Deciding IF You Want to Go to Law School

First of all, I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving and got to spend time with friends and family (with a little studying thrown in)!

Deciding if you want to go to law school is a big decision, and it isn't something you should take lightly. Law school is tough, it is long (3 years), and can be expensive. Here are some things to consider when you are deciding whether you want to go to law school. This post isn't meant to discourage people from going to law school, but rather to help people make an informed decision.

Why do you want to go to law school: Do you want to practice a specific kind of law? If so, that's great! Do you not really know what you want to do with your life, but your uncle says you are good at arguing? If so, it may be helpful to do some more research before taking the LSAT and applying to schools. Going to law school is not the only way you can figure out what you want to do with your life.

Think about what you want to do in life and if law school can help that: Some people think that all lawyers are in court everyday. This is not true. So if you are thinking about law school, but don't want to be in court, no worries. Litigation is just one thing lawyers can do. Many lawyers are transactional lawyers, which can be summed up as law relating to business, among other things. Another myth about lawyers is that criminal law is all you can do. This is also not true, as civil law is something you can do (think lawsuits). Sometimes, what you may want to do doesn't require a law degree, but a law degree is helpful in those fields. For example, many politicians have law degrees, but it is not a requirement that you go to law school if you want to be in politics. Some jobs are JD Advantage, which means that both JDs and non-JDs can work this job, but that JD might be helpful (for pay, for promotion, etc.). If you are considering a job that is JD-Advantage, just know that you do not have to go to law school for it.

Think about your academic strengths: Law school is a lot of reading and writing. The good news is that you don't have to be an amazing writer to go to law school, this is something that could influence your decision whether or not to go to law school. If you are someone who hates reading and has never finished a book or read your college textbooks, it may be hard for you to read the massive amounts of reading you have to do in law school. Plus, reading in law school is not optional, it is mandatory, and 1Ls quickly find out that you have to do your reading for every class.

Monetary Costs: Law school is expensive. Scholarships and loans can help offset some of the cost of law school. However, when you are in law school, chances are that you won't be able to make money, or if you do, it won't be a lot. Making sure law school is financial feasible for you is a big consideration in determining whether to go to law school. The good news is that, if it is not financially feasible for you right now, you can save money for a few years, and it may be more feasible then!

Temporal Costs: Three years can feel like a long time- especially when you realize that your friends you graduated college with have a full time job, are making money, and more importantly (at least to me), don't have homework to do every night. But in the grand scheme of things, three years isn't that long. And if your dream is to be a lawyer, three more years of schooling may be worth it.

Job Prospects: This was a big consideration about ten years ago during the Great Recession. Thankfully, the job market overall is looking better than it was then, and this is not as big of an issue now. Because law school is expensive, and many students take out loans, job prospects after graduation is something that many potential law students look at. If the market is not hiring, and isn't expecting to be hiring in three years, it may be hard to pay back any student debt.

Family commitments: This is a fairly personal thing to consider, but it can be good to keep in mind. If you are raising three kids alone and don't have much support, law school may not be the easiest thing to do right now. However, that is not to say it is impossible- I know of some AMAZING law school grads who were single moms of multiple kids. Everyone's situation is different, so what may work for you won't work for someone else and vice versa.

Like I said, this post isn't meant to discourage people from going to law school (although if you decide to go to law school, people will discourage you; during law school visits, when I asked students for advice, their response was always "don't go"), but to give suggestions as to things to think of. Everyone has different reasons for going to law school. What were some things you considered when deciding to go to law school?? Leave them in the comments!


  1. You always give such good advice, with all your insights and info!


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