*This post will help you decide if you should go to law school*
Have you asked yourself the question, “Should I go to law school,” but haven’t found peace one way or another about whether you should actually go?
Well then, you’ve come to the right post.
Other articles you might find on Google will give you colorful, political answers as to why you should go and even share some impressive but (in my opinion) unnecessary statistics to sway you one way or another to their side but…
I’m gonna give you a straight No B.S. Answer.
I’m a fellow law graduate who wished somebody gave me straight answers about law school because law school is stupid expensive and not something you want to regret paying for later.
You want to be sure law school is right for you and go into it with your eyes wide open if you choose to make the leap and apply.
Let’s dive in.
Disclosure: *This post contains affiliate links which means that I may receive a small commission at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through my link.
1. Confirm that You Have a Genuine Interest in Law
…Don’t go to law school because you’re not sure what else to study or do with your life.
I don’t know how or why but for some reason, law has become the default career path to pursue when people have no idea what they want to do with their life, next to the military.
But that is not a reason to go to law school and if that’s YOUR only reason for asking the “should I go to law school” question, then my answer to you is no, you shouldn’t.
You need to have a better reason than “I don’t know what else to do with my life,” because if there is no genuine interest, you’ll either blow $25,000 in student loans and drop out the first semester after discovering what a big bore it is (because they purposely make it TOUGH on students the first year to WEED people out) or get kicked out for not cutting it.
And yes getting kicked out of law school happens.
Over Christmas break, law schools typically call students who are in the bottom 10% and tell them “don’t come back.”
And depending on where you go to law school, some law schools do another round of cutting students loose after the first year.
Anyway, as I emphasized above, you need to have a genuine interest in law school to avoid completely wasting your time.
And by genuine interest I mean…
- Did you enjoy watching legal shows growing up?
- Do you enjoy watching legal shows now?
- Have you watched Suits, How to Get Away With Murder, the Guardian, or For Life?
- Do you enjoy learning about the law?
- Do you find Court opinions fascinating?
- Do you seek out social justice events in your free time?
- Have you ever interned or worked for a law firm?
- What in your life has sparked your interest in the law?
And please don’t tell me you enjoyed watching your Aunt go off to work in her cute black suit, black pointed heels, and her Louis Vuitton bag, and you want to be just like her…
Not good enough.
If you can’t answer yes to one of the first seven questions OR have a clear answer for the last question, then I am inclined to conclude that you don’t have a genuine interest in law school.
Instead, you should either take some time to reflect on the questions above or find another area of study to pursue.
There are TONS of careers that you can pursue that will pay you just as much or more than what most attorneys make without creating a mountain of debt for yourself.
You can be a web developer, web designer, real estate agent, data analyst, social media marketer… it’s totally up to you.
Just find work that you know you’ll LOVE doing and not because you just need a “good job.”
You won’t be a very good lawyer if you hate being a lawyer.
Plus, at a law school event that I attended while I was a student, a lawyer told us:
“We have way too many bad lawyers out there who don’t care. We don’t need anymore so if you’re going to do this thing, you need to work to be one of the good ones who actually care to do a good job.”
So, I highly recommend that you do some soul searching if you are not sure you have a genuine interest in law.
Below, I’ll give you some tips on how you can do some effective soul-searching to discover if law school is truly right for you.
2. If You’re Asking The Question “Should I Go To Law School,” You’re Not Ready. Here’s How To Get Ready…
I know this is a pretty bold statement, but one I wish somebody told me years ago when I asked the question!!!!
Law school is such a huge investment and a MAJOR time commitment and just like you wouldn’t spend $250,000 on a house without doing a walkthrough first to make sure you love it, you shouldn’t sign your life away for 3 years and put down a HOUSE-WORTH of cash on education you’re still unsure about.
No, you need to have a good idea first before you make that investment, and the BEST way to do that is to take a year off and get a J.O.B.
And not just any J.O.B. – You need a job as a paralegal or a legal intern.
As a paralegal or legal intern, you can get your feet wet into law and observe what lawyers actually do day-to-day (and not just what you see on TV), to see if you truly have an interest in going to law school and practicing law long term.
One of my good friends from law school did that.
She did not feel comfortable investing in law school until she was absolutely sure that she wanted to practice law, so took a year off of school to work as a paralegal.
She said it was the best decision she had ever made.
She got her hands dirty working for a corporate law firm since she was interested in studying corporate law and discovered that she loved it.
Not only that, she learned some really good legal skills that would help her later to excel at law school.
She walked away from that experience feeling confident in her choice to make the investment and pursue a career in law. More importantly, she felt ready!
You best believe that girl kicked butt in law school.
She always made A’s and when she graduated, the job that she worked for offered her a full-time position as their next associate.
Another friend of mine also did that by taking a paralegal job in NY right out of college and working for two years before she applied.
Working as a paralegal also gave her the confidence that going to law school and becoming a lawyer was what she truly wanted to do with her life.
Today, she is a partner at her firm.
And trust me, they’re not the only ones.
About half of my law school class took 1-3 years off BEFORE they started, and guess what??
They performed WAY better than the students who didn’t take time off at all.
They weren’t burnt out but more importantly, they had REAL world experiences that helped them understand and analyze the very REAL world cases we were required to read.
If your only understanding of the real world is dorm life, making good grades in school, and going to the clubs downtown on the weekends, then you’re at a serious disadvantage (as I and many of my friends were).
Law Professors are most impressed with students who can draw from real-world experiences, offer new and informed perspectives, and analyze the facts of a case from what they already know from the world.
But it’ll be tough to do if you’ve never taken the time to live and work in the real world.
So I highly recommend you take up a paralegal job or paid internship to get that real-world experience and see if going to law school is truly right for you.
3. Read these Books to Confirm that Law School is Right for You…
There are also a few books you should read before you decide if you should go to law school.
And this is not me trying to convince you to forget law school (**go if it’s for you! The world needs good lawyers**)…
BUT I wish someone told me about these books because I wouldn’t have gone if I read them!!! (See below what I’m doing now! Hint: I l quit being lawyer and I am making more money in another law-related job!!)
A Practical Guide To Legal Writing and Legal Method, Fifth Edition (Aspen Coursebook) 5th Edition
This was my actual writing textbook in law school so if you get this book, you’ll learn the same way I and other law students learn to write like a lawyer.
Legal writing is one of the main (if not the main) reasons why people drop out during their first semester/year of law school.
You either learn to LOVE legal writing or you hate it, curse under your breath and say “dang, I didn’t know this is what I was signing up for when I decided to practice law,” and think about other career alternatives.
Legal writing is an ENTIRELY different form of writing.
Nothing you learn in undergrad will prepare you for legal writing.
And don’t think majoring in English will give you the upper hand either – you have no advantage.
In fact, it can become a thorn to the English graduate who tries to learn legal writing because there is so much about English writing that you have to unlearn to master legal writing.
Yes, grammar is important and can carry over but that’s where the buck stops.
Spelling, citations, and what legal professors and you’re colleagues will CARE to read will be 100% different!
Fun Fact: In my legal writing class, I had a Swedish classmate who had an AVERAGE command of the English language and ended up scoring higher on her legal writing assignment than most of her American law students in our class.
Anyway, legal writing is a great test to see if you’re really cut out for law so I highly recommend that you get this book and give it a try.
Yes, this book is $100, but that’s way cheaper than spending $30,000 your first semester and finding out months later that you absolutely hate legal writing and law is not for you.
As such, if you’re seriously considering law school, I can’t recommend this book enough!!!
Glannon Guide to Civil Procedure: Learning Civil Procedure Through Multiple-Choice Questions and Analysis
Another book that I’d highly recommend that you check out is Glannon Guide to Civil Procedure: Learning Civil Procedure Through Multiple-Choice Questions and Analysis.
I highly recommend that you check out this book as well because civil procedure is another pain-in-the-butt subject that often sucks the love and joy out of practicing law for some lawyers.
As such, to make sure that you’ll be able to stick with the law long term and not waste your investment, I highly recommend that you check out this book.
One thing you should note though is that this book is not a practical book like the legal writing book above.
It’s a supplemental book that breaks down all the civ pro concepts and gives you examples and exercises to help you understand it better.
This will be good for you since you don’t have a law professor yet to teach you.
This is also the same book that my law professor taught out of and gave to us as a supplement to our civil pro textbook.
But if you want to check out a law school civil pro textbook, then this is the book you’re looking for.
Finally, I highly recommend that you check out this evidence (supplemental) book.
(I am recommending this supplement over the textbook because the textbook is nearly $300 on Amazon.)
Learning about evidence isn’t so bad but if you’re thinking you can walk into court and present whatever evidence you want, you’re wrong.
Even if your evidence is the truth and stupid compelling, if the evidence isn’t admissible under the court rules, it’s not coming in.
Plus, you’ll have to learn how to raise objections in court and at depositions using the evidence rules (e.g. relevance, leading, compound statements) so you’ll want to make sure that these formalities is something you dig.
You can’t just say, “Objection!” like in the movies. You actually have to EXPLAIN why you’re objecting. And if you can’t explain your objection, the judge will flag you for that.
So check this book out!! This book will also give you amazing insight into the world of law.
Now you’re probably be wondering up to this point what I’m doing now, especially in light of my very last personal comment “I never would of gone.” So I quickly tell you here:
- Yes I graduated law school
- I took the bar and passed the first time! I’m a licensed attorney in NJ
- I realized at the end of the first semester of law school and again halfway through my second year of law school that I didn’t like practicing law but decided to finish anyway.
- After practicing law for almost 2 years, I left the practice for good and became a litigation paralegal for a large law firm in NYC.
- I now make $21,000 more than I did as an attorney! (Go-Figure!!)
. . .
Well, I hope this post helped you really figure out if going to law school is the right choice for you.
Law school is a major investment, a huge time commitment, and for the right person, an extremely rewarding experience.
I know plenty of people, including those in my personal circle of friends, who absolutely love law and are killing it while others are wishing they had never gone and had chosen something else.
The ones who regret law school never had the inside scoop that you got today, including myself!!
So I hope you take this advice and run with this because you’ve got some real gold my friend.
Finally, as I share on my about page, I’m here to help women avoid making some of the mistakes that I made in college.
I want you and anyone who comes to my blog to be informed with straight, honest answers from someone who’s been there!
Let me know if you have any questions! If you’ve gotten any value out of this post, let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you.
P.S. Sharing is caring…share this post with your friend.
*This post will help you decide if you should go to law school*