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Should I Go to Law School?

If you are stuck, there are a number of books that you can start with. These books will give you a feeling for whether the profession is right for you. Nothing beats talking to people and obtaining experience on your own, but reading these books can't hurt.

Books

This list and the information that follows was compiled by Ava Preacher, Assistant Dean and Principal Pre-Law Advisor, University of Notre Dame. I have edited it.

  • Aaron, Deborah, Running From the Law: Why Good Lawyers Are Getting Out of the Legal Profession (Seattle: Niche Press, 1997).

  • Aaron, Deborah, What Can You Do with a Law Degree? (Seattle: Niche Press, 1997).

  • Bachman,Walt, Law vs. Life (Rhineback, NY: Four Directions Press, 1995)

  • Bell, Susan J., ed., Full Disclosure: Do You Really Want to Be a Lawyer? (Princeton, NJ: Peterson's Guides, American Bar Association, 1992)

  • Law Services, So You Want to Be a Lawyer: A Practical Guide to Law as a Career (New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1994).

  • Law Services, Thinking About Law School: A Minority Guide (Newtown, PA: Law Services, 1997)

  • Moll, Richard W., The Lure of the Law (New York: Penguin, 1990).

  • Simenoff, Mark, ed., My First Year as a Lawyer (New York: Signet, 1996).

  • Turow, Scott, One L (New York: Warner Books, 1977).

Some Things to Ponder

As indicated above, Deborah Aaron has written two books about burnout in the legal profession and alternatives to law practice. She has developed a list of traits that satisfied lawyers have in common. You might wish to see how many of these traits you possess. Contented lawyers:

1. Display a love of learning
2. Pay attention to details
3. Respect the rules
4. Possess strong analytical abilities
5. Are achievement oriented
6. Are competitive
7. Are steady and stable
8. Are patient and persistent
9. Are more realistic than idealistic
10. Are more conventional than innovative
11. Are more dispassionate than emotional
12. Are thick-skinned

She also offers a personality preference quiz that will help you begin to determine if law practice is the career for you. Ask yourself:

1. Do I like to get emotionally involved with my work?
2. Do I dislike or attempt to avoid conflict?
3. In resolving conflict, do I prefer to decide what's fair based on the circumstances of each situation?
4. Do I like to create or start projects and let others finish or maintain them?
5. Do I dislike paying attention to details?
6. Do I prefer short-term projects?
7. Do I value efficiency?
8. Do I like to do things my own way, on my own schedule, and according to my own priorities?
9. Do I get more satisfaction being part of a team than being a solo act?
10. Do I want to change the world?

If you answered, "yes" to any of these questions, you should reflect on whether you would be happy in the practice of law. If you answered "yes" to several, you might want to engage in some serious self-assessment (consider taking a more comprehensive personality test, for example) to determine which career areas are best suited to your personality.

The SVSU Career Planning & Placement Office has a number of materials to help you determine the types of careers best suited for you. Among other things, it offers testing to match personality types with careers. If you are really unsure about your career future, you might wish to take a personality career aptitude test before making any major career decisions.

 


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