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  1. #1

    Pros & Cons of Being a Lawyer

    Hello again

    I am trying to think of a list of pros and cons for a career in law. I am not studying law or anything remotely close to it, but I am simply gathering data. Here is what I have found so far:

    Pros

    - Professions in law are established and respected
    - Constant variety (diff. clients, situations etc)
    - Good salary

    Cons

    - The work can be pressurised and often demands long hours (first few years r hell, or so I hear)
    - Jobs in law are very competitive, especially at higher levels.

    Any other ideas that can be added to the list?

  2. #2
    I'm guessing a really big con would the amount of student loans you have to pay off while making that good salary.
    "God put me on Earth to accomplish a certain number of things . . . Right now I'm so far behind, I will never die." - Calvin & Hobbes comic strip

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by SmilesSoSweet
    I'm guessing a really big con would the amount of student loans you have to pay off while making that good salary.
    Yeah, it's astounding how much law school costs.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    The biggest con for me would be the psychotic hours.
    "Even when I've f*&%ed up, I've spun it into a learning experience that's brought me to bigger and better things."

  5. #5
    lonestar Guest
    Also, lawyers can't expect a good salary...I have heard of many cases of people with JDs and LLMs being unable to find work because the market is so flooded...one guy took a position as an attorney for the county I used to reside in and makes less than I do (I think less than 25K for him).

  6. #6
    i took a law class in college and my prof was a lawyer-- she said one of the most difficult aspects of the profession is that as a defense attorney, she often had to defend people who she felt likely deserved punishment.

    also, they really see a lot of depressing cases, broken families, lost loved ones, etc.

  7. #7
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    Wasn't it a line in St. Elmo's Fire that went, "You know there are more people in law school right now than there are lawyers on the entire planet?"

    And that was in 1985.
    "Even when I've f*&%ed up, I've spun it into a learning experience that's brought me to bigger and better things."

  8. #8
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    My pros and cons are pretty much the same as yours. I almost went to law school because I wanted to feel like I was doing something respectable with my education, but ultimately decided against it because it wasn't something I considered interesting enough to devote my entire life to it. If it was a 40 hour per week job I'd consider it.
    "Human society, they claimed, was a sort of monster, its main by-products being corpses and rubble. It never learned, it made the same cretinous mistakes over and over, trading short-term gain for long-term pain. It was like a giant slug eating its way relentlessly through all the other bioforms on the planet, grinding up life on earth and shitting it out the backside in the form of pieces of manufactured and soon-to-be-obsolete plastic junk." --Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake

  9. #9
    I don't know about the variety part if you are working as lawyer. You may be working on different clients; however, you are doing very similar type of work. I think a lawyer needs to love to read and to write critically . If this isn't true, you are not going to be happy.

    As far as the salary goes, it depends largely on what law school you go to. If you to one of the top law schools, you are much more likely have a high salary than if you went to a lower ranked school.

    Law is a very competitive profession that is also generally very stressful. The subject matter is interesting and intellectually challenging for some, but also very boring for others.

    Debt is also big con and should be an important consideration. It's possible to go into over $140,000 in debt by going to law school and you may end making less than $50,000 when you come out. Of course, the salary is largely dependent on the school you attend as I mentioned above.

  10. #10
    littledancerus Guest
    I am a paralegal right now and I know I could never be a lawyer. Clients are demanding, they expect you to just "fix" the problem they made & if you don't, they often blow up at you. It's stressfull, judges can be mean if you don't have your *stuff together too. There's always a possibility someone might not like the work you did for them & report you. They do not really get paid all that well for how much they paid to go to school. It's hard to find a job because there are so many attornies! Mostly, I just think it's stressful compared to other professions. Someone is always pissed, someone is always wrong, & someone is always getting yelled at... I couldn't do it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by lighthouse4life
    - Constant variety (diff. clients, situations etc)
    Yeah, as others have said, this definitely depends on your specific career. You could easily wind up working for a government agency like the FDIC or something and keep doing the same thing over and over.
    "Spare me your space-age technobabble, Attila the Hun!"

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by SpaceMonkey
    Yeah, as others have said, this definitely depends on your specific career. You could easily wind up working for a government agency like the FDIC or something and keep doing the same thing over and over.
    Yes, that seems to make sense...

    Little dancer's point clarified it too... from an "insider's perspective".

    My career advisor categorized law as being a "creative career", so I was trying to see if that is accurate. Still unsure...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by wordsmith
    Wasn't it a line in St. Elmo's Fire that went, "You know there are more people in law school right now than there are lawyers on the entire planet?"

    And that was in 1985.
    Indeed. It's just another example of how graduate school has become so devalued in recent years. It's harder to weed out the ones who are serious about it and those who just do it because it's "cool"...and in the end, both sets wind up on equal footing in the job market.

  14. #14
    Of course, the salary is largely dependent on the school you attend as I mentioned above.
    That's partially true.

    However, I have a few friends that went to top 30 law schools, finished at/near the top of their class, wrote for the law school journals, and ended up working at prestigious law firms (making the same amount as their peers who graduated from the Harvards and Yales of the law school world).

    That being said, I would only recommend going to law school if you can get into a good in-state school. There is no reason to go in debt $100,000 for a law school education if you aren't sure about the career path.

    I think a lot of people get caught up in the glitz and glamour of going to law school without realizing what the work actually entails. I have worked with attorneys who spent their entire day analyzing contracts and asset purchase agreements, and it seemed like their job consisted primarily of exchanging red-lines with the party we were doing business with. It seemed like an alright job, but nothing like the way they show it on tv.
    Last edited by ATLWill; 07-28-2006 at 04:41 PM.

  15. #15
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    I would say there's no point in going to law school PERIOD if you're not sure about your path. I wouldn't go to med school on the "off chance" that I might wanna be a doctor, either.
    "Even when I've f*&%ed up, I've spun it into a learning experience that's brought me to bigger and better things."

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