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Frogman

Why law school?

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A lifelong friend of mine has questioned me on why I should be going to law school if I have never worked in a law firm. 

I want to hear from the community whether or not you had experience in a law firm prior to applying to law school. If not, how did you know you wanted to become a lawyer?

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I'd wager that >95% of law students have never worked in a law firm before attending law school.

Your friend's question should not dissuade you from law school whatsoever. 

As for your other question: why do YOU want to go to law school? What is pulling you in that direction? 

Learning the law? Money? Prestige? Helping others? Serving the community? A combination of some or all? 

That is a question only you can answer yourself.

Edited by JaysFan364
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This would make a perfect flaw question in the logical reasoning section of the LSAT (damn you LSAC for haunting me all these years)

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Anyway OP, I’m currently in my second year of law school and I can tell you that the majority of the students here still haven’t worked at a law firm yet and there’s nothing wrong with that. Your friend is just being a naive donkey. 

Edited by GingerBreadCookie
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12 hours ago, Astrowelkyn said:

I agree with your friend. That is why I didn't apply to medical school, because I didn't take the initiative to perform a heart transplant.

I don't think you can get into med school without significant volunteer work in a hospital or other caregiving setting like a distress line.

If it's implicit in your post that medical school is a significantly more selective and rigorous program of professional training then law school, then I agree 100%

Edited by Eeee

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While experience working in a law firm is not a necessary condition to succeed in law school nor your legal career down the road, if you are not fully certain that you want to practice law, then spending time working in a law firm is a much better path to figuring out whether you want to practice law than forgoing one year's salary to attend L1, wasting a year of your life without advancing your career, and paying tuition all before subsequently dropping out when you realize law isn't for you. Alternatively, you may become confident you want to make that investment based on non-firm legal experience (e.g. law enforcement, regulatory compliance, etc) or through other means (undergrad academic focus, long-standing interest, etc). 

There are always initially-eager law students whose inaccurate perceptions of legal practice or lack of passion lead to abandoning their studies or accruing unnecessary, life-altering debt because they weren't yet confident that law was the future they wanted, aka the "I'm in law for the money and we'll see how law school goes" kids. I don't agree that the question is inherently naive, perhaps simply decontextualized or poorly worded.

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16 minutes ago, Eeee said:

I don't think you can get into med school without significant volunteer work in a hospital or other caregiving setting like a distress line.

If it's implicit in your post that medical school is a significantly more selective and rigorous program of professional training then law school, then I agree 100%

Totally agree, but my comment was made mostly in jest. I only used medical school as an example as it was most familiar to me based on my grad program. I'm sure volunteering in a law-related field wouldn't hurt their application, but I'm not personally familiar with any positions as examples.

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It's not a bad idea to know what a lawyer does on a day-to-day basis before going to law school. TLS Forums has a great thread that goes into a day in the life of US lawyers in different practice areas, states, firm sized etc. Wouldn't hurt to read through that a bit. Otherwise, there's nothing wrong with going into law for the money, just make sure you know what you have to go through on a daily basis to earn your pay cheque. 

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21 minutes ago, Turtles said:

aka the "I'm in law for the money and we'll see how law school goes" kids

kids are so dumb. there are so many other, more pleasant ways to make $ than become a lawyer :D

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Just now, levin said:

kids are so dumb. there are so many other, more pleasant ways to make $ than become a lawyer :D

A lot of people say this, but it's not all that true. It's not like these people will suddenly have an aptitude for medicine or finance. And both of those professions are filled with miserable people who arguably work more hours. 

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What kind of job is available in a law firm that doesn't involve law school and will actually answer that question for you?
Smaller firms don't have much staff, sole practitioners often have no staff.

I can tell you that I worked at a university for years and thought I would love being a prof, it turns out I really like being on staff at a university and really like being on campus and I really hate teaching and trying to scramble together enough contracts every semester in hopes of finding a tenure track position, so I left.
 

I don't think working at a law firm will tell you whether you like being a lawyer or whether you're good at it. It might tell you if you're really good at collating documents and if you like that. It might tell you if you like answering phones and if you're good at that.

I seriously considered doing a paralegal certificate instead of or in advance of law but decided against it because everyone told me I would be lousy at it, since what I'm good at is telling people what to do and the scope for paralegals is very limited. YMMV. 

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13 minutes ago, setto said:

A lot of people say this, but it's not all that true. It's not like these people will suddenly have an aptitude for medicine or finance. And both of those professions are filled with miserable people who arguably work more hours. 

I agree with this comment. Many people idealize these jobs and even if they worked in a firm or hospital, if they continue viewing everything through a bias lens they are not going to get any objective views out of it. 
but yea there are a lot of other jobs that make more money than professionals for sure. 

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5 minutes ago, Turtles said:

While experience working in a law firm is not a necessary condition to succeed in law school nor your legal career down the road, if you are not fully certain that you want to practice law, then spending time working in a law firm is a much better path to figuring out whether you want to practice law than forgoing one year's salary to attend L1, wasting a year of your life without advancing your career, and paying tuition all before subsequently dropping out when you realize law isn't for you. Alternatively, you may become confident you want to make that investment based on non-firm legal experience (e.g. law enforcement, regulatory compliance, etc) or through other means (undergrad academic focus, long-standing interest, etc). 

There are always initially-eager law students whose inaccurate perceptions of legal practice or lack of passion lead to abandoning their studies or accruing unnecessary, life-altering debt because they weren't yet confident that law was the future they wanted, aka the "I'm in law for the money and we'll see how law school goes" kids. I don't agree that the question is inherently naive, perhaps simply decontextualized or poorly worded.

Be very careful in giving advice on something you have limited experience with. It is not common for people to drop out of law school in Canada. 

Speaking frankly, law is just an office job. It has high expectations and is compensated for it, but otherwise it is not that different than being an accountant or insurance salesman. Personally, I have always felt that being "in law for the money" is a good reason. Although that is a straw man and really it is more like "I am a driven person who enjoys detailed reading and thinking about things logically/objectively and wants to find a well compensated career to fit me."

You don't need to work in a law firm to know that you want to go to law school. You aren't qualified to do anything meaningful anyways. 

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Thank you for the all the replies.

*To clarify, my friend asked out of concern. He went on to say that he did not me wasting three years and moving away only to find out I hate being a lawyer. He has had two friends with aspirations of become a lawyer who worked in a law firm only to have their minds changed and not want to become lawyers.

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1 hour ago, Frogman said:

Thank you for the all the replies.

*To clarify, my friend asked out of concern. He went on to say that he did not me wasting three years and moving away only to find out I hate being a lawyer. He has had two friends with aspirations of become a lawyer who worked in a law firm only to have their minds changed and not want to become lawyers.

maybe you should get in touch with your friend's friends. or create a thread asking if anyone here regrets going to law school, hates being a lawyer, and what they would like to do instead if they could do this all over again. 

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Oh we have had a few of those threads before lol. 

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1 hour ago, Frogman said:

He has had two friends with aspirations of become a lawyer who worked in a law firm only to have their minds changed and not want to become lawyers.

Did these people go to law school, or did they just do clerical work at a firm? 

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18 minutes ago, Tagger said:

Did these people go to law school, or did they just do clerical work at a firm? 

They did not attend law school. Just clerical.

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