It was not so long ago when many considered being a lawyer, a great career goal. It was an attractive option, with ideas of being wealthy and working to help people with their legal issues. This is a highly competitive area that demands your time and dedication because lots of people are interested in attending the top schools and working at the best firms. Some people are mildly intrigued, while others are fully lured by this lifestyle. However, if you are thinking about ‘why I want to be a lawyer,’ well we can help you answer those lingering thoughts.
In modern society, with technological advancement and new industries coming on stream every day, the idea of attending Law school and becoming a lawyer is not the alternative to a better life. That has changed. There are many people out there who have seen the dip in applicants, willing to enroll in Law programs. Educators can attest that it is not what it used to be; even law firms can provide a testimonial of this. Recruitment numbers are down. As far as we can tell, the profession might not bounce back to its former glory. However, this leaves a gap for people who are passionate about their profession and are committed to making a positive difference.
No one goes about any career goal thinking that ‘hey, I want a dull job, to waste the next 50 years of my life’. No, people want to find something that is right from them; a job that will give them gratification every day and make them look forward to getting out of their beds. We hope this is something that you are considering as you answer the question why do you want to be a lawyer?
Another reason why you should conduct further research and be one hundred percent clear on your life choices is that attending college, especially pursuing programs in law and medicine, can leave you with almost insurmountable student loan debt. You will be miserable and stressed before you have even earned your first dime. You might also end up being stuck behind a desk for large amounts of time in a day, working overtime, to pay off a debt that will probably take over a decade.
Yes, this article will help you to be more introspective about your decision to be a lawyer, but that does not mean that our goal is to turn you off the option. We simply want you to be informed and aware of what you are getting into. Arguments will be presented on both sides about the benefits and detractors; just as if you were presenting a case in the court of law. And at the end of the day, if you are still saying ‘I want to become a lawyer,’ then you will be solidly in your decision. You will also be more fulfilled as you work towards your goal and be more prepared to deal with the realities as well.
So, why do you want to go to law school? Is it for the money? Is it because it is interesting or just a great way of making use of your English degree?
For the Money
If people are honest, then this will be high on their list of reasons for selecting this prestigious career. They might go on, about making a difference, going into politics or someday having their own firm; but really, many people are drawn to the potential big ‘mullah’ at the end of every month. In addition, the school you attend can make your pay scale that much higher than other people; especially if you are from an Ivy League school. Schools like Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, University of Chicago, and New York University lays a great foundation for their students. Because they go on to make upwards of six-figure incomes. Still, if you do not end up at the top firms, your salary will be good regardless.
Nevertheless, once that gap is filled and all the jobs are taken, you are left with a large number of students who are unemployed and still job hunting; within their niche. USNWR reports that over twenty percent of students at some universities are faced with this dilemma, upwards of a year after graduation. Also, only 60% find a job as a lawyer at the end of the day. That can be de-motivating and frustrating for law school students who went in with the dream of one day working in a firm as a lawyer, directly after graduation.
Therefore, you have to be smart going into this scenario. If you can help it, do not go into law school incurring huge debt. Plan accordingly, how you are going to pay your tuition, even working jobs before reaching this level. Assess employment data for your location, country or city and be informed. That way, you will not be faced with the realities we highlighted earlier.
Everything in life is a risk. So if you plan on pursuing your dream of being a lawyer, be sure that you are doing it because:
- It is your aim to attend a T6 educational institution and willing to cover the full costs. Students of these schools have no difficulty in finding good employment afterward.
- You are willing to go to a T14 institution with the aid of a scholarship and ready to tackle the possibility of having between $150-000 to $200,000 in debt.
- You are attending a decent law school and can fully cover the tuition without any substantial debt at the end of your academic studies. Be open to working in the city of where your institution is and work at developing networks before you graduate.
- The full tuition is being paid by your parents, and you will have no debt to pay off on graduation day.
- There is no other alternative for you. Your dream is to be a lawyer and nothing else.
If any of these are reasons are answers to your question of ‘why do you want to go to law school?’ then, you have a more positive outlook than many others.
Putting that English Degree to Great Use
People have a lot of negative things to say about those who want to attend Law school. That can be unfair. The heart wants what it wants, and when a mind is decided, it can be impossible to deter it, without sound logic.
There are millions of students out there who are sitting down with useless degrees, especially after the recession. So those in humanities, tend to often consider a job in this area. Some might argue that, while you are off being dedicated to law school, you are missing out on at least three years of a solid income and maybe a boost in your lifestyle. However, this is not guaranteed. There are those with humanities degrees who are drifting around in mind-numbing, boring and unfulfilling jobs that have nothing to do with their degrees. So they are unhappily earning just above minimum wage or less.
So take your options into consideration, being in school, pursuing a valuable degree, is not a waste of time; especially, if that qualification will have you paying off your debt in a short period of time. If you are determined to be a lawyer and have the aptitude and tenacity to do the job, then, by all means, pursue it.
It Piques Your Interest
So you used to sit under the TV at nights watching ‘Matlock’ and ‘Law and Order’; and all your life since you have seen those courthouse scenes you have been obsessed with being a real-life lawyer. Get over it! Reality if not like fiction and vice versa! You will be hugely disappointed because they don’t put the unglamorous bits into those television shows.
Sorry, had to shake you out of that fantasy, before you fall headlong into a life of sorrowful regrets.
In the first couple years of this respected profession, many lawyers will tell you that they have spent almost 95% of their time reading and writing. Not so glamorous is it?
It is not that you won’t have the opportunity to go in front of a judge and argue your case. It is not that you won’t have the opportunity to broker huge deals and earn wads of cash. It is just that, all of those things are not your core function. When the reality of what is expected to face many new lawyers, they become depressed and are only fuelled by the desire to decrease their student loan balances. That is simply no way to live.
Do not end up like those who after suffering the brutal demands of law school, only to come to the realization that they don’t want to be a lawyer. Ensure that you can find some intrinsic motivation because anything else will not suffice to drive you with persistence through those rough patches.
If you love to read; if you love to write and you are very competitive, then you are on the right track. If you can motivate yourself and have initiative, then a career as a lawyer may be appealing. You will need not only intellect but also street smarts. You will be faced with competition from the moment you apply to Law school until the day you retire from your life’s work. So, ensure that this is where you want to be and it is what will give you a deep-seated fulfillment that nothing else can substitute. Anything else and you may be faced with a lifetime of regrets and struggles.