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Aryaa

Should I be lawyer?

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Hello, I'm a social work major and I'm thinking of going to law school. But of course, the first thing anybody says or you read online is that a law degree is expensive and many, many people regret choosing this stream. I kind of have a plan of what I want I do, and why I want to go to law school, so could you guys just look over this post and tell me if I'm one of the many students who isn't fit for law?

Reason I'm choosing to go to law school: I want to practice law, obviously. I am a social work major and I was planning to be a social worker but although I am empathetic, I can be easily drained by other people's trauma. But a career in law from what I have heard seems to be mostly boring paperwork, extensive reading, understanding the details, and of course helping the clients. I have been in legal troubles and I know how scary it can get, so I also know what a good lawyer can do, and what impact they can have on an individual by simply making them understand things better and working with them and providing on-the-spot support. I also love to analyze. School has taught me how to actually read and write critically, and that has really kindled my passion for studying. I like studying. I think law is essentially one profession where you never stop studying. I also downloaded a sample LSAT, and although I neither timed it nor did I attempt all the questions, section 2 and 3 were actually kinda fun, and I seemed to get a lot of them right so with some practice maybe I could kind of have fun giving the LSAT. I don't if that indicates anything, or any of this really, about ultimately how fit I turn out to be for this field, but do let me know if there's a gross oversight on my part. I just want to know if I should make this decision, I don't know if I'm cut for law.

My plan: I'm an international student studying in the US, I have no debt so far. Once I complete my undergrad I probably won't be getting a job here in the US, mostly because I want to get out of here as soon as I can, seriously this place is driving me crazy and I live in Indiana which is full of Neo-nazis so that's not been very nice. Anyway, so I plan to apply to law schools in Canada. My parents would be willing to fund my education partly, and I'm also going to have to take some loans. After that, hopefully I get into a school and if I do then hopefully after articling I'll get a job somewhere, and eventually move to a rural community because a) they need lawyers, b) I like small communities, c) I'm not a fan of big cities d) I get to do more outdoorsy stuff which my fat ass needs. I wonder what living there alone would be like, though. I don't know if it would be too weird for a single person to live if the community is full of families or something (that was something I'd heard from someone). If anybody lives or has previously lived in a small rural community let me know what your experience was, I'd appreciate it. 

Anyway, do my reasons and my weak-ass plan at least seem decent? I'm sorry if I don't make much sense, I'm just...kinda scared. I don't know, I'm making this big decision in my life that so many people regret, I don't want to fuck my life up, and also I don't even have the job experience or anything that would allow me to test-drive the legal world. I can only work part-time, on-campus jobs in US while I'm still here and they usually aren't related to this field. So fuck that.

But I digress. What do you guys think?

Edited by Aryaa
grammar and clarification

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If you have a social work background and you're thinking of going into law, then you'll most likely find yourself drawn or acclimated to family law or public interest law. But if you're easily drained by other people's trauma, then law doesn't sound like it's for you since you're certainly bound to be exposed to other people's legal trauma on a daily basis. In my view, legal work is akin to social work in many respects except that you have more agency in helping the person in court obviously. 

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3 minutes ago, aplj said:

If you have a social work background and you're thinking of going into law, then you'll most likely find yourself drawn or acclimated to family law or public interest law. But if you're easily drained by other people's trauma, then law doesn't sound like it's for you since you're certainly bound to be exposed to other people's legal trauma on a daily basis. In my view, legal work is akin to social work in many respects except that you have more agency in helping the person in court obviously. 

You're right, I may. But I've also heard that a lot of rural lawyers have more generalist work to do--so they act like a lot of things. And I'm fine with trauma and once I've completed this degree I might be better equipped with dealing with trauma (hopefully) but I can't take it ALL the time. I'm a crisis counselor right now (volunteer) and holy shite it's one suicide call after another. So I understand what you're saying but I think it also depends on where I practice. But of course I mean, being a lawyer would give me the power to help people sometimes more than social workers can and that has honestly been on mind a lot but I've been told to not expect life-changing work all the time in this field. So idk.

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22 minutes ago, Aryaa said:

You're right, I may. But I've also heard that a lot of rural lawyers have more generalist work to do--so they act like a lot of things. And I'm fine with trauma and once I've completed this degree I might be better equipped with dealing with trauma (hopefully) but I can't take it ALL the time. I'm a crisis counselor right now (volunteer) and holy shite it's one suicide call after another. So I understand what you're saying but I think it also depends on where I practice. But of course I mean, being a lawyer would give me the power to help people sometimes more than social workers can and that has honestly been on mind a lot but I've been told to not expect life-changing work all the time in this field. So idk.

I've been working in admin for law firms for at least three years now and most of what lawyers do is not life-saving work. That would only apply to a small percentage of the cases where their clients have good results. Otherwise, you're usually in mediation or trying to come to some sort of settlement that benefits both sides. I think the great thing about a law degree though is the education and invaluable knowledge you will reap about how the world works, and how the law works. I'd say go for it if you're willing to invest the time and money. 

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51 minutes ago, easttowest said:

I can't imagine how that would be useful in the real world. It sounds like 12 months of navel-gazing.

Thanks.

So who will go to this program?

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2 hours ago, Aryaa said:

Hello, I'm a social work major and I'm thinking of going to law school. But of course, the first thing anybody says or you read online is that a law degree is expensive and many, many people regret choosing this stream. I kind of have a plan of what I want I do, and why I want to go to law school, so could you guys just look over this post and tell me if I'm one of the many students who isn't fit for law?

Reason I'm choosing to go to law school: I want to practice law, obviously. I am a social work major and I was planning to be a social worker but although I am empathetic, I can be easily drained by other people's trauma. But a career in law from what I have heard seems to be mostly boring paperwork, extensive reading, understanding the details, and of course helping the clients. I have been in legal troubles and I know how scary it can get, so I also know what a good lawyer can do, and what impact they can have on an individual by simply making them understand things better and working with them and providing on-the-spot support. I also love to analyze. School has taught me how to actually read and write critically, and that has really kindled my passion for studying. I like studying. I think law is essentially one profession where you never stop studying. I also downloaded a sample LSAT, and although I neither timed it nor did I attempt all the questions, section 2 and 3 were actually kinda fun, and I seemed to get a lot of them right so with some practice maybe I could kind of have fun giving the LSAT. I don't if that indicates anything, or any of this really, about ultimately how fit I turn out to be for this field, but do let me know if there's a gross oversight on my part. I just want to know if I should make this decision, I don't know if I'm cut for law.

My plan: I'm an international student studying in the US, I have no debt so far. Once I complete my undergrad I probably won't be getting a job here in the US, mostly because I want to get out of here as soon as I can, seriously this place is driving me crazy and I live in Indiana which is full of Neo-nazis so that's not been very nice. Anyway, so I plan to apply to law schools in Canada. My parents would be willing to fund my education partly, and I'm also going to have to take some loans. After that, hopefully I get into a school and if I do then hopefully after articling I'll get a job somewhere, and eventually move to a rural community because a) they need lawyers, b) I like small communities, c) I'm not a fan of big cities d) I get to do more outdoorsy stuff which my fat ass needs. I wonder what living there alone would be like, though. I don't know if it would be too weird for a single person to live if the community is full of families or something (that was something I'd heard from someone). If anybody lives or has previously lived in a small rural community let me know what your experience was, I'd appreciate it. 

Anyway, do my reasons and my weak-ass plan at least seem decent? I'm sorry if I don't make much sense, I'm just...kinda scared. I don't know, I'm making this big decision in my life that so many people regret, I don't want to fuck my life up, and also I don't even have the job experience or anything that would allow me to test-drive the legal world. I can only work part-time, on-campus jobs in US while I'm still here and they usually aren't related to this field. So fuck that.

But I digress. What do you guys think?

I am from rural Alberta. 

First comment: definitely not weird to be an single professional living in a rural community. In fact if thats is where you want to settle, it might be a good idea to go there single. It can be difficult to go to a rural community with a spouse or family, there are huge life adjustments required and it can be a sacrifice many people are not willing to make. Also, I think it is definitely a stretch to say that most people in rural communities are families, there are still plenty of single/divored people of any age in both rural comminities and cities. 

Second comment: I found your write up interesting and a family member of mine has a similar story to what you are talking about. My grandpa was a social worker when he first moved to rural Alberta, after a number of years decided to continue his education and became a child psychologist. Moved back from California to rural Alberta. Has since had a very rewarding career there, feels like he is part of making the community a better place and is very involved. Now after retirement his one regret is not having become a family lawyer. He feels that he would have been able to be part of noteworthy change in childrens lives fighting for them in a way he could not have otherwise done. 

I see you have said you are exhausted by trauma, but being one a suicide phone line volunteer would be emotionally traumatic for literally every compassionate humanbeing I am sure. 

I am not a lawyer yet, so I can not speak to a persons apptiude for Law. However, I do think your interests could be an excellent starting point for a prospective lawyer. 

 

Edited by Calgarylaw2
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Oh thank you so so much, your comment made my day :)

Edited by Aryaa
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Your admission chances will be governed largely (almost entirely) by your GPA and LSAT. You haven't given your GPA, and you've burnt the free practice LSAT by not timing it or attempting all the questions. 

 

Whether or not you want to go to law school is entirely up to you. The obvious questions from your post, assuming from your description as being an 'international student in the US' implying you're not Canadian are how you plan to get status in Canada either for a study permit (proving ties to your home country) or to subsequently immigrate (even if you get a study permit, you can't simply do a degree and then stay), and how you plan to pay for it, as international fees are extremely high, and you would likely not be eligible for many of the common sources of funding (government loans, bank lines of credit). 

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Wow ... you're a bit all over the place OP. Look, I'll start with the obvious, not everyone who becomes a lawyer does so because they have have a burning passion for the thing. Some people become lawyers because it pays the bills, others do it because they didn't have any other ideas, others like the prestige of the title, and others want to help people. I have no idea what your interests are beyond not wanting to deal with people's emotional trauma, and it's certainly possible to practice in an area where you never have to deal with people's trauma. But I think this is exactly my issue with your question, it seems like you've done very little homework about the profession and want people here to tell you what to do. Honestly, there are so many practice areas and reasons for a person to do law that without more information almost nothing we say is going to be useful. 

I'm going to set aside whether you can even study in Canada and address the point you raised about regrets. Frankly, the people who usually end up regretting doing law are often people who went in with expectations that were wildly out of sync with the realities of the profession. Law school is expensive, and we don't get paid as much as the U.S. These two things can easily make law school a very bad financial decision. very quickly for a lot of people. It sounds like you'll have some help though.

My honest advice is that you do some more homework on practicing law in Canada. There are a ton of people who feel very rewarded in their legal careers, and a bunch who don't. Where you land will depend on many factors that we here know almost nothing about, because you haven't said anything about them. Also, your untimed  LSAT test means almost nothing. 

 

 

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No need for long paragraphs. If you want to be a lawyer you can be one. Its YOUR choice and no one elses. You need to believe in yourself first and say this is what I want to do. 

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20 hours ago, Aryaa said:

Reason I'm choosing to go to law school: I want to practice law, obviously. I am a social work major and I was planning to be a social worker but although I am empathetic, I can be easily drained by other people's trauma. But a career in law from what I have heard seems to be mostly boring paperwork, extensive reading, understanding the details, and of course helping the clients. I have been in legal troubles and I know how scary it can get, so I also know what a good lawyer can do, and what impact they can have on an individual by simply making them understand things better and working with them and providing on-the-spot support. I also love to analyze. School has taught me how to actually read and write critically, and that has really kindled my passion for studying. I like studying. I think law is essentially one profession where you never stop studying. 

Honestly it does sound like you have a decent enough handle on what being a lawyer is like, generally speaking, and why it might line up with the way you work. Yes, it's a lot of paperwork, attention to detail, and constant learning. Yes, a huge function of being a lawyer is communicating things clearly to people. Sometimes it feels like my primary functions are a) to manage a system that functions efficiently to get specific things done, and b) to help my clients understand what they are doing and make informed choices or govern their actions accordingly. 

"Vicarious trauma" can be an issue in certain legal fields too but your relationship to the individual would not be the same as that of a social worker. Even as a poverty lawyer providing free services to low-income clients through a legal clinic sometimes (often?) you get to be part of a real solution for the person. You can also, of course, practice in a field that doesn't overlap much or at all with other people's personal trauma. With a social work background though I would imagine that you'd be drawn to something that is personal. 

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