Q&A: I Think I Want to Be A Lawyer . . . What Should I Know . . .
Law is an amazing profession, but becoming a lawyer is not for everyone.
When it’s not a good fit, it comes with miserable consequences. But for those who belong, law is a wonderful place to be.
The best time to figure this out is before going to law school. Even before thinking about the pros and cons of becoming a lawyer, ask yourself, “Do I want to be a lawyer?” If your brain answers “No,” then you probably you shouldn’t enroll in law school. If your answer is “Yes” or “I’m not sure,” then you should think of your own qualities and if those are a good fit for a career in law.
Once you’re thinking of a career in law, you should know that every profession comes with pros and cons and the same holds true for law. Below are 10 things that every college student should know about becoming a lawyer, five on the plus side and five on the downside.
On the plus side:
- Law is a very respectable career. Attorneys and solicitors are honored all the time. Respect comes with responsibility.
- A lawyer’s work does not get monotonous. Each case is different, and so is each transaction (in case of corporate lawyers). Their work demands a lot of legal research and rational thinking.
- A law career can be very rewarding, both personally and financially.
- Law can be intellectually challenging work with a lot of potential for creativity.
- You get to meet new people, meet new challenges, and devise new solutions.
On the downside:
- Law school is expensive and takes at least three years of your life.
- Law school is only the beginning of many years of getting “up to speed” as an effective lawyer.
- Law practice can be hard on marriages and families. Your time is seldom your own.
- Success in law is unlikely to make you one of the “super rich.”
- Being a solo practitioner is ripe with insecurity, and being a law firm associate can be a difficult experience.
Now that you know what you need to know about becoming a lawyer, has your outlook changed at all? Are there any adjustments you need to make as you pursue your career?