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June 21, 2004

Considering Law as a Profession?

The Anal Philosopher has posted a reader's letter asking "what major would be most useful for law school." I'm going to offer some unsolicited advice: Don't do it!!!

Seriously though . . . don't do it! Okay, I'll be serious now. I'll let Keith opine on majors, and I'll offer some other advice. Don't do it!

Understand that many lawyers don't actually like practicing law. Much of the work is actually not that interesting and the hours and lifestyle are typically grueling. Lawyers are paid to worry about potential problems and to fight. Is this how you want to spend your time -- very much of your time mind you? If I had to do it over, I would study either finance and math and then go into the financial world, or I would find something that I truly loved and find a way to make a living doing it.

But if you think you really want to practice law, find out what lawyers actually do. Many people go into law without knowing what lawyers really do, and I believe that is why there are so many unhappy lawyers. So do this: Go get a job as a paralegal with the type of law firm or other legal employer that does what you think you might want to do as a lawyer. You could even take a job as a secretary. Work there for a while -- at least six months or so -- and find out what the lawyers actually do in their very long days. It might surprise you. Ask the lawyers whether they like what they do, but only after you have become friendly and they trust you enough to tell you how they really feel. Again, the answers you get might surprise you. After you do that, then decide whether you want to go to law school.

Having said all of that, there are good law jobs out there. And there are lawyers who really like what they do. But there are also many who don't and who would do something else if they had to do it all over again.

Posted by Old Benjamin at 08:16 PM | Permalink


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Old Benjamin, a lawyer, has some advice for prospective law students. See here. Ben is right; you should not become a lawyer unless you're [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 21, 2006 9:10:30 PM