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Thoughts on Law School Overall?

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Getting into law school is a big goal of mine, but I wanna know how the overall experience was for those who have graduated. Do you regret it, and if you could change something about it, what would it be? Any responses are greatly appreciated!

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I have been a lawyer for somewhere approaching 15 years. I do not regret it. 

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Are you asking about law school or the practice of law? Because while I'd hope that you'd enjoy law school, the bigger matter is whether you'll enjoy being a lawyer. And if you enjoy the latter it's tricky to regret the former. 

Edited by LawBlaw2019
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7 minutes ago, LawBlaw2019 said:

Are you asking about law school or the practice of law? Because while I'd hope that you'd enjoy law school, the bigger matter is whether you'll enjoy being a lawyer. And if you enjoy the latter it's tricky to regret the former. 

I initially was asking both, on the topic of law school and the practice of law. I realized it wasn't clear enough, my mistake!

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I loved law school and am happy with my 8+ years of practice.

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I really loved law school but didn't manage well in practice. Happy in policy.

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Take care of your mental health and overall health before attending law school. I learned this after law school working in one of the most depressing areas of law. Nonetheless, I found the practice more rewarding than law school.

Difficult work and stress are perpetual in this profession, but your health is worth more than any tuition or salary/bonus.

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The three year stretch of law school is the best or second-best period of my life so far. 
 

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Clerking now and I unquestionably prefer work over law school. Law school's great if you love cram, exam, and purge learning. The practical-skills courses made the experience tolerable (i.e., major paper, moot, trial practice). 

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21 minutes ago, mistertubby said:

overrated 

Do you mind to clarify on why you think it is overrated?

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Law school is school. It’s not exceptional in any significant way, in comparison to other programs. It was meh. 
 

I enjoy practising law. 

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While I was initially excited and enthusiastic about law school in 1L, I've come to have a lot of contempt for it by 3L. It's too academic and theoretical. It's a trade school but it does a horrible job of actually training lawyers. And there is no way in hell it needs to be three years long. Once you get a job lined up it feels like an irritating waste of time and money.

With that said, it's a relatively easy and low stress experience with the exception of short periods during exam season. Compared to working any real job or having any real responsibilities, that is. Can't really complain. You'll likely never have so little responsibility ever again afterwards until you retire, so you might as well try to enjoy it.

I do love legal work though. But I had specific interests in mind and would probably hate my life if I went to law school as a default option for lack of any other ideas and ended up in BigLaw.

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I should clarify that I returned to school after a number of years in the real world, which is definitely part of why it was so good. 

It has led to a job I like to do. This was not true of my old job and law pays more as well.

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3 minutes ago, easttowest said:

I should clarify that I returned to school after a number of years in the real world, which is definitely part of why it was so good. 

It has led to a job I like to do. This was not true of my old job and law pays more as well.

I want to second this. My criticisms of law school aside, this is why I characterized law school as easy and low-stress comparatively. And it was initially nice to get to exercise my brain again. Although being a mature student probably also contributed to me becoming increasingly irritated with law school and wanting to start my career as it went on.

Also, I quite often hear certain complaints about law school or legal practice from K-JDs (and no offence to K-JDs generally; I have made great friends who are amazing people who fit that category) that strike me as lacking in perspective or awareness of what the job market or realities of the workplace are like in other fields. Not to mention lack of appreciation for the keys we've been handed that empower us to effect change, solve problems and help people, as well as get access to all sorts of interesting, secret information. Before law school I felt like I was on the periphery of society and now I feel like I'm part of the inner circle of it.

Of course, for the OP and others, your mileage will vary and your experience and enjoyment of law school and legal practice will depend upon your interests, values, etc.

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12 minutes ago, CleanHands said:

I want to second this. My criticisms of law school aside, this is why I characterized law school as easy and low-stress comparatively. And it was initially nice to get to exercise my brain again. Although being a mature student probably also contributed to me becoming increasingly irritated with law school and wanting to start my career as it went on.

Also, I quite often hear certain complaints about law school or legal practice from K-JDs (and no offence to K-JDs generally; I have made great friends who are amazing people who fit that category) that strike me as lacking in perspective or awareness of what the job market or realities of the workplace are like in other fields. Not to mention lack of appreciation for the keys we've been handed that empower us to effect change, solve problems and help people, as well as get access to all sorts of interesting, secret information. Before law school I felt like I was on the periphery of society and now I feel like I'm part of the inner circle of it.

Of course, for the OP and others, your mileage will vary and your experience and enjoyment of law school and legal practice will depend upon your interests, values, etc.

I'm not starting school until September but the sentiment of this rings true to me. I'm very excited to be out of the corporate workplace for a few years. I know law school won't be a breeze but after spending a few years in finance school is a welcome change. 

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21 hours ago, Scourage said:

Getting into law school is a big goal of mine, but I wanna know how the overall experience was for those who have graduated. Do you regret it, and if you could change something about it, what would it be? Any responses are greatly appreciated!

Good luck pursuing your goals! Law school was a blast for me. It was challenging, but rewarding and a fun social setting. I'm still super close with about 5-6 people in my original group from day 1. We refer potential clients to each other and collaborate when issues fall outside our own practice area. We always joked about opening up a legal emporium one day since we all practice in different areas. Law school can definitely be stressful if you've never had exams worth 50% or 80% of your grade in any given course.

The one thing I would change about law school is that studying law is nothing like the practice of law. I am very much in favour of making law school have more experiential learning. There are definitely courses out there like working in a legal aid clinic, or intensives that pair you with practitioners, but I found the majority of class was just teaching you basic principles rather than how to practically apply them, litigate, be persuasive, write effectively, deal with difficult clients (or principals), etc. There is always a steep learning curve from law school to practice, which the schools could do a better job of flattening, but that's just my ten cents on what could be improved. That all comes with the caveat that it would probably only help if you know what area(s) of law you want to practice. Some skills/areas of law overlap, but many do not. 

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In my final semester now and I share the sentiment that law school spends a very long time not preparing us for practice. That said, I like the CYOA aspect of it. Things get more interesting in upper year when opportunities for experiential learning and community involvement open up. My personal preference was to take advantage of experiential opportunities and I'm very satisfied with the experiences I've gained and the people I met on that journey. 

One thing I dislike about the environment at my school is the obsessive veneration for big law and the gossip, the value-judgment, and the warping of personal values that gets dragged along with it. It helps to make some good friends whose values align with yours. 

Edited by Psychometronic
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