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On pursuing a career as a lawyer.

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by SchoolzSoKewl, Feb 2, 2011.

  1. illram

    illram Deity

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2005
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    San Francisco
    For every whiny burnout who writes a blog post about how hard law school is or how much it sucks being a "lawyer," there is a fulfilled and happy practicing attorney who is passionate about what they do.

    Everyone is different. If you want to practice law, go to law school. It is as simple as that. Oooh it will mean a big loan. So what? Oooh it's hard. So what? If you are someone who stands down in the face of adversity, you are not cut out for it. If you don't have thick skin and can't take a punch to the gut, don't do this job.

    Honestly, right now you are too young to decide and your idea of what a lawyer is is probably too idealistic. Volunteer for a landlord tenant legal aid clinic or do some community organizing or get active in your community somehow. Watch a trial--pick the most boring one you can find and sit there and watch it. Go to a city council meeting. Go to your local criminal court and watch the morning arraignment calendar. Not like Law and Order, is it? Go sit in the trenches of this job and see if something gets you excited.

    Keep in mind "practicing law" is a very distinct concept from "being a lawyer". Practicing law means zealously representing your client. You are their advocate and counsel, no matter the odds and no matter the stakes. Someone right now is out there representing the person who assassinated Gabby Giffords and several others in Arizona. That lawyer is duty bound to be a staunch, unwavering, unflinching advocate--probably the only one in the universe--for the rights and legal best interests of someone everyone universally hates, reviles, and wants to see punished severely. Now, to me, that is an amazing and beautiful thing. To others it is completely absurd. That's what drew me into being passionate about this.

    Sometimes practicing law is a wonderful thing. Sometimes it is truly awful. Riding those waves can be fun, hard, and tremendously rewarding if it's something you want to do.

    Be honest with yourself and don't do something just because it's the easy choice. Don't be lazy. Many people foolishly believe that they are not being lazy when they go to a top 14 school and then get that "biglaw" job. They become bitter, resentful, and unhappy in that position, and these feelings are compounded by the hopeless feeling that they had to do that. These unhappy ones did not realize that they are, in fact, being lazy. It sounds crazy to them because they are working very hard, sometimes 90 to 100 hours a week, so being called lazy seems crazy and perhaps offensive. Why are they lazy? Because they are not doing what they want. Instead, they are doing what is expected of them by others, or they are merely doing the thing that presents itself as the easiest path of least resistance.

    Demand a career that you are passionate about doing. You want to wake up everyday not dreading getting out of bed and going to work. Down that path lies bitterness, waste, and sorrow young grasshopper.
     
  2. SchoolzSoKewl

    SchoolzSoKewl Yeah!

    Joined:
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    Location:
    USA
    I'm in my junior year of high school. :)

    This was a really great post, thank you for taking the time to write this. Your post has really been the best advice I've gotten here, and in real life. I'll see if I really have a passion for law the way you do, and if I do I don't think I'll let myself get scared away from being a lawyer. However, you're absolutely right, I'm too young to know if I really want to be a lawyer, but that's definitely the direction I'm teetering towards. Now that mind my mind has cleared a bit, I don't know why I felt so panicky and trapped as a junior in high school... I think I've gained a lot of perspective. I'm happy.
    <3
     
  3. JerichoHill

    JerichoHill Bedrock of Knowledge

    Joined:
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    Washington DC
    I would not make plans right now for law school given you are now a junior in high school.

    ALOT happens in college. Keep an open mind.
     
  4. Owen Glyndwr

    Owen Glyndwr La Femme Moderne

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
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    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Oh yes this. Most students in college will change their majors 5 or 6 times before they declare. This comes mostly from taking survey courses in their choices and finding the subject to be either much different or much more difficult than what they were expecting. While this hasn't happened to me (I don't expect it to, being that I wanted to be an historian since like the 3rd grade and I still have just as much passion for the subject at 19 as I did at 9), it has definitely happened to a good majority of my friends. My recommendation is go in with the expectation of being a lawyer, but don't railroad yourself to the subject. In your first 2 years take a wide variety of subjects, try everything, you never know what you'll find. That's how my dad came to be a landscape architect (he came in as an history major), and he's loved his job for 20 years now.

    Also what illram said. My parents have tried on numerous occasions to dissuade me from being an history major, but I know, tough or easy, teaching history at college is absolutely what I want to do. I guess my ultimate advice, as illram said, is look at the whole of the subject. Don't just picture yourself at a big firm (or whatever your "ideal" position may be), but rather, picture yourself at the worst imaginable position in the field (for me that would probably be high school or community college). If you can imagine yourself in that position, and can still picture enjoying yourself there, you've probably made the right choice. If not, it's probably time you reconsidered the field.

    There's also the point of getting into grad school. Remember that getting in is never a sure run thing, and getting into a sufficiently good school for what you want is even less so, so make sure you either are prepared to work your ass off or are sufficiently gifted in the subject to accommodate the extensive requirements for getting into postgraduate studies. Competition is tight, especially in Law, so make sure you have thought about and are prepared to handle everything associated with it, and that's a lot more than just being really, really good at school.
     
  5. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    Yeah I definitely seriously considered about 4 or 5 majors and 4 career paths before embarking on my final collegiate direction.

    Which turned out to be surprisingly similar to what I entered college intending to do...
     
  6. madviking

    madviking north american scum

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    This x10000000.

    Even as a high school senior, I've had way too many ideas for what I want to do in college.
     
  7. JollyRoger

    JollyRoger Slippin' Jimmy Supporter

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    Really, if you intend to stay in Florida, Florida has a decent enough law school. Plus, you will get a higher quality of undergrad coed pursuing her MRS.
     
  8. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    Yo, JollyRoger speaks the truth on that last bit. Don't underestimate that :lol:
     

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