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Regret going to law school?

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Margot

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I''ve come across several threads where you claim you regret going to law school or are "recovering lawyers." As someone who is considering law school, could you share your thoughts on why it was not for you?
 

ladypirate

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Date: 4/16/2009 1:04:32 PM
Author:Margot
I''ve come across several threads where you claim you regret going to law school or are ''recovering lawyers.'' As someone who is considering law school, could you share your thoughts on why it was not for you?
Ooo, ditto! I am seriously considering going in 2010.
 

Octavia

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I'm a 2L (for a few more weeks, at least), and I both do and don't regret going. I don't regret the academic part of it -- school itself hasn't been nearly as terrible as people make it sound, the law is very interesting, and it's great to have a better understanding of how it works, and why. It can be sort of useful in real life, since I have a much better understanding of what I'm doing when I sign a contract, the specifics of the home-buying process from a legal POV, etc. Still, that doesn't mean I can actually do any of it, since law school does not prep you for the practical, everyday work of being a lawyer. Also, I got a great scholarship so I'm not that much in debt, compared to most law students, which is a wonderful thing.

I do regret going because I really don't think I want to be a lawyer, so I could be putting these years to much better use. I have nobody to blame but myself, because I had done a lot of reading and research on what it's like to be a lawyer and sort of disregarded it. I always knew I wouldn't want to be at a big firm, and a lot of the horror stories you hear are related to big firms, so I deluded myself into thinking it would be better at a smaller, friendlier, less demanding firm. Well, I'm coming to discover that if such a thing exists, it's pretty rare. And the legal profession is sort of collapsing in on itself right now, so I'm sure there will be some major, major adjustments to what "being a lawyer" means on a day-to-day level in the next couple years. I'm not sure I want to jump into that mess.

If I do end up practicing, ideally it would be at a federal agency (with state agencies as a second choice). The money is decent and the lifestyle is, on the whole, much better than private practice. I interned at a federal agency last summer and the lawyers there really did seem happy, which is great. But, going back to the problem of the legal profession imploding right now, federal agency jobs are comparatively "safe" and are therefore hot, hot, hot. So it's much harder to get one of these jobs than it was a year or two ago, and even then it's not like they were just there for the taking when the economy was better.

Compounding this is the fact that our career services office is terrible unless you want to work at a firm (preferably a large one), the DA's office, or as a public defender. Their idea of an alternative career is becoming in-house counsel at a company (notwithstanding the fact that a) it usually requires you to have worked as a traditional lawyer for a few years beforehand in order to get the job at all, and b) you're still a lawyer). They are so closed to the idea of real non-traditional careers that, if you mention it, it feels like they're sticking their fingers in their ears and singing "la, la, la, I can't hear yoooooouuuuuuuuu." So it's hard for me to figure out what to do next, because "law students should become lawyers and that's that. End of story." Or not.

I think, what it really comes down to for me, though, is that it was always expected that I'd enter some traditional profession (medicine, law, business, etc.) and I accepted it, worked toward it, and fought the little voice that occasionally told me it wasn't what I wanted. Law in it's traditional forms just isn't flexible enough to give me what I want out of a job, and I really wish I'd admitted it before I went. Now I'm stuck trying to figure out what I want to do that's related enough to law that I don't feel like I wasted three years of my life, but that I'll actually enjoy doing for the next 40 years. And unfortunately, I keep coming up empty.

So, as you can tell, I'm incredibly motivated as I approach finals this semester, and then my last year of law school.


My advice: think long and hard about why you want to be a lawyer, and what you want to do as a lawyer. Be fully aware that, if you do become a lawyer, it will probably require buying into the whole system, because it's not that easy to go your own way and do your own thing. Possible, definitely, but not easy. And keep the expense in mind -- the debt is nothing to sneeze at. If, after all that, you still really want to go, then you should...but please, please don't go without doing a thorough examination of why.
 

ladypirate

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Thanks so much Gypsy and Octavia! Another question for you guys, what is considered a good LSAT score? I took it a couple of years ago and I think I should go ahead and use the score I have, but I'm wondering if I should try again and actually study/prepare for it this time around?

ETA: Also, in terms of school rankings, how important is going to a top tier school? There's one close by us that is ranked in the 70s...is that going to bite me in the butt if I go there?
 

Octavia

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It depends on where you want to go, LP. If you're aiming for a top school, 170+. If you're fine with a middle-range school, the higher the better (especially for scholarships). But undergrad GPA is a huge factor, too, so it's hard to say exactly. Also, I think applications are up, which makes it harder to get in and/or get any kind of money.
 

fleur-de-lis

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Date: 4/16/2009 1:57:34 PM
Author: ladypirate
Thanks so much Gypsy and Octavia! Another question for you guys, what is considered a good LSAT score? I took it a couple of years ago and I think I should go ahead and use the score I have, but I''m wondering if I should try again and actually study/prepare for it this time around?


ETA: Also, in terms of school rankings, how important is going to a top tier school? There''s one close by us that is ranked in the 70s...is that going to bite me in the butt if I go there?
It depends on what your score was (if you care to share the number, people could give more specific feedback), but if you didn''t study/prepare for it last time, it''s probably a good guess that you should take it again AFTER studying.
 

ladypirate

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Date: 4/16/2009 2:05:26 PM
Author: fleur-de-lis

Date: 4/16/2009 1:57:34 PM
Author: ladypirate
Thanks so much Gypsy and Octavia! Another question for you guys, what is considered a good LSAT score? I took it a couple of years ago and I think I should go ahead and use the score I have, but I''m wondering if I should try again and actually study/prepare for it this time around?


ETA: Also, in terms of school rankings, how important is going to a top tier school? There''s one close by us that is ranked in the 70s...is that going to bite me in the butt if I go there?
It depends on what your score was (if you care to share the number, people could give more specific feedback), but if you didn''t study/prepare for it last time, it''s probably a good guess that you should take it again AFTER studying.
I got a 168 on it, which is apparently decent. I''m just not sure if it''s worth going back and taking it again if I don''t really care about going to a really well known school (it''s more important for me to stay relatively local).
 

Gypsy

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What do you mean what do we consider a good score honey? If you mean objectively, then I would advise you to call the schools you are interested in and ask them for the average score and GPA of their accepted students. They should have that information.

If you are asking what my score was when I say that I scored well... I scored in the 99th percentile.

As for the recovering lawyer comments... If you read the thread I posted someone said that lawschool changes you. IT DOES. I won't get dramatic and say that it rips away your innocence or that it warps you (though it can) but... it changes you A LOT. And it takes a while to find a balance again after school.

My primary problem with lawschool is that they tell you that they want to train you to 'think outside the box'... and then DO want you to do that. But what they don't say is that you aren't 'freeing your mind' with this training. You are trading one box for another one... one with a very distinct set of qualities and views. And for many, realizing that you need to start thinking outside THAT box and truly freeing your mind, takes a while to happen. If it happens at all.

I don't like the person lawschool started to carve out of me. I rebelled against it while IN lawschool, but it still changed me. And finding the right balance for me (without completely deleting the changes lawschool wrought which would be impossible) to be able to decide for myself who I really am, has been hard.

Then there is the expense of it. And the credit cards they throw at you. And the impression others have that you MUST want to be X, and you must make Y, etc. It's a PITA.

I don't know if I'm being to philosophical. If you want a couple of concrete examples. I can think of a few to demonstrate what I mean.
 

Octavia

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Other thoughts from me (man, I''m on a roll today):

LP, my school usually ranks in the high-50s, low-60s. It''s fine as long as you don''t want to be a law professor, or to go work for Skadden in NYC after graduation (''cause, you know, Skadden is giving its associates a year off at 1/3 pay a.k.a. $80K to cut costs, and they''re "surprised" at how many associates have offered to take them up on it, heh). If you plan to stay local, it''s usually fine to go to a local school, and can be a good thing because you can start networking and integrating yourself into the legal community while you''re there.

Other caveat to my rant above -- a lot does depend on location. My perceptions are based on being at a law school in a large city, and seeing how the profession functions in this city. I do think I could stomach being a small-town lawyer (though whether I''d be truly satisfied is a toss-up), but since there''s about 0.0001% chance that FI and I will ever live in a small town, I don''t see that as a viable option right now.
 

Octavia

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Gypsy, can you give a few concrete examples if you''re comfortable doing so? I SO hear you about the boxes and feeling closed in and not knowing how to get free of it, and I''m at a bit of a low point right now, so anything that can help me claw my way out, or even just know that it''s possible to do that, is VERY VERY appreciated.
 

Octavia

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Date: 4/16/2009 2:08:43 PM
Author: ladypirate
Date: 4/16/2009 2:05:26 PM

Author: fleur-de-lis


Date: 4/16/2009 1:57:34 PM

Author: ladypirate

Thanks so much Gypsy and Octavia! Another question for you guys, what is considered a good LSAT score? I took it a couple of years ago and I think I should go ahead and use the score I have, but I''m wondering if I should try again and actually study/prepare for it this time around?



ETA: Also, in terms of school rankings, how important is going to a top tier school? There''s one close by us that is ranked in the 70s...is that going to bite me in the butt if I go there?

It depends on what your score was (if you care to share the number, people could give more specific feedback), but if you didn''t study/prepare for it last time, it''s probably a good guess that you should take it again AFTER studying.
I got a 168 on it, which is apparently decent. I''m just not sure if it''s worth going back and taking it again if I don''t really care about going to a really well known school (it''s more important for me to stay relatively local).
I got a 167 and didn''t re-take, but that was just my own preference. I knew it was good enough to get me into the school I wanted to go to, and was pleasantly surprised that it also got me a huge chunk of scholarship money. But every school is different -- definitely call up admissions at your top choice school and see what they have to say.
 

Gypsy

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Date: 4/16/2009 2:16:14 PM
Author: Octavia
Gypsy, can you give a few concrete examples if you''re comfortable doing so? I SO hear you about the boxes and feeling closed in and not knowing how to get free of it, and I''m at a bit of a low point right now, so anything that can help me claw my way out, or even just know that it''s possible to do that, is VERY VERY appreciated.
Oh honey. I''m so sorry. YES. I will think of a few examples. Can you give me a few hours? I got a meeting coming up in a little while I need to prep for. But I will come up with a few for you, promise.
 

fleur-de-lis

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Date: 4/16/2009 2:08:43 PM
Author: ladypirate
Date: 4/16/2009 2:05:26 PM

Author: fleur-de-lis


Date: 4/16/2009 1:57:34 PM

Author: ladypirate

Thanks so much Gypsy and Octavia! Another question for you guys, what is considered a good LSAT score? I took it a couple of years ago and I think I should go ahead and use the score I have, but I''m wondering if I should try again and actually study/prepare for it this time around?



ETA: Also, in terms of school rankings, how important is going to a top tier school? There''s one close by us that is ranked in the 70s...is that going to bite me in the butt if I go there?

It depends on what your score was (if you care to share the number, people could give more specific feedback), but if you didn''t study/prepare for it last time, it''s probably a good guess that you should take it again AFTER studying.
I got a 168 on it, which is apparently decent. I''m just not sure if it''s worth going back and taking it again if I don''t really care about going to a really well known school (it''s more important for me to stay relatively local).
Would you need to finance this degree through loans? (A high LSAT score can entice scholarship offers from mid-tier schools.)
 

ladypirate

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I have some money that I could use for school, but some of it would also be through loans. It would definitely be helpful to get scholarships. I guess my question is whether taking an LSAT prep course would increase my score enough to justify the cost of the course.

The school that is local to us is Lewis and Clark, which I have heard good things about and which is very well regarded in this area (where we plan on staying, so that''s a positive).
 

Octavia

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Date: 4/16/2009 2:21:30 PM
Author: Gypsy
Date: 4/16/2009 2:16:14 PM

Author: Octavia

Gypsy, can you give a few concrete examples if you''re comfortable doing so? I SO hear you about the boxes and feeling closed in and not knowing how to get free of it, and I''m at a bit of a low point right now, so anything that can help me claw my way out, or even just know that it''s possible to do that, is VERY VERY appreciated.
Oh honey. I''m so sorry. YES. I will think of a few examples. Can you give me a few hours? I got a meeting coming up in a little while I need to prep for. But I will come up with a few for you, promise.
No rush whatsoever! I''m stuck here for another year, so anytime within the next few months is perfectly acceptable to me.
Thanks so much for the assistance, I''ve actually been planning to ask if I could get your thoughts about this stuff for awhile so I''m grateful that you''re open to it.
 

Octavia

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Date: 4/16/2009 2:31:24 PM
Author: ladypirate
I have some money that I could use for school, but some of it would also be through loans. It would definitely be helpful to get scholarships. I guess my question is whether taking an LSAT prep course would increase my score enough to justify the cost of the course.


The school that is local to us is Lewis and Clark, which I have heard good things about and which is very well regarded in this area (where we plan on staying, so that''s a positive).
Have you looked at this website? Keep in mind that it''s not official and people self-report, so it''s probably somewhat skewed. When I was applying, I did find that it gave a decent ballpark-estimate overview, though.
 

lulu

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I don''t regret it at all. I knew in grade school that was what I wanted. I was influenced by my dad who would''ve gone if he could have afforded it. Besides that I''m temperamentally suited to it. I didn''t care for lawschool. I went locally and worked full time which caused a lot of stress. But, I lived at home so I was debt free when I graduated. I was a family law referee for 27 years and I loved it. Now I''m retired and mediating a couple times per month.I miss the work and colleagues but not the 9 to 5.
Though I have to say I''d still be working full time if my husband hadn''t been ready to retire and move to the lake. I love lawyers. I love talking to them and swapping stories.


If you want to stay where you''re at a local law school is good enough.
 

fleur-de-lis

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Date: 4/16/2009 2:31:24 PM
Author: ladypirate
I have some money that I could use for school, but some of it would also be through loans. It would definitely be helpful to get scholarships. I guess my question is whether taking an LSAT prep course would increase my score enough to justify the cost of the course.
Knowing what I know now, I would recommend it. Every point counts at that level. I know that hearing only one person''s story makes it a mere anecdote, but test prep worked for me; my schedule was too jam-packed for self-study, but I totally credit the forced structure of PR to bumping me up to the 99th percentile.
 

absolut_blonde

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It''s something I''ve toyed (well, struggled rather) with for years as well.

Ultimately, I realized I would probably regret it either way - going or not going. Much of what Octavia said sums up my reasons for not going. I have no interest in a job that requires 80 hour work weeks and offers no work/life balance. My reasons for wanting to are you typical ones, interest in the field, something I always wanted to do.


At this stage in my life, I think I can live with the regret of not going-- that is, the "what if". Financially, going and regretting it would be a terrible move for me at this point because I''m at the age where we''re settling down, buying a house, will have kids in a few years, etc. I can''t justify taking on 30k of debt to pursue a field that, from all accounts I''ve heard, the practice of which I probably would not enjoy. At best I worry I would be unhappy; at worst I fear I''d feel really trapped after having invested so much money into it.

Although I agree that government law looks a lot better - the lawyers I work with (I am in government) don''t seem to fit the stereotype of big law at all.
 

Gypsy

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Okay are my initial thoughts. This is pretty personal so… take it for what it’s worth, knowing it’s one person’s experience.


Here are some random thoughts/ experiences about ‘the box’:


I remember after my first year torts class one day some friends and I were walking down this really badly designed staircase and we started talking about contributory negligence jurisdictions, wondering if we were in one, and whether or not failing to use the (dirty and gross) handrail would qualify. It was so weird to view the world that way. Little by little the knowledge and the training started coloring everything around me. Sometimes I was conscious of it. Sometimes I wasn’t.


A while later I was in another class, I don’t recall the title, but basically the point of it was to force you to argue the same issue from different points of view, manipulating a set of facts, some laws, finding gray areas and exploiting them. I hated that class from the first day and didn’t know why (because the above wasn’t in the course description, it was titled something innocuous), until I figured out that I didn’t WANT to train my mind to think that way. But I started to do so anyway… sitting in a class for hours a day, even if you hate what you are being taught, for an semester and being forced to learn that for a grade, if nothing else has an impact on you. I was very depressed, clinically during and immediately after that course. It seemed like… there was nothing sacred, no immutable, nothing that couldn’t be broken down and attacked by the right pack of wolves.


Pretty soon after I passed the bar I took a job with a firm (it was a temp. job) and I was doing mass tort defense for pharmaceutical insurance. And some was giving us a briefing on the facts of the case and the lawyer next to me said, “too bad they lived, if they’d have died it would have been so much cheaper.” And the analytical part of my mind was nodding. I was horrified and a week later when they offered me a permanent position. I declined and quit.


Now I do contracts. And I twist and turn and manipulate things to suit my arguments… employing the skills I so abhorred learning in that depressing class. I work in a state of constant conflict, trying to force resolution and ‘compromise’… so long as it suits me. It fits my company’s ‘reasonable’ standard.


When I interact with people, even my husband, and even for non-work related things (wedding planning) that sense that nothing is immutable, nothing is constant, there are shades of grey everywhere and everyone is out to get me and I have to constantly be diligent about liability… it bleeds into the other aspects of my life. And I consciously have to fight it back. It came out in full force during my wedding planning. The vendors were opposing counsel. Everything is adversarial. I am getting much better at fighting it. But it can be really wearying.



Light outside the box:

I find that having non-lawyer friends is a really good thing. They don’t have the same viewpoint, the same ‘damage’ and it helps me keep level. Part of the problem with lawschool is that you are all THERE, and no one can help anyone out with a helping hand.


So many law students and new lawyers are SO litigious, everything is a battle to be fought and won with this new ‘power’ you suddenly have. With time, that goes away. And you really do learn to pick your battles. To realize the people and relationships are a fact pattern on an exam, that sometimes compromising even if you CAN force the outcome you want and WIN, is the best solution because it maintains or creates an ongoing relationship.


Alternate Careers.


There really REALLY are a lot of things you can do with a law degree. My lawschool career placement program is just as bad as yours.


Here’s what I learned through my travels on the path less travelled after lawschool:


Pick up the book... I forget what it''s called but it''s something like... 1000 things you can do with a law degree or something (other than flush it, use it as a dartboard, etc.). I''ve heard it''s pretty good in helping people figure out what quasi-legal (instead of firm to in house or partner) or non-mainstream legal type jobs there are out there.


I know that for me, I love that I can use the stupid degree without practicing and that it bumps up my salary, opens doors for me, and that the school name puts my resume to the top of the pile for the positions I am looking at. But that''s because I don''t work in a standard and ''full'' legal position. So JD''s are actually very sought after for what I do (if you can convince them you are sincere and not trying to backdoor your way to an inhouse counsel position), and ones with the pedigree I have are very rare. Gives me a nice edge. And honestly a decent salary (at least one I am happy with) and a pretty good amount of job security plus (usually, though not in the current economy) a nice work/life balance (no billable hours YAY!).


For people who like contracts and negotiation... what I do is great. Plus, if you take a couple of courses in Procurement and Sourcing... not to mention a government contracting course or two (FAR, etc), you become even more marketable (something I''m considering).


If you can find out information on what types of ''alternative careers'' are out there and what courses at a local community college would help you get there or what quicky certificates (I think Procurement certificates are less than a year at most places) to add to their resume would make an impact, it would be useful.


Some alternate careers are: Legislative Bill Drafters (every state needs them, look into Urban Planning ... every city needs attorney''s who know about zoning, receivership, land-use issues, sprawl... etc. These aren''t high paying jobs but they have nice job security.


There is light. But you have to be conscious to seek it. And the resources to get you there are harder to find, but they ARE there. I promise.


Hope this helps!



 

Brown.Eyed.Girl

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Date: 4/16/2009 2:09:22 PM
Author: Gypsy
What do you mean what do we consider a good score honey? If you mean objectively, then I would advise you to call the schools you are interested in and ask them for the average score and GPA of their accepted students. They should have that information.


If you are asking what my score was when I say that I scored well... I scored in the 99th percentile.


As for the recovering lawyer comments... If you read the thread I posted someone said that lawschool changes you. IT DOES. I won''t get dramatic and say that it rips away your innocence or that it warps you (though it can) but... it changes you A LOT. And it takes a while to find a balance again after school.


My primary problem with lawschool is that they tell you that they want to train you to ''think outside the box''... and then DO want you to do that. But what they don''t say is that you aren''t ''freeing your mind'' with this training. You are trading one box for another one... one with a very distinct set of qualities and views. And for many, realizing that you need to start thinking outside THAT box and truly freeing your mind, takes a while to happen. If it happens at all.


I don''t like the person lawschool started to carve out of me. I rebelled against it while IN lawschool, but it still changed me. And finding the right balance for me (without completely deleting the changes lawschool wrought which would be impossible) to be able to decide for myself who I really am, has been hard.


Then there is the expense of it. And the credit cards they throw at you. And the impression others have that you MUST want to be X, and you must make Y, etc. It''s a PITA.


I don''t know if I''m being to philosophical. If you want a couple of concrete examples. I can think of a few to demonstrate what I mean.

It''s made me cynical. Well, MORE cynical


Margot, I''m going to come back to this thread tonight and post - I''m a 2L. Unfortunately I have class in 20 minutes and need to get my butt moving!
 

panda08

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No regrets whatsoever. By and large, I really enjoyed my experience, despite the occasional frustrations. It was enriching intellectually and emotionally. I learned a lot about who I am and I met lifelong friends. I liked it a whole lot more than undergrad.

With that said, I can see how law school is not for everyone. The learning curve is very steep. It is competitive and can be very much so depending on the school you attend. It is not exactly the best place to learn how to lawyer... most of that, I learned from experience after I graduated.

I always wanted to be a lawyer so the decision to go to law school was a no brainer. Even though I think a law degree is helpful in general, no matter what profession you are in, I agree with Octavia that you should think long and hard about why you want to go. A lot of the people I knew who were miserable were the ones who went to law school because of either (a) parental pressure; (b) thought they could make $$$ as a lawyer and had no other reason to become one; or (c) didn''t know what else to do after undergrad.
 

fleur-de-lis

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Date: 4/16/2009 3:14:09 PM
Author: Gypsy
... When I interact with people, even my husband, and even for non-work related things (wedding planning) that sense that nothing is immutable, nothing is constant, there are shades of grey everywhere and everyone is out to get me and I have to constantly be diligent about liability… it bleeds into the other aspects of my life. And I consciously have to fight it back. It came out in full force during my wedding planning. The vendors were opposing counsel. Everything is adversarial. I am getting much better at fighting it. But it can be really wearying....
I fear every potential student skimmed over these words as part of the whole, and every current lawyer not only zeroed in on this phrase, but woefully chuckled to themselves in total agreement-- both about the phenomenon and how terribly lifeforce-draining this instilled perspective is, especially in areas of your life that have nothing to do with the practice of law.
 

Octavia

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Gypsy, thank you so much for putting all that out there. It does help a lot, and it's scary to see some of the parallels between what you said and what I think. I still think about contributory negligence and assumption of risk pretty often (ETA: who am I kidding. Make that every time I set foot out of my apartment), a year and a half after torts class...and I forced my wedding photographer to break out the fancy, expensive, lawyer-drafted contract that she hates to use. And then I made changes to it. I felt like an awful person, but at the same time rationalized it because "it's for both of our protection, not just for me." It's also funny because I don't think of myself as adversarial/litigious (especially in comparison to my classmates) but law school has changed the way I talk, even to FI, who constantly has to remind me not to use "lawyer-words" and not to pick everything apart all the time.

Honestly, I'd love to work for small agriculture in some sort of advocacy role. I think small farms and sustainable practices are vital to our food supply, and it drives me nuts that industrial agriculture is more protected (dare I say favored?) under most state and federal laws than small farmers are. BUT I don't really want to be a lobbyist, either, and I don't know how to fashion some kind of hybrid role.

Panda, what's funny is that I don't fit into a), b), or c). While my parents have always expected me to do something "worthwhile" with my life, they didn't put pressure on me to do anything in particular. I never had expectations of making a lot of money as a lawyer, and I worked in a completely different field for three years between college and law school. I was incredibly positive going into it, but something about the law school system, and the constant emphasis on doing the "right" activities and getting the "right" jobs and grades, grades, grades just stripped all the joy from it. And then you start hearing from panels of practicing lawyers who say "well, I average about 60, 65 hours a week if I'm not busy, but it actually doesn't feel like that much. Even a 100 hour week is do-able, it's just when you have two or three in a row that it feels a bit overwhelming" and you can tell that they're lying through their teeth. Blech. I don't want them to hide reality, but I also can't bring myself to accept that as my reality, no matter what the paycheck is.
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
Date: 4/16/2009 3:40:39 PM
Author: fleur-de-lis




Date: 4/16/2009 3:14:09 PM
Author: Gypsy
... When I interact with people, even my husband, and even for non-work related things (wedding planning) that sense that nothing is immutable, nothing is constant, there are shades of grey everywhere and everyone is out to get me and I have to constantly be diligent about liability… it bleeds into the other aspects of my life. And I consciously have to fight it back. It came out in full force during my wedding planning. The vendors were opposing counsel. Everything is adversarial. I am getting much better at fighting it. But it can be really wearying....
I fear every potential student skimmed over these words as part of the whole, and every current lawyer not only zeroed in on this phrase, but woefully chuckled to themselves in total agreement-- both about the phenomenon and how terribly lifeforce-draining this instilled perspective is, especially in areas of your life that have nothing to do with the practice of law.
Yeah.



BTW... I'm sorry that the post above is so poorly written. I read through it now that my meeting is over and ... will do an edit and re-post of it later today.
 

CNOS128

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 28, 2008
Messages
2,700
I basically agree with everything Gypsy and Octavia said. I'm a 2L, and all of my friends in law school are basically miserable most of the time. Then there are the people I can't be friends with, because they are so aggressive and competitive and argumentative that they make me uncomfortable -- those are the people who, at my school, enjoy their law school experience (relatively speaking).

There are parts that I find interesting, but like Octavia, I don't really think I want to practice. My limited experience with transactional law has been monumentally boring. My litigation experience is more extensive, and while litigation can be kind of fun, I don't have a passion for it. I get tired of fighting eventually.

What's keeping me in school? I don't know what else to do right now. And I have a full scholarship if I stay above a B+
average (not as easy as I thought it would be!), so I might as well stay for free.


I might head toward one of those alternative careers Gypsy mentioned. But as fewer lawyers are being hired at firms, that may prove difficult. We'll see!


ETA: oh, I also don't fall under the Parental Pressure, Wanted to Make Money, Didn't Know What Else to Do After Undergrad categories. I wanted to work in public interest law. I was pretty certain about this, and about exactly what I wanted to do. Now, I'm not.
 

onedrop

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 24, 2006
Messages
2,216
I guess I should chime in here as well. I am now 10+ years out of law school and I have mixed feelings about the whole deal. I went into law school thinking that being a lawyer was absolutely what I wanted to do. Many of my heroes were/are lawyers and I just wanted to be able to affect people in the same way that they affected me. And I also thought that practicing law was the best way for me to change the world in my own little way. I had a some moments of wanting to take another path and go to grad school, because I also had designs of working for a think tank like the Brookings Institution. However, in the end I kind of pushed myself to follow through with law school. Today I don''t regret doing so, but I do often wonder where I would be had I taken the other path.

For me the hours were grueling and I really hated the feeling of having so much to do that I felt I didn''t even have time to go to the bathroom! There were times during that three year period I HATED law school and ALL lawyers included. But now 10 years after the fact, I feel like I have settled into a nice groove. All of the hard work was worth it because I chose an area of law and type of practice that allows me to have a life for the most part. I never wanted the law firm experience, so I never pursued that. Yes, I flirted with the prospect a few times, but I knew I could not devote 70-80 hour work weeks and still remain happy with my life. Nothing against anyone that loves this type of lifestyle, but it wasn''t for me.

So my advice is that if going to law school is something you want to do...absolutely go for it. There are a lot of options for the type of practice you desire once you graduate that don''t require crazy amounts of billable hours. Personally, I chose public interest/governmental work because I knew what would fit my lifestyle and I felt that those areas of law would help me to actually help people which was my desire all along. On the other hand, if you are at all unsure whether law is what you want for the rest of your life, or you are sure that you don''t want to practice afterward, I think it''s best to take that time to think about what you really want to pursue.
 

fleur-de-lis

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 25, 2007
Messages
1,343
Date: 4/16/2009 4:03:48 PM
Author: TheBigT
I basically agree with everything Gypsy and Octavia said. I''m a 2L, and all of my friends in law school are basically miserable most of the time. Then there are the people I can''t be friends with, because they are so aggressive and competitive and argumentative that they make me uncomfortable -- those are the people who, at my school, enjoy their law school experience (relatively speaking).


There are parts that I find interesting, but like Octavia, I don''t really think I want to practice. My limited experience with transactional law has been monumentally boring. My litigation experience is more extensive, and while litigation can be kind of fun, I don''t have a passion for it. I get tired of fighting eventually.


What''s keeping me in school? I don''t know what else to do right now. And I have a full scholarship if I stay above a B+

average (not as easy as I thought it would be!), so I might as well stay for free.



I might head toward one of those alternative careers Gypsy mentioned. But as fewer lawyers are being hired at firms, that may prove difficult. We''ll see!



ETA: oh, I also don''t fall under the Parental Pressure, Wanted to Make Money, Didn''t Know What Else to Do After Undergrad categories. I wanted to work in public interest law. I was pretty certain about this, and about exactly what I wanted to do. Now, I''m not.

So, in other words, you''ve lost your certainty, not even your formerly clear goals are absolute any longer, and even your passion for this has been tempered by... SHADES OF GREY?
 
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