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Should I apply to law school?

lafumblafumb 1 replies1 threads New Member
edited July 2019 in Law School
I know the answer to this question is one only I should reach, but I would like some input. Since my third of college (I'm out now), I've been thinking on and off about applying to law school, with prodding from family friends. I've never had a passion for law, but I've been interested in it for a while now. I could see myself as a lawyer, but like most people, I don't want to be stuck in a profession I won't find fulfillment in. I worry that my lack of enthusiasm will hold me back, or worse, make me resent my decision. But I also don't want to not try because of fear.

Some background: I graduated from a university among the top law schools last year with a bachelor's in history and master's in education. I wanted to teach for at least a few years, but the work isn't what I hoped for. I did enjoy my first year, but I don't want to do this job for more than five years. I also don't want to make any drastic decisions based on one experience, so I plan to give myself one or two more years to decide it's not for me in the long run. I'm exploring many other options, but law is the most attractive to me right now.

I should mention that I think I underperformed in college. I didn't do terribly, but I could have done a lot better. My GPA (just under 3.5) is not competitive, but I am confident I could do well on the LSAT. I want a second chance to take advantage of a rigorous academic environment, and this would honestly be one of my motivations for applying to law school. I recognize it's not a great one, especially considering cost, but I believe it's valid.

Thoughts? Suggestions?
edited July 2019
6 replies
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Replies to: Should I apply to law school?

  • bluebayoubluebayou 28255 replies213 threads Senior Member
    your reason for attending LS is not valid. If you want a rigorous academic environment, go get a MA in History or related field -- definitely not education, btw. If you want to be a lawyer, go to law school. After teaching for another couple of years, if you still have the LS itch, take the LSAT and see how you do. But just note, that many/most? JDs go on and do something else, non-legal related.

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  • crankyoldmancrankyoldman 700 replies59 threads Member
    Don't agree with any of the above advice; your reason for attending law school is a valid as anyone else's. And most lawyers don't go on to non-law jobs. Only go to law school if you plan on being a lawyer.
    And getting a Master's in history would be a tremendous waste of time and money. At this point in your life, only get a degree if it leads to a job, or at least a pay raise/better opportunity for advancement in your current job.
    But here's the reality: you seem, at best, ambivalent about attending law school. And that's a problem, because law school is extremely expensive. Conventional wisdom on CC states that law school admission is driven by two numbers: GPA and LSAT. You can check the numbers of the top schools yourself, but with a GPA below 3.5, admission(without some sort of hook you haven't mentioned) at a top school would be tough.
    And why a top school? Because the high-paying jobs right out of law school generally go to graduates of top schools-and this is important if you've got a lot of school debt.
    So a few questions:
    What is your education debt?
    What law schools are you interested in attending? What is your definition of "rigorous academic environment"?
    And are you wealthy?(not a flippant question, as law school is very expensive).
    At some point in your life, you decided you wanted to be a teacher, and have obtained both a BA and MA to fulfill that goal. What changed? Why do you want to change?
    And most important-do you know what lawyers do? It's not a sacred calling-it's a job. And some who become lawyers want to get out of the profession, ASAP(Google that for a million responses).
    It appears you have an idealized view of what attorneys actually do. It's my hope that you have friends/relatives who are lawyers, the kind of people who will give you unvarnished advice and insights on the practice of law. That's what you need right now.
    And don't go to law school unless you want to be an attorney and want to practice law.
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  • lafumblafumb 1 replies1 threads New Member
    Thanks for the replies.
    I agree that I'm ambivalent about attending law school. I started this discussion, because I don't think I have the perspective to decide, without input from people who've been through the process, if it's worth it for me to even explore. I really don't know whether or not I want to be a lawyer, but I have a real interest in the idea, and that's enough for me to want to consider it. I do not intend to rush into a decision one way or the other.
    I understand I should only go to law school if I want to practice law, and I wouldn't if I decided I didn't want that. The last thing I want is to be miserable. I think I do have a pretty good sense of what lawyers do. I know a few older lawyers very well, and my view of the profession has been shaped mostly by my interactions with them. Without their influence, I would not be thinking about law school.
    I don't have student loan debt. I worked throughout college, went to a state school, and had some financial help from my parents in addition to other financial aid. I am not wealthy, and would not attend law school if I did not receive substantial financial help. I am aware my GPA is low, especially for the top schools, but with hard work and a strong LSAT score I don't think an acceptance and money from a T20 or even T14 is out of my reach. MY URM status will only improve my chances.
    Thanks again. You've given me a lot to mull over.
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  • coolguy40coolguy40 3068 replies8 threads Senior Member
    If you're not enthusiastic now, you won't be enthusiastic when you take out $100k in loans and do it for the next 40 years. There are other professions to consider. You seem to enjoy teaching. You could teach higher education after getting a masters or PhD.
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  • blossomblossom 10705 replies9 threads Senior Member
    Do not base a decision on your interactions with "older lawyers". I know many "older lawyers" (because I am old) and their experiences in no way are relevant to a new lawyer (or law student) today. I have a friend who is a solo practitioner, makes a great living, has terrific work/life balance (raised three kids working part time), who freely admits that if she tried to do what she did today she'd starve. I have friends who work in small firms doing everything from divorce to real estate to franchise law to employment and again- they started their careers in the 1980's and their experiences are just not applicable to today's market. And of course- the lawyers I know in big firms- they made partner at a time where partnership was a job for life, even when you got to the point that you were just phoning it in. I know older lawyers who went in-house who bemoan the fact that their careers would just be unsustainable if they were starting out now.

    Read the recent Wall Street Journal article on law partnerships if you want an eye opening experience!

    You need to talk to 30 and 35 year old lawyers, not older, successful lawyers who made their marks decades ago. Find out what life is like now- grinding out 80 hour weeks at a big firm. Or hustling for business at a small firm, and being told to join EVERY committee you can- chamber of commerce, urban planning, every civic organization in town- just for the connections. So you have the privilege of working a full time job AND spending every waking moment networking and trying to hustle up new business to keep the lights on.
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  • PublisherPublisher 12316 replies167 threads Senior Member
    edited August 2019
    You need to take the LSAT as soon as you feel that you are well prepared for this test. After you receive an actual LSAT score, then reopen the discussion. If you are not committed enough to prep for & take the LSAT, then forget about law school.
    edited August 2019
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