train lawyers. They place students in legal jobs. Their career and placement offices are geared to this result. If you want your law degree to be multi-purpose, you will bear pretty much the entire responsibility for turning it into a multi-purpose degree. Keep this fact in mind when deciding whether to go to law school.

 


Test Preparation Schools & Programs (by State) Letter & Writing Career & Training

Link to us | Contact us | Home Copyright 2009 The Eduers.com. All Rights Reserved