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IvanSinclair

How do I know if law school and the legal field is right for me?

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2 minutes ago, BringBackCrunchBerries said:

lol.

Look, your grades are a critical part of your decision. If you have a 90% chance to get into law school but a 20% chance to get into med school, maybe, if you apply 3+ times, then you need to factor those chances into your decision. 

From your added information about grades it looks like you would have no chance to perhaps a very slim chance of getting into at least four of the Ontario med schools. Perhaps a puncher's chance at Mac or Western. 

My comment was as much for you as it was for the other posters saying things like "go to med school" and "you should only go to law school if you are 100% into it." It's not that simple. 

I am a practicing lawyer who had an OMSAS cGPA of like 3.79 IIRC and tried without success to get into an Ontario medical school for two years before reluctantly attending law school. Now, from talking to doctors and thinking about my decision over the years and into my career, I am not so sure that I would have even been happier as a doctor.  

GPA is one factor of med admissions and telling someone they have no chance or a very slim chance solely based on wGPA is not a great approach.There are other aspects of an application to take into account for most schools (Mcat, especially the critical analysis score), work experience, volunteer work, research, etc. Not to mention there are also other schools in BC and Alberta with favourable weighing formula's. Am I saying it's easy or a guarantee? Of course not. But right now my goal is to get a better picture of the legal field to make an informed decision, or decide to take the risk of spending an additional 2-3 years pursuing something that is not a guarantee.

9 minutes ago, lh22 said:

If your parents' pressure is taking you where you don't want to go, you should consider financing your own degree. The expense itself may help you make a decision, especially in regards to your chances getting in to either med or law.

The average Canadian wage is $40k. $90-150k is not "reasonable." It's a lot of money that the majority of Canadians never touch. If you're wanting to earn that while being a lawyer or doctor, sure - lots of people want that in order to repay their degrees, and to make up for the time/work they put in for their education. But plenty of lawyers earn less than six figures so making big money is no guarantee. Practicing lawyers will be able to give you a better picture of that than me though, obviously. 

I have not said law is not where I want to go. I said I am unsure, which is why I am here. To get a better outlook. I realize earning potential in law is not as great as it used to be in the early 2000s. But if I spend 3 years in law school and work in the field for a decade, 90k+ would be nice. Have you seen the cost of houses in BC for example? It's insane.

I have already stated money is not my primary concern but it is something to factor into my decision and I am aware law is not going to lead to a guaranteed six figure income.

 

 

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1 minute ago, MountainMon said:

On a more positive note a math/phil background lends itself very well to writing the lsat.

Thank you! I definitely agree my background seemed to help a fair bit on lsat. I did not study for it a lot but still managed a decent score (164).

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3 minutes ago, IvanSinclair said:

I have not said law is not where I want to go. I said I am unsure, which is why I am here. To get a better outlook. I realize earning potential in law is not as great as it used to be in the early 2000s. But if I spend 3 years in law school and work in the field for a decade, 90k+ would be nice. Have you seen the cost of houses in BC for example? It's insane.

I have already stated money is not my primary concern but it is something to factor into my decision and I am aware law is not going to lead to a guaranteed six figure income.

I've lived in BC most of my life, so yes. What I mean is this: if you know your chances at med school aren't as high as law, you might look poorly on the years of lost opportunity with trying to get into med and the longer time it takes to finish, compared with the lost time where you could've been doing law. Or you might weigh doing an expensive JD and feel that changing your mind later won't be a financially feasible option. 

A 164 plus your GPA is a really good chance at law somewhere. Are you able to take any legal-type electives? I was able to take one which, while at an undergrad level, helped me dip my toes into what I might expect in law school. 

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17 minutes ago, IvanSinclair said:

GPA is one factor of med admissions and telling someone they have no chance or a very slim chance solely based on wGPA is not a great approach.There are other aspects of an application to take into account for most schools (Mcat, especially the critical analysis score), work experience, volunteer work, research, etc. Not to mention there are also other schools in BC and Alberta with favourable weighing formula's. Am I saying it's easy or a guarantee? Of course not. But right now my goal is to get a better picture of the legal field to make an informed decision, or decide to take the risk of spending an additional 2-3 years pursuing something that is not a guarantee.

I'm aware that admissions are holistic but GPA is still king. Many people with fringe GPAs are disappointed at how not holistic med admissions can feel. 

Excuse the Sherlock Holmes hat for one more second but if you were gung-ho about medical school you would have already taken the required science courses during your degree. 

You just sound a lot like past me, except I was nicer on the internet. It seems like you have never been decisive about medical school either. If you have a 3.76 GPA and a 164 LSAT then law school is a bird in the hand... I'm not sure how many birds in the bush that is worth these days but maybe bird math was part of your degree. 

Law can be surprisingly suitable to science/math majors and people with logical minds. 

People die as a rule so there is consistent work related to estates. 

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Quote

I have never really had a passion for the law, a part of me would like to come into this with an open mind and see if I enjoy it.

This statement doesn't really jive with this statement:

Quote

 If I tell them "oh by the way I need to do another year of sciences to prepare for med school" they would not be pleased I am sure.

You have the luxury of being able to give law a try, but not to take an extra year of sciences and go for med school? If you hate law after 1L, how would your parents feel about you dropping out?

It also is hard to rationalize this other statement of yours:

Quote

I have told myself I can always make a career change or go to grad/med school sometime in my 30s

You want to make your parents happy, and it seems that your parents are impatient with how long it's going to take to finish school and start your career. Yet you're willing to risk 3+1 years of law school and 4+X years of med school in order to avoid 1.5 years of extra undergrad?

You need to ask yourself some questions like:

  • If I remove my parents from the equation, what career would I go after?
  • What career opportunities available to me would provide the lifestyle I want?
  • How much time am I willing to invest before starting my career?

I think it's valid to pursue law for the lifestyle it could support. It's okay for a job to just be a job, and not "your life's passion." With that said, if you have opportunities in other careers that would provide the same lifestyle with less of a barrier to entry, that's the better option. 

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I sense a lot of parental pressure to pursue a "prestigious" line of work. There is nothing wrong with just working after your undergrad for a few years while you figure things out. Make sure that whatever you do, you are doing it because you want to and not because you don't want to let down your family.

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27 minutes ago, BringBackCrunchBerries said:

I'm aware that admissions are holistic but GPA is still king. Many people with fringe GPAs are disappointed at how not holistic med admissions can feel. 

Excuse the Sherlock Holmes hat for one more second but if you were gung-ho about medical school you would have already taken the required science courses during your degree. 

You just sound a lot like past me, except I was nicer on the internet. It seems like you have never been decisive about medical school either. If you have a 3.76 GPA and a 164 LSAT then law school is a bird in the hand... I'm not sure how many birds in the bush that is worth these days but maybe bird math was part of your degree. 

Law can be surprisingly suitable to science/math majors and people with logical minds. 

People die as a rule so there is consistent work related to estates. 

I didn't become interested in medicine until well into my 4th year. Academia was on my mind for a long time but it has its cons (a lot of cons) just like everything else. Most schools in Canada have scrapped their mandatory science prerequisites but it can help to have a wide variety of sciences for the mcat. In my 5th year I took general bio, chem and psyc but the MCAT tests physics, organic, and biochemistry on top of that. So it's either more schooling or trying to self learn/take prep courses. It would be wiser to take them in university with the lab components for chem to open up opportunities at schools that do have coursework requirements. As well as maybe US schools. That is all assuming I don't bother with law.

 

37 minutes ago, lh22 said:

I've lived in BC most of my life, so yes. What I mean is this: if you know your chances at med school aren't as high as law, you might look poorly on the years of lost opportunity with trying to get into med and the longer time it takes to finish, compared with the lost time where you could've been doing law. Or you might weigh doing an expensive JD and feel that changing your mind later won't be a financially feasible option. 

A 164 plus your GPA is a really good chance at law somewhere. Are you able to take any legal-type electives? I was able to take one which, while at an undergrad level, helped me dip my toes into what I might expect in law school. 

Thanks, I haven't looked into legal type electives actually but I will now. Maybe I can audit one or something like that.

Edited by IvanSinclair

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2 minutes ago, Aschenbach said:

I sense a lot of parental pressure to pursue a "prestigious" line of work. There is nothing wrong with just working after your undergrad for a few years while you figure things out. Make sure that whatever you do, you are doing it because you want to and not because you don't want to let down your family.

You're definitely right. It's a cultural thing for them and they have always held me to high expectations. I'm grateful for it because they have financed my studies and they want me to do well but it's a layer of added stress sometimes.

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Why is there so much pressure all of the sudden? I finished law school at your age. Yet you are barely finishing undergrad, haven't taken the courses for med school despite thinking you might be interested nor do you have any other firm career plans. 

My frank advice is that you seem quite immature and shouldn't make a decision of the magnitude of going to law school until you have some perspective. 

You only get one life, stop coasting through it thinking that "I am doing well academically" is enough to avoid making hard choices.

 

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10 minutes ago, Mal said:

Why is there so much pressure all of the sudden? I finished law school at your age. Yet you are barely finishing undergrad, haven't taken the courses for med school despite thinking you might be interested nor do you have any other firm career plans. 

My frank advice is that you seem quite immature and shouldn't make a decision of the magnitude of going to law school until you have some perspective. 

You only get one life, stop coasting through it thinking that "I am doing well academically" is enough to avoid making hard choices.

 

"My advice is that you seem quite immature" isn't advice. In fact I think that discounting the parental influence in certain cultures and calling someone immature for trying to gather information about a career before making an important life decision says way more about you, and your character.

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20 minutes ago, IvanSinclair said:

You're definitely right. It's a cultural thing for them and they have always held me to high expectations. I'm grateful for it because they have financed my studies and they want me to do well but it's a layer of added stress sometimes.

It sounds like prestige is a major factor in your decision making process. I’m not going to trash you for that here, but you should be aware that being a lawyer is not really a prestigious line of of work for most people, and definitely not comparable to being a doctor. Your parents’ idea of a “prestigious” lawyer is probably some Bay St / Wall St / TV lawyer type, trust me there’s no prestige in being a 90-150k lawyer lol. You run the risk of setting yourself and your parents up for major disappointment if you happen strike out in the biglaw recruit like the majority of law students.

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7 minutes ago, IvanSinclair said:

You're definitely right. It's a cultural thing for them and they have always held me to high expectations. I'm grateful for it because they have financed my studies and they want me to do well but it's a layer of added stress sometimes.

Anecdote: my family is just coming out of their three-month denial phase that my stats aren't good enough for UofT/UBC/Harvard/whateverthefuck. They asked me Every. Other. Day. If I was applying at [insert high admission standard school] because they're "known internationally." Or because it'll "get me into Big Law." They're also convinced I should run for Prime Minister someday. And they're not even paying for my tuition.

giphy.gif

You're in the incredibly lucky position that someone is paying for your education. But my point here is you need to make your decisions for you.

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FWIW, I also had parental/cultural pressure to be a doctor/lawyer/engineer/accountant. My parents were also funding my education. I actually wanted to be a lawyer, but I knew there were some things my parents wanted/expected that I knew wasn't going to happen. I was, at all material times, prepared to finance myself with my savings/PSLOC if they closed their wallets.

Sounds like you need to be mentally prepared for this option as well, OP.

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8 minutes ago, IvanSinclair said:

"My advice is that you seem quite immature" isn't advice. In fact I think that discounting the parental influence in certain cultures and calling someone immature for trying to gather information about a career before making an important life decision says way more about you, and your character.

Okay, snowflake. You're right, a 25 year old who bases their major life decisions disproportionately to appease their parents isn't immature. You should absolutely make major life decisions before you have a chance to grow up. 

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4 minutes ago, Mal said:

Okay, snowflake. You're right, a 25 year old who bases their major life decisions disproportionately to appease their parents isn't immature. You should absolutely make major life decisions before you have a chance to grow up. 

Wanting to make ones parents happy is not immature, and not the sole motivating factor for me. You do not know anything about me besides what I have typed in this thread. I have had to make serious life decisions and overcome hardships which is part of the reason I started my undergrad degree at age 20 as opposed to you who seems to find it important to brag about finishing law school at my age. You're an incredibly arrogant person and probably a testament to fact that narcissism is on the rise in Western society.

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You're a 25 year-old undergrad whose parents have paid (and will continue to pay) for your entire education. At some point, you need to detach yourself from familial expectations and start defining your own identity. That can be painful to hear -- it was for me -- but it's part of growing up. Your parents won't be there to live your life for you. 

I get it, it sucks to have someone tell you that you haven't made the best decisions. Up to a certain point, your first instinct is to defend those decisions and lash out at the people who are offering you advice because they just haven't been in your shoes! Resist that urge and listen to them - they're giving you that advice precisely because they've been in your shoes. 

Edited by Tagger
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2 minutes ago, IvanSinclair said:

You do not know anything about me besides what I have typed in this thread. 

****

You're an incredibly arrogant person and probably a testament to fact that narcissism is on the rise in Western society.

Dude. Cut it out. Practice what you preach. I get it, sometimes people say things online that you don't like, but you have to be prepared for that when you post. Like or dislike the wording, you asked for opinions, you are getting opinions. Responding to criticisms with attacks is not the way to go.

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I will never understand why people who explicitly ask for advice from STRANGERS ON THE INTERNET are then confused/shocked when people tell them things they don't want to hear. 

 

I can sympathize with you to an extent. Your situation reminds me a lot of things I've had to deal with. 

I'm an immigrant and I had immense pressure put on me by my very old-school family on numerous occasions when I had to make life-altering decisions. I can't even count the number of arguments we had about my undergrad and pursuing law. In the end, I had to make the decisions that were best for me, and while that can be a tough pill to swallow for your parents (especially for super traditional eastern europeans like mine), you have to do it for yourself.

Realistically your parents aren't going to be around forever. Then what? You've wasted a huge chunk of your life pursuing something that maybe your heart wasn't even 100% in. That's a way bigger bummer to me than some familial disagreements. 

Realizing what you want vs what your family wants was something that took me a VERY long time to negotiate, but I'm glad I came to the realization sooner rather than later. 

One last thing - barring other "hardships" you've made vague references to - you need to realize how extremely fortunate you are to even be in the position you are in. You're 25 years old, your parents are paying for your schooling, and you have to **gasp** decide between Law and Medicine. 

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Alright.... let's all take a breath and stop the dogpile I can see coming.

If anyone has anything constructive left to say please do. OP, you asked for advice and you're getting it. Take what you want and leave the rest but don't throw matches unless you want a flame war.

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21 minutes ago, LionelHutzz said:

I will never understand why people who explicitly ask for advice from STRANGERS ON THE INTERNET are then confused/shocked when people tell them things they don't want to hear. 

 

I can sympathize with you to an extent. Your situation reminds me a lot of things I've had to deal with. 

I'm an immigrant and I had immense pressure put on me by my very old-school family on numerous occasions when I had to make life-altering decisions. I can't even count the number of arguments we had about my undergrad and pursuing law. In the end, I had to make the decisions that were best for me, and while that can be a tough pill to swallow for your parents (especially for super traditional eastern europeans like mine), you have to do it for yourself.

Realistically your parents aren't going to be around forever. Then what? You've wasted a huge chunk of your life pursuing something that maybe your heart wasn't even 100% in. That's a way bigger bummer to me than some familial disagreements. 

Realizing what you want vs what your family wants was something that took me a VERY long time to negotiate, but I'm glad I came to the realization sooner rather than later. 

One last thing - barring other "hardships" you've made vague references to - you need to realize how extremely fortunate you are to even be in the position you are in. You're 25 years old, your parents are paying for your schooling, and you have to **gasp** decide between Law and Medicine. 

Because this is a forum for lawyers and law students. I came here to try to learn more about the field, and get a better idea of how I can explore it before I make the decision to go all in. I expected constructive, cordial, and objective discussion and advice. That has overwhelmingly been the case (and for those of you who sent me direct PM's you're amazing). I did not expect to be condescendingly grilled by a few (including a moderator for gods sake) for my grades, apparent "immaturity" and consideration for my parents view. That being said I appreciate that you can relate to my situation from a cultural perspective.

Edited by IvanSinclair

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