Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"Don't go to law school"

I was warned. Well sort of. I heard about people wasting money on TTT's - unfortunately, I thought the warnings only applied to schools truly ranked in the third tier or below. I never thought things could be so dicey for even tier 2 and tier 1 grads. I also wasn't aware of JD Underground or some of the other warning sites when I applied to law school.

I did, however, receive a personal warning from a recent law graduate in my old office. My organization had hired two relatively young female attorneys. They were going to show me how to do research at a local law library. I was making small talk with them as we headed into the library. At one point, I mentioned that I was planning on going to law school. At first, both of them gave the typical response, asking me how I was preparing for the LSAT and where I was looking to go to school.

While we were in the library, something strange happened. One of the women pulled me aside and looked at me with an expression I'll never forget. It was the expression someone makes when they know they're powerless to stop you but want to emphatically encourage you to reconsider your course in life. I assume it's the same face a mother may make as she tries to talk her adult son out of enlisting in the army or another parent may make when he/she seeks to persuade his/her child from moving in with a significant other before marriage. Instead of trying to shield me from from potential death or social shame, she pleaded with me "Don't go to law school."

I didn't really understand. This also came from a woman who paid reduced tuition at a tier 1 school and had a decent job. Unfortunately, I didn't realize why she was warning me about this path, and before I could inquire further, the other attorney came by and told me that she "loved law school".

The first attorney never expressed her concerns again nor did she explain her objections. I assume I can now guess her reasons. I suppose I can't say I was never warned, but I'm going to pledge to always take the time to explain why law school is a bad idea to anyone who asks. I'm also going to try to be more persistent when warning people about this sad path.


  1. Yes, by all means, please warn everyone about replicating your ill-considered path to career self-immolation. However, for those who want to practice law, there are no practical alternatives to law school.

  2. Maybe not, but how many people have truly investigated what it is to be an attorney? Also, take a look at some of the posts about networking, etc. - if you truly want to make the substantial sacrifice to become an attorney, fair enough, but I think more people would think twice if they heard both sides. That's the purpose of this blog (in part) and others.


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