Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

What would you recommend?

This post is merely an invitation to give me some insight on jmd006/13/17
1) I went to law school to make a difference and make money- vohod06/13/17
Go find and befriend a lawyer. Offer to help keep cases and jeffm06/13/17
99.9% of lawyers do not "invoke change" - they handle routin flharfh06/13/17
"... and the average person will not find what you do on a d jeffm06/13/17
I'd say if the prospect of assisting individuals or business junkwired06/13/17
The invoke change stuff sounds incredibly naive. If you like karlmarx06/13/17
You want to go to law school because you read Pfalsgraf? anothernjlawyer06/13/17
A couple of things: 1.) Reading a case or two and findin sobeitunion06/13/17
Thanks everyone, Still in limbo but I appreciate the hon jmd006/14/17
Why not try to get a job as a paralegal or legal secretary? couchsleeper06/14/17
Weekly post on JDU: OP: should I go to law school? Mo nighthawk06/14/17
Honest question, what do you say to someone considering law hillbillysophist06/15/17
I think the JDU commentariat has made exceptions in differen 3lol06/15/17
I've gotta say, I really appreciate all the insight. It's he jmd006/15/17
Take the LSAT and make the determination based off of your s uknownvalue06/15/17
@3lol: "lush vertex"? texfed06/15/17
be the change you want to invoke in the world. but seriou defensivelawyer06/15/17
^ What s/he said. If you have a management degree, style bittersweet06/15/17
Jobs are hard to come by these days. The risk is you go to hairypalms06/15/17
The reason I am going to say no is because you don't know wh y2zipper06/16/17
If you're already having depression issues, stay far away fr dingbat06/16/17
This ^ and this: "There are a lot of "ifs." It's a gamble. I ejs201706/16/17

jmd0 (Jun 13, 2017 - 1:47 pm)

This post is merely an invitation to give me some insight on my possible decision to take the LSAT and go to law school.

I had just graduated from my bachelors program (Business Management), shortly after I began frantically searching for career fields that I might find interesting. Originally, I went towards business because I felt like it suited me better than any other major at the time, it was also recommended to me by the SGT of my towns police dept - at the time of deciding a major I wanted to become a police officer and grow within the field. But that desire has diminished.

I took endless career tests, and even have fallen into a depression (which sucks because I'm still young) about not knowing what I want to do even what I'd like to do.

So I did research, I read law cases to see if I find them interesting (which I did, especially Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad), it is amazing how these cases create the base of the law we use.

I believe I want to go to law school, I believe that lawyers can invoke change - which is something that realistically a lot of people cannot do in this world. However, I also believed I wanted to succeed in business - so maybe I'm just wrong again. What is it that drove you to become a lawyer? Am I missing something? Is there some kind of insight you all can give me on if I'm making the right choice or not? How am I suppose to know if law is right for me?

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vohod (Jun 13, 2017 - 2:08 pm)

1) I went to law school to make a difference and make money--I make OK money (not worth the 3 years + loans) but the work is meaningless and in law you rapidly pigeonhole yourself into a niche.

2) You aren't "missing" anything by trying out business first. Law school is always there if you want. Dropping out of this business for years and getting a professional degree that is only vaguely related will close that chapter of your life. You may come out better or worse. I say give the business a shot for a few years.

3) No special insight.

4) Clerk at a law firm in evenings after your day job and see if you actually like REAL law practice.

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jeffm (Jun 13, 2017 - 2:27 pm)

Go find and befriend a lawyer. Offer to help keep cases and calendars organized for free for a few months just to see what it's like. It would be the best way to find out what it's all about before making grave, costly errors.

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flharfh (Jun 13, 2017 - 2:48 pm)

99.9% of lawyers do not "invoke change" - they handle routine criminal cases, lawsuits, and business transactions/contracts. This is almost certainly going to be your outcome (if you can get a job upon graduation), even at a very high paying large law firm. Likewise, only a tiny minority of attorneys handle appeal cases.

If you become an attorney, it is almost certain that you will not change the world and the average person will not find what you do on a day-to-day basis to be especially interesting.

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jeffm (Jun 13, 2017 - 3:18 pm)

"... and the average person will not find what you do on a day-to-day basis to be especially interesting."

I agree with everything up until this. The average person does seem to find it quite interesting. They like to learn about legal principles and how they are molded into an argument. Even for lawyers, the gray area is really kind of interesting. The trick is to be able to find and use gray area in your practice. Litigation is pretty good for that.

The part that seems to suck a lot of enjoyment out of litigation is that you often can't tell how the judge will rule. Even in the face of some really good law, judges will just ignore it and tailor a ruling to fit their perception of the case, even if it means just delaying you like denying a motion for summary judgment. It really can be almost as ugly as politics.

It also sucks when you have tenuous facts or arguments to support your own side of the case. On the other hand, whipping out some good law/argument to get a trial court reversed is really cool.

Appeals on interlocutory rulings and summary judgments are definitely some of the best-spent and most enjoyable time. Not so much with regard to trials since the reporter's record requires so much reading. Still, I think most attorneys would enjoy cutting their teeth on a few of these.

Lawyers who actually are bored with their work will tend not to have much excitement to share with the average person (friend, in-law, acquaintance, etc.). If that's the case, I'd agree with the assertion that the average person will not find what you do to be interesting, either.

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junkwired (Jun 13, 2017 - 3:05 pm)

I'd say if the prospect of assisting individuals or businesses with their problems is appealing to you, and if can identify a general area (i.e., construction, PI, IP, trusts and estates, business, family, etc.) in which the prospect of pushing a lot of paper doesn't turn you off, then the law may be worth considering.

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karlmarx (Jun 13, 2017 - 3:08 pm)

The invoke change stuff sounds incredibly naive. If you like legal work and sure that you want to practice, then go ahead. Some people really find a good match between law practice and their personality.

But this stupid international relations major sounding fuzzy language shows a inability to actually assess the real cost and benefits here. If you want to help people, start a business and serve the public through superior goods or services. You aren't going to do it by arguing about abstract concepts of justice.

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anothernjlawyer (Jun 13, 2017 - 3:56 pm)

You want to go to law school because you read Pfalsgraf?

This has to be a flame.

If it's not. take the LSAT. If you get a 170 plus, come back and talk to us. If you don't, don't even consider law school.

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sobeitunion (Jun 13, 2017 - 6:06 pm)

A couple of things:

1.) Reading a case or two and finding them interesting really isn't relevant to whether you'll enjoy practicing law or not.

2.) Do you REALLY want to be a lawyer? Or just don't know what you want to do? I was the latter 12 years ago and choosing law school because I didn't know what else to do was a very limiting choice. I could do a job I'd really like if I wasn't hobbled with student loans for a career I didn't really want in the first place.

3.). Actuating change is a pipe dream for all but the smallest number of lawyers. 50-75% o law students would say they want to do that. Very few do.

4.). If you do decide to go, get a dictionary and use it. I'm surprised nobody has busted your balls yet, but reputable lawyers and law professors aren't going to put up with the blatant misuse of the English language. We tend to be critical people. Don't ever write "invoke change" again. Pics of the seance or it didn't happen.

5.). It can be a tough world, law is a rough career, and the legal job market is pretty brutal. Think long and hard before you commit. If you do go, only go to a GREAT school.

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jmd0 (Jun 14, 2017 - 11:10 am)

Thanks everyone,

Still in limbo but I appreciate the honest advice.

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couchsleeper (Jun 14, 2017 - 11:51 am)

Why not try to get a job as a paralegal or legal secretary? Get a feel for what lawyers do day to day while also building some skills at the same time. I wish I would have taken this advise before entering law school.

The fact is jobs are limited for JD holders. It may even be harder to enter business after law school.

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nighthawk (Jun 14, 2017 - 12:08 pm)

Weekly post on JDU:

OP: should I go to law school?

Most on the thread: no, do not go, you will never make it; only go if you like being in debt working for some crazy at a work comp firm

OP: but I'm still not sure

Most on the thread: listen to us, we know, we each have $600,000 in debt and make $22,000, we are all suckers for the law school scam, don't fall for it, don't become a loser, doc review is not exciting

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hillbillysophist (Jun 15, 2017 - 4:05 pm)

Honest question, what do you say to someone considering law school who has no debt, owns their home outright and has a full scholarship to a 3rd tier school?

You are spot on as to your assessment of advice on this site but I feel like most people considering law school are 20 somethings with little financial stability.

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3lol (Jun 15, 2017 - 4:38 pm)

I think the JDU commentariat has made exceptions in different cases. I.e. when someone has a pension, job who's willing to pay/help pay, a High Earning Spouse or a particularly lush vertex.

We're most likely to toe the party line when people say things like "I find the law interesting," "I'm not sure what I want to do" and "I want to effect change." These are red flag phrases because many JDU poasters uttered them before jumping into law themselves and eventually found that it was a mistake.

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jmd0 (Jun 15, 2017 - 9:18 am)

I've gotta say, I really appreciate all the insight. It's helping me out a lot, if anyone has anything more to add - please do

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uknownvalue (Jun 15, 2017 - 5:27 pm)

Take the LSAT and make the determination based off of your score. Your LSAT score correlates to your future career prospects, which in turn will influence your quality of life.

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texfed (Jun 15, 2017 - 5:32 pm)

@3lol:

"lush vertex"?

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defensivelawyer (Jun 15, 2017 - 5:57 pm)

be the change you want to invoke in the world.

but seriously, try business or a legal secy job 1st.

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bittersweet (Jun 15, 2017 - 6:19 pm)

^ What s/he said.

If you have a management degree, style your resume and look for work as a legal assistant. Get to know what is involved doing legal work before committing 3 years and $100K. Work for an attorney for a year before committing. This will be helpful in making your decision and of tremendous value if you do choose to go to law school.

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hairypalms (Jun 15, 2017 - 9:36 pm)

Jobs are hard to come by these days. The risk is you go to an inferior school, you're unable to obtain a summer clerkship, you strike out at on campus interviews, you have no job at graduation, you fail the bar once (twice or more), you can't find any job because you haven't passed the bar, you can't find any non-law job because employers view you as overqualified and once you pass the bar (if you ever do) you will leave in an instant for a six figure job, etc. Oh and by the way, trying to pay off $200,000+ in student loans while trying to eke out a middle class existence, possibly in a high cost of living area (where most good law jobs are BTW). There are a lot of "ifs." It's a gamble. It starts with having a good undergraduate record (meaning you went to a reputable school, i.e., Ivy, top private or top public), you have good grades and a great LSAT score. And even if you are able to jump through all these hoops, the likelihood is that you will not enjoy your existence as a lawyer - most do not. Is it worth it? I would say no, particularly in this day and age. There are less riskier alternatives.

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y2zipper (Jun 16, 2017 - 12:56 am)

The reason I am going to say no is because you don't know what you want to do. I majored in business management because I didn't know what I wanted to do either. I ended up starting a business after college that failed but that line of work sucks. I considered law but didn't do it because my LSAT and grades didn't make sense for it.

You need to shadow people and find something with a daily routine you can put up with. If you want to invoke change, do volunteer work or charity work to scratch the itch on the side of your career because in most jobs you are just a cog in a machine.

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dingbat (Jun 16, 2017 - 8:59 am)

If you're already having depression issues, stay far away from the law. It'll only make matters worse

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ejs2017 (Jun 16, 2017 - 11:00 am)

This ^ and this: "There are a lot of "ifs." It's a gamble. It starts with having a good undergraduate record (meaning you went to a reputable school, i.e., Ivy, top private or top public), you have good grades and a great LSAT score. And even if you are able to jump through all these hoops, the likelihood is that you will not enjoy your existence as a lawyer - most do not. Is it worth it? I would say no, particularly in this day and age. There are less riskier alternatives."

At the end of the day the question is whether you want to "be" a lawyer. Even if you "win" the game, do you want the prize?

If I could go back in time I would run the other way and not look back. At least for me, going to law school was a major mistake on so many levels. I was one of those people who went into law school with serious misconceptions of what law school and the practice of law were about.

Probably the worst part of it - for me at least - is that I draw very little stimulation or satisfaction from what I do. Sure, I make decent money but I take no pride in this job.

That's really the question you should ask yourself: do you want to "be" a lawyer? If the answer is not an unequivocal "yes," don't do it for all the reasons stated in this thread and throughout the JDU site.

For entertainment and perspective, check out bernietrump's rant on TLS about the life of a NY corporate associate. He "won" the game on paper and is, by his own account, miserable. Why would you want that?

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