I've touched on this tangentially in other posts, but I'd like to address the issue directly in this post: Why did I go to law school if I don't really like the law or have any interest in actually practicing? It's a fair question. The simple answer was that this wasn't actually my attitude when I first enrolled in law school.
Before going into more detail, let me say that I accept that I wasn't blameless in my decision. I've noted before that I fell for a scam a la one of those late night get rich quick infomercials. I'll concede some pride and greed played a role in my decision. I was naive and should have looked into the decision more.
That said, my decision to pursue law school wasn't entirely illogical. I didn't just decide to go on a whim.
Before going to law school, I worked for an organization that did a lot of business oriented research. I was bored at work, and I knew that the people who received the more interesting assignments and had greater seniority all had graduate degrees. Many had law degrees. I thought getting such a degree would enhance my employment opportunities. In the area of work I was once interested, I felt having a legal education would really be an asset.
I also was under the impression that if I did well enough, I had a good chance of getting one of those coveted summer associate/big firm offers. I believed a JD would also open a bunch of doors for me. Additionally, there were aspects of the law that interested me. I really enjoyed legal/political/constitutional theory. I thought I would also find some intellectual satisfaction in law school. Furthermore, I was curious about practicing law: actually going into a court room, dealing with clients, and being an advocate.
On top of this, I thought that even if I didn't end up working as an attorney or in another legal oriented position, law school would still pay dividends. I would have a graduate/professional degree. I thought that it would be helpful in securing employment in other fields. I would learn critical thinking and research skills. I would meet new friends in my age bracket and make new contacts. It would a great experience and would pay off in the long run.
Disagree if you want, but even though my life long goal wasn't to be a practicing attorney, I think I had a pretty sound plan. Now, it turns out most of my assumptions were rather unrealistic and unfounded. That's why I use this blog (in part) to stand as a bulwark between 0L's and law school misinformation.
It turns out that the field I was in does hire attorneys, but the positions are usually very competitive. I have some connections that many other people do not. I don't want to move at this point, so I can't really try to even get back into my old company. The big law option was largely illusory. The employment/salary figures were misleading if not fraudulent.
Listening to some walking corpse drone on about the Penoyer decision wasn't exactly intellectually stimulating. (Apparently, discussing the efficacy of law and economics or debating originalism is for political theorists not budding attorneys.) Surprisingly, despite the dry and formulaic instruction we received, none of it was actually very practical.
Practicing law is also pretty disappointing. Appearing in court can somehow be both boring and tedious. Much of small firm practice is just pushing paper and dealing with procedural minutia. Clients are aggravating and in many cases not very admirable individuals.
A law degree is of no real use outside of the law (despite what the law schools often tell us). Having a graduate degree is not really that impressive to employers. (It and a strong back can get you a job stocking shelves at the local Piggly Wiggly.) Nobody pays for critical thinking and research skills - especially when college graduates with degrees in economics, political science, etc. can say the same thing.
The people in law school are amazingly arrogant, duplicitous, and unkind. Most professors do not care enough about their students to serve as useful contacts. I've found the same to be true about many practicing attorneys.
To be fair, there were some exceptions to my criticism of law school, but overall, most of my expectations were dashed.
I didn't enjoy learning about the law. I haven't found any practice area particularly compelling. (Not that it matters since there aren't any jobs.) Even trial practice gets old quickly. My law degree isn't opening doors in other fields (in fact, it may be closing them). With few exceptions, I didn't make any lasting connections from law school. The only thing I have to show for my three years is a diploma that's holding me back and a ton of debt.
This is why I'm looking to get out of law, and this is why I don't want others to make the same mistake.