If you are considering a law career, consider the obvious, why is it that you want to pursue a law degree? Is it because you think you like arguing and everybody says you are good at it or is it because you want to make a whole lot of money, or is it because you want to be the next Harvey Specter from the TV series Suits?
These are just some of the common reasons why people decide to get their J.D. But, really, think about this: is law school really the right choice for you? That is the absolutely most important question you need to ask yourself before making an informed decision; also, consider the good, the bad and the ugly about getting a J.D.
Former Department of Defense appointee Rosa Brooks, now a professor at Georgetown Law School, has written the definitive guide to the undergraduates who are considering a law career.
Here’s what’s good about law school.
According to Brooks, law school helps sharpen your mind. It enables you to “think rigorously and logically, and express yourself cogently and succinctly.”
These skills are extremely invaluable for any setting. But lawyers really know how to put some perspective on everything.
Patricia Fals, 1L student at the University of Puerto Rico Law School, said that the good thing about being a law student is that you really get to open your mind. Fals realized that she wanted to pursue a career in a legal setting after she did an HR internship in Puerto Rico.
“Working in a cubicle all day and not being able to interact with other people made me realize that this was not what I wanted. I wanted to be able to think outside of the box. Share ideas, give meaning and substance to the work I do. Have perspective about the world. This is something that law school will help me develop.”
Rosángela Torres, a recent graduate from Finance and Accounting, said that her experience as a 1L student at the University of Puerto Rico has been great so far. “Law school is a multidisciplinary community, where many different disciplines come together to debate, discuss, and discover new ideas. That definitely is what makes it so fascinating.”
The bad thing about law school…
There are valid reasons to go to law school. You probably have one of them. But even if your reason of going to law school is pretty much set in stone, think about these two turn-offs: debt and NO job is guaranteed after you graduate from law school.
Some people ignore the facts because they think that becoming a lawyer will be sufficient for them to get a job right out of graduating so they can pay the debt. The truth is that the job market for prospective lawyers is even bleaker than ever.
Moreover, a “devastating” 27.7 percent of 2012 graduates were either underemployed, meaning they were working in short-term, part-time or nonprofessional jobs, or not employed, meaning they were either unemployed or pursuing an additional degree, according to ABA Journal and Law School Transparency’s analysis.
It is a tough market so before deciding that this is the career that you want to pursue, make sure that you have made a whole lot of research.
You are probably well aware of this, but there is no harm in saying it again. There are way too many law schools in the world training out too many lawyers. In the light of this information, based on facts by the ABA Journal, law schools need to start shrinking their class sizes.
For the vast majority of students who do not receive scholarships for law school, you should make sure that you are making a well-informed decision. Law school is notoriously expensive, time consuming, hard and at times boring. Breaking into the legal setting is extremely challenging with the lack of jobs and it comes with a great deal of competition.
It is not a myth that only top class law graduates from top law schools are the ones who are employed today. Read the newspaper. Research. Seek advice. If law school is the right career path for you, take chances and experience work in a legal setting to actually test if this is something that you want to do for the rest of your life.
*The pictures were taken from: