It can be the biggest question of your life. Obviously people will go back and forth on it. Is it fun? Is it hard? Will I be successful? It’s a big decision, and a huge investment in time and tuition.
Prospective students should definitely ask themselves four important questions while they consider the road before them. Without question there is the tried and true cost benefit analysis, as well as a simple consideration of pros and cons. A person may also look at hours, salary, job responsibilities, as well as lifestyle and other factors that they consider relevant.
The most critical thing to remember is that the experience comes with its own rewards and an abundance of opportunity in the professional arena. However, not every field is for every person, and this also should be remembered.
And now, on to the four questions you should ask yourself before making the decision to attend law school, as reported by U.S. News and World Report.
1) Is it only money you are after?
Many prospective law students want to get rich. They cannot be blamed. There is the consideration of high salaries down this career path. However, not every lawyer will find his or herself making a $500,000 salary within a year of graduating. Many lawyers enjoy median incomes, and this fact should definitely be appreciated. Salary alone and its lovely prospects should never be the only reason one joins a field.
2) Do you have legal experience?
Having the right experience can make or break a career. Getting in touch with alumni may be the best way to have the guidance to understand what actually works and what doesn’t. Internships may be a great way to get started on the path, and they can also teach you the differences in activities and roles, as law is a diverse field. Finding the right niche may be one of the most difficult parts of starting out.
3) Working hours and your lifestyle
Law may not be a 9 to 5 job. It may be rare to see a 40 hour workweek in this field, and that should be known from the moment one considers law as a career choice. Results and information also need to be considered at the moment, and the pace is quite fast. Also, results are critical, and get rewarded appropriately.
4) Do you have real interest in law?
Liking law shows, especially the sensationalized criminal court shows, can be quite a bit different from the day to day activities of lawyers. There is a lot of research, case preparation, reading, data mining and detail sorting that needs to be done as well. This is a lot less show business and more thoughtful attentiveness. According to U.S. News, most future lawyers are drawn to law through non-traditional interests, such as healthcare, immigration, or entertainment. Since law has complex areas to work in, many people will be suitable, however each individual needs to consider their personal goals. And only then will they decide what their passions are, and whether those passions and goals are aligned with their potential choice of going to law school.
These four questions can also help an individual understand themselves better, and align their intellectual curiosity with their goal of following a career in law.