Should I go into Law?

I'm at a point in my life where i'm trying to decide what to do with my life. I'm considering law. Will going to law school pay off? If i graduate from law school, is it likely that i'll get a well-paying job? Are there too many lawyers already? Is going into law worth it?

If yes, i have a lot of follow-up questions.

Law school sucks bad enough that if you're not sure you want to go, you probably shouldn't.

1. You need to work your ass off to get into law school.


2. You need to work your ass off to get through law school.


3. You need to work your ass off to get a good job in a reputable
law firm by working your ass off at law school to get top marks .. I
mean TOP marks.


4. You need to work your ass off at the law firm to keep your job.

5. In conclusion - you will be working your ass off for the rest of
your life until retirement.

Appendix #1 - You may be a workaholic and find enjoyment in
working your ass off.

Appendix #2 - Or there are other job options for law graduates
besides working in a reputable law firm and making big bucks,
such as starting your own law firm/business/office, working as an
in-house lawyer for other corporations, or you could be a legal
journalist or something .. etc..

Appendix #3 - You could find immense satisfaction in something
like humanitarian law, community law for ...lower.. pay, in which
case pay size isn't so much of an issue for you.

what exactly do you consider to be low pay / big bucks? I'm not a money-hungry person. If it's easy to get a job that pays well, then i would be interested in it. I would be more than happy earning 40-50k/year.

Big bucks - the sky's the limit, really. Especially if you've been working
in a top tier law firm and been doing a good job for 15-20yrs. They
would usually offer you a partner position, upgrading from associate.
I'm not in the US so I haven't really kept up with legal salaries so one of
the local US guys here will have to give you rough USD figures.

The only other way I can imagine hitting big time finanicially is if you
are representing a client in court, you win the case against very rich
guy or a huge corporation (eg. cigarette co or macdonalds etc), and
your legal fee included a cut of the winnings. But that's very hard work.
Rich people usually have many resources and can afford the best
lawyers.. a TEAM of the best (or most expensive) lawyers.

Don't get into law. Law sucks. The undisputed #1 profession for promoting heart-attacks, broken homes, and alcoholism/drug abuse.

Making 40-50K a year is all good and well - unless you have over $100k in law school loans to pay off. Just something to think about.

"Don't get into law. Law sucks. The undisputed #1 profession for promoting heart-attacks, broken homes, and alcoholism/drug abuse."

Seriously? I am going to go to law school and I currently work at a large law firm, and the lawyers always say, "Don't do it!" I can't tell if they are joking or not. I'm not really interested in the law all that much, but I want to be able to provide for my future family and have a steady job. Is it really that bad?

No it really isn't that bad, except for the part where I kept saying
you have to work your ass off. That's all there is to it - working
your ass off. By that I mean being in constant pressure to reach
deadlines, billing all your billable hours, getting every goddamn
legal fact right all the time, which means being on top of the legal
game.

It comes down to working your ass off. But if you do a good job,
you are paid handsomely. IF.

It's a hard question to answer, whether someone should choose the legal profession. The thing to keep in mind is that there are so many different jobs and career paths out there that it is wholly misleading to characterize what it is that a lawyer does. There are all different types and sizes of law firms and public sector agencies and organizations, different types of work at those firms, different personalities and different philosophies as to how many hours one should work.

We do these threads over and over again! :)

All things considered, sometimes I wish I had chosen a career in medicine, if only for the money. Still, I like the job that I have. There are other jobs I would also like. I make a good living by most peoples' standards, but not a great living. (I don't make doctor money, but some doctors don't ake doctor money anymore, either.) Sometimes I work an incredible number of hours (pretty much more than any other lawyer I have ever heard about), and other times when I work basic 8-5 hours, and spend much of that time reading this forum, surfing the Internet and not doing a great amount of work.

Gakami is correct that you can expect to work a lot of hours. That is pretty much a given with most every type of professional job. All the same, opinions vary as to what a lot of hours is. You can be assured that it means more than 40 per week, but beyond that, it varies widely. Lawyers at the same agency and firm also vary as to how much they work. So goes life.

I don't suppose this is particularly helpful, but I would not discourage someone from going into the legal profession, but I would acknowledge that there are certainly drawbacks, as noted above.

"but I would not discourage someone from going into the legal profession"

this is the kind of comment i was looking for.

for example, if i were to ask people in the IT industry if i should go into the IT industry, i'm sure would get a big NO because it's really hard to find a job in that industry these days. Consistent hard work does not guarantee you anything in IT. I was wondering if there was the same type of feeling within the law industry.

Law really interests me and it's something i would like to do. I'm willing to work hard and do what it takes.
My question is: Is success likely?

"My question is: Is success likely?"

No one can answer that question but you... how willing are you to
work your ass off?

thanks frankie, that gives me something to think about. i actually was thinking about law school because i don't think i can do anything with the degree i'm working on. but also, i have an actual interest in law.

frankie, what types of jobs have you had? did your major(s) have anything to with getting the jobs? also, where do you live?

What i'm really concerned about is landing a job (at least one that pays well). What i really wanted to find out from this thread is if it's easy (i know, i shouldn't use that word) to land a well paying job with a law degree.

I went to a top-ten law school and have multiple friends who got above a 3.0 and couldn't find any kind of a decent paying job (unless they were willing to move to some undesireable location).

They worked their asses off and basically got nothing for it.

mrcorrect - no kidding? the top tier law firms from major cities
headhunt those with top marks. They're usually offered places
before they graduate.

I went out the night before my LSAT (or the Australian equivalent),
and did the test with a hangover the next morning. When I got my
results back, I found out I somehow scored in the top 90% LSAT
scores since they started doing it 18 years ago, and was
subsequently given an early offer at the university I wanted. :o)

I have never been able to bring myself to get drunk before
another exam since then though, ever. Maybe I should.

Frankie - i liked your post a lot. sometimes i think law isnt the right thing for me, but then i look at my current job, and the other jobs ive had, and law looks much better.

gakami- thanks for all of the information.

I'm going to law school this fall, so I don't know either what practicing law is really like, but most jobs say don't enter their field. Medicine: liability bs, HMO bs, long hours; college professor: hard to get tenure, and no tenure=fucked, etc.

That being said, there's some really negative stuff out there written by unhappy lawyers. Maybe it's the never having a real job mentioned above, but there is something about law. It's much less respected than a lot of other jobs, and you deal with conflicts all day.

Plus, I bet the reality of life as a lawyer depends on what you actually do. I've met small-town prosecutors (who love their jobs) and small-town corporate litigation guys, plus a tax guy and a bankruptcy guy. The non-prosecutors were all reasonably happy with their jobs, but they didn't have the same sense of mission. Of course, they also made more money.