Don’t go to Law School

Swimming with sharks: maybe better than law school.

If applying to law school were like Monopoly, then the prevalent message floating out there is the “do not pass go” tidbit. Unless you get into a T14 school (and there are people who’ve been at those and also say law school’s a bad idea) then you’re signing yourself up for a worthless investment. There are no more law jobs, there is no reason for why you will be any different and manage to make the law degree work for you.

Granted, the naysayers might have a point if you’re considering a legal education without any exposure to the field and you’re planning on entering it without any real world experience. Once upon a time, going straight through from undergad to law school worked. Here’s where a skill you’ll need to survive the legal field comes into play – listening. If you hear out the success stories from folks who went that route, you’ll notice a common theme: it’s primarily people who were coming into the field in the late ’60s / early ’70s, and the economy was good. There were jobs and the cost of a legal education hadn’t skyrocketed to the price-tag prospective law students are looking at today. Some law schools actually used to cover the costs of bar preparation for their students back in those good ol’ days.

Nowadays, no one is going to tell you that law school isn’t expensive. Whether it’s worth the work you’re going to have to put into it though, is a different story. Again, in looking for a commonalty among those who’ve told me not to take the plunge for law school, they strike me as overwhelmingly the type of people that would be unhappy in any type of work. Why? In my listening to them, they wind up complaining about pretty much everything. For whatever reason, they went into the law believing it was going to be a cushy job where they wouldn’t have to do any real work.

Newsflash: jobs like that don’t exist. The inane socialites (the Kardashians, the Real Housewives, the Paris Hiltons of the world), much as I hate to say it, also didn’t make it into the spotlight without some effort to stay in it. I’ve worked in soul-crushing, terrible jobs, surrounded by bitter people or vicious dogs or exposed to the worst of humanity daily. I’ve also been fortunate enough to work on great teams with awesome people, but regardless of where I found myself I never expected to not be working. Law school makes sense for me because I’ve been happiest when I’ve been in the legal field, and I know myself well enough to be certain that the JD may not be right for everyone, but it is for me.

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