You’ve just finished your undergraduate degree. You aren’t really sure what you want to do with your life, but you like reading, writing, and winning arguments, so you’re wondering if law school is the right choice for you. This can be a great career, but it’s also highly competitive. Below are several things you should keep in mind.
Do Your Research
First, understand what becoming an attorney really means and what types of specialties you might pursue. You might have a mental image of giving impassioned speeches in a courtroom that help ensure that justice is done, but the reality is that most attorneys rarely do this. Criminal law is only one area of the legal profession. Many attorneys end up working in corporations, specializing in tax and business law. Even criminal lawyers may not spend much time in court but might instead focus on writing appeals or on other aspects of the justice process. None of this means that you can’t have a rewarding career, but you should be realistic about what is involved. A great way to get a good sense of this is to talk to attorneys in various fields.
Think About Money
Do you want a legal career because you think it will make you rich? Think again. Not every position is highly paid, and you’ll also probably have student loans to consider, especially since if you want to be competitive, you need to attend a good school. Even highly paid positions are often things you have to work your way up to. However, if you don’t have money to pay for your education, this shouldn’t be a barrier. There are several ways to secure funding, including taking out a student loan from a private lender. You can quickly get an idea of what you may be eligible for and what your interest rates might be like.
If you’re looking for a good work-life balance, a job where you leave the office every day at 5 p.m., this might not be the profession for you. It’s important to think carefully about this because your successful classmates and later your colleagues are going to be people who thrive in an atmosphere of competition and hard work. If you do as well, then you are likely to love this high-pressure environment. On the other hand, if you’re the type of person who tends to blow off responsibilities to spend the day at the lake or with your friends, you might want to look for a line of work that lets you stick to 40-hour weeks. If you think that working to combat academic burnout in undergrad was challenging you may not be totally prepared for the elevated demands of law school.
Taking Your Time
If you’ve just completed your undergraduate degree and you’re on the fence about law school, take some time off to think about it. You don’t have to go right away. In fact, waiting a year or several years cannot just give you time to improve your LSAT scores but can allow you to really weigh why you are going. You’ll need that strong sense of motivation and direction when you’re in the thick of a difficult school year or struggling with the workload in your first legal job after school.