I've learned a lot more in one year of law school than I ever learned in the four years of my undergrad. During the course of 1L year, I've realized that law school is not for the faint-hearted. I’m not saying you should steer away from law school (I definitely plan to stick it out), but if you plan on attending for any of the following reasons, may this serve as a warning: RECONSIDER.
My jaw dropped when I heard people give the following reasons for why they came to law school. If any of the five reasons listed below leave your lips, you might want to reconsider your future career in the law.
1. I want to go to law school because I want to be just like (insert name of favorite lawyer on TV).
Reality check: If you want to be the next Harvey Spector, good luck! Only 10% of lawyers go into corporate law, roughly, and you face some fierce competition for the best jobs. Also, it may take many years before you get to the top and become a senior partner at your dream law firm. It can be done, but it's definitely exaggerated on TV.
2. Getting a JD is better than getting an MA.
Reality check: Law school is not the “other option.” With a law degree, you are making a lifetime commitment to serve our justice system. At every turn you will be affecting some part of legislation, handling someone’s future, or even working towards making society a better place to live.
3. I came to law school to find my future spouse
Reality check: I am pretty sure that law school can not change your destiny, fate, kismet, etc. These things happen when they are meant to happen … Or so I am told.
4. 10 years in public service and I won’t have to pay off my student loans!
Reality check: Not true! Public service is definitely a rewarding field but you usually have to work for more than 10 years in order for your student loans to be forgiven. Also, a lot of careers you may think that qualify as public service may not, so make sure you do your research.
5. Well, I thought I’d try it out.
Reality check: It's cool you can afford to attend law school, but it's not cool if you are attending just to see if you can handle it. Law school is not something you just try out. It’s a huge financial commitment for many, and you dive into the material even before classes begin. You don't come to law school to figure out if you want to be a lawyer.
I’ve definitely met some great people my first year, but I must admit that when I heard some people tell me that they are in law school 'just because', it was kind of disappointing. I just have one thing to say to those who want to go law school for any of the reasons mentioned above: STOP RUINING THE CURVE FOR THE REST OF US.