Yesterday, I shared some good reasons to spend the time, energy and money on a law school education. But it's not worth it for everyone. Here are five reasons to consider a different career.
1. It's going to be hard to find a job. This is true for the majority of people graduating from law school these days. Some people - the top students - will probably get job offers. For many, it's not going to come easy. The bad economy affects lawyers, too. Not many firms are hiring, and there are experienced lawyers out there applying for the same jobs.
2. It's not going to make you rich. I don't have any statistics on what the "average" lawyer makes, but I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be impressed. I see a lot of job postings for starting salaries of $30,000. Ask around to understand what you can expect to make when you graduate, and as you progress in your career, especially if you will be paying back law school loans (see #5).
3. Law school is a lot of work. It's not torture, and it's not impossible, but it is work. It's not like going back to undergrad where you can sleep through class and cram at the last minute for the final exam. If you are just sick of working, or simply like the idea of "going back to school," choose something else. In many ways, you have to treat law school like a job to do well.
4. Being a lawyer isn't glamorous. You may suspect that this is true, but I can confirm. Lawyers look pretty good on TV and in the movies - they have fun, they win their cases, they help their clients and they have a good social life and tons of money, too. For most of us, it's a job, and about as exciting as being an accountant.
5. Tuition is expensive. Very expensive. It might not be worth it. Don't think you'll just get loans and make enough money to easily pay them off after graduation. Often, those loans end up being a huge burden (see #2). The payments can be as much as rent or a mortgage payment. You could be forced into a big firm job you don't want (if you can even get one of those jobs in the first place). Run the numbers, and have a plan.
If these don't discourage you, then maybe you should go for it. But don't say I didn't warn you.
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