I'm a 24 year old mechanical engineering graduate from University of Waterloo. I finished school last April and started working at a medium size consulting firm (HVAC) in Toronto a couple of months after. I'm making about $55K per year.
After completing about 2 years (combination of coop work and current employment), I knew I wanted to achieve more than just being an employee, and do better both in terms of impact and job satisfaction as well as financial prospects. One of the main reasons I wanted to make a change from mechanical engineering was that I felt the field has become quite stagnant with most jobs (in Ontario) falling under energy consulting, and manufacturing. I would have picked computer science/software engineering but I absolutely hated programming.
Around Aug-Sep, I started considering law school as a potential choice. I'm mostly interested in IP and corporate law at the moment. I wrote the LSAT in November and got an offer for UofT in January, which caught me by surprise to be honest. I hadn't researched the law profession too extensively at that point since I thought, "Hey if by some chance I do get in then I'll do it in depth."
Anyway, some of the things I've read both here and on other website are somewhat concerning which I'll list below:
work/life balance (especially Big Law): I knew beforehand this was worse than most professions (including engineering), but frankly some of the posts and comments regarding people working as lawyers makes it seem they have next to no life outside of work (ie. working 70 hour or more weeks, weekends, etc.). now I'm not opposed to working long hours or through weekends (as they happen in my field close to deadlines), but I want to work to live and not the other way.
Financial investment\returns: this is somewhat related to the last point. Law school is expensive. Overall it is an investment well over $150K (including tuition, living costs, lost income while studying ,etc.). I've read that Law graduates make anywhere between $65-105K, depending on what sort of practice(biglaw, small/ boutique firm, government, etc.) they go into and how much they value their work/life balance. As an engineer I'm set to make about $80K by the time I become licensed (in about 2 years) and typically the salaries plateau in the low to medium six figures for senior engineers. I wouldn't want to make that big of an investment and come out the other side making the same or less money than I would've made as an engineer if I don't want to basically live in my office as a lawyer. And I certainly wouldn't want to go back to engineering after having made that investment and being away from the field for 3 years. Although I do recognize greater growth potential, and higher salary ceiling in law. Lastly, I'll add that I moved to Canada back in 2012, and it's basically just me, myself, and I here so I don't really have much parental help or assets to fall back on it that matters.
These, are the main things that have kept me from hitting that "firm accept" button. I would appreciate any comments, advice, and feedback.