This blog is not intended to provide legal advice, legal services or legal anything else. Don't sue me. All I have is debt anyway.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Opinions are like assholes

As I regularly get emails on the subject of "should I go to law school" and "should I have a baby in law school," I'm going to cite stuff I've previously written on the topics, since you've come here looking for my opinion:

Should I go to law school?  See: "Q&A with Moi," "Q and A with the Small Town Baby Lawyer from a Mediocre Law School," "So You Want to Be a Lawyer."

Should I have a baby in law school?  See: "Ask a MILS," "The Comment Box."

See also:  "Getting to Now" (up to 2009, between getting bar results and being sworn in), "Ask a Mom in Law School: Balancing Schedules and Interviewing," "Finding Satisfaction," and, for what it's worth, "Bar Exam Advice." 

In summary, do some due dilligence before you run off to take on 6-figure debt to go to law school.  Make sure it's what you really want, that you understand what it really is to be a lawyer, and that you want it based on good reasons, because there's no going back once you've done it.  Do a proper cost-benefit analysis, and look at it objectively, outside of the emotion of what you want to do with your life ("I just really really really want to go!"), the "sexiness" of the job (law is not sexy like Bobby Donnell, I promise), or like me, the hubris of being the "attorney" rather than the "paralegal" or "secretary."  There's no "undo."

I will never *seriously* tell someone NOT to go to law school, if they've really thought these things through.  (Although my standard advice is always to go running screaming away before even taking the LSAT.)  Law school is awful; if you enjoy it, there's probably something wrong with you and you need medication.  The practice of law is often quite awful.  It's mostly dull, tedious and people are assholes, both clients and opposing counsel, and many times the judges too.  But it can be very rewarding.  It can be exciting.  It can even be financially worthwhile.  It isn't likely to have all of those things though, it's much more likely you'll work really hard, long hours for not much payoff.  Understand that.  Accept that.  Assume it will be your life.  Assume that you won't even have a job, and you'll have to hang a shingle to be a lawyer, right out of law school.  If you understand your limitations and can live with that, and still want to do it, go for it.  Maybe you'll do better than most.

Also, before you commit, experience it for yourself.  Go work at a law firm.  Experience it firsthand.  Know exactly what you're getting into.  I promise, it's still hard, even if you go in with eyes wide open.  The unexpected still happens.  It's not a good job market.  You have to carve out your own career, and that takes time and dilligence.  I am getting to the point where I like where I've ended up, and this week has been a big one for accomplishments, but if I had it to do over again, I would have made different choices. 

But don't just listen to me, or Prof. Campos, and definitely do not listen to professional douchebags who went to douchy law schools and then never actually practiced law.  You have to make your own choices, and probably your own mistakes. 

Finally, if you've already made your bed...  If you're in law school, and are now wanting to breed, just understand what a bad pregnancy and/or a medically-fragile infant will mean for your finances if you do it in law school and have to withdraw for a semester or a year.  It's a sad possibility that can easily derail your entire life.  Be prepared for the worst, be happy when the best happens instead. 

Good luck.  You'll need it.


CM said...

LOL, apparently something is wrong with me and I need medication. I always suspected.

Other than that, I agree with you 100%.

rahul said...

Nice to see the update here.

Attorney At Large said...

I freakishly enjoyed some parts of law school, but admittedly they were the times I had cherry picked seminars where I could write whatever I wanted.