So You Want To Go To Law School

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Ob1

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I like law school :conf (11): Much less stressful than undergrad in my experience. Idk what being a practicing lawyer is like obviously, but I read a lot of law school horror stories before starting and haven't found them to be true. Unlike undergrad, you just have one big exam at the end. Most of the semester is just reading every night. I'm in my fourth semester and have found plenty of time to hangout with my gf, go to the gym twice a day, get 8 hours of sleep a night, etc.
Yeah, I must be crazy. I loved law school. Made great friends, didn't think it was all that stressful (outside of exam periods) and partied a lot (lived on OSU's campus for 2 of the 3 years). I also went to Moritz (tOSU) where the curve was a B-.

Currently work as an in-house attorney for a large Ohio company. I love it. It is as much business as it is law. Pay is good, hours are great (8:30-5 with long lunches) and the people I work with are awesome. Would certainly recommend Law if everybody could work in-house. Unfortunately, these jobs are very hard to get. I have a bunch of friends who are doing the firm life. They make good money but they work crazy hours. Mixed bag on whether or not they enjoy it. It takes a certain type of person.
 

MediumBaller

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Yeah, I must be crazy. I loved law school. Made great friends, didn't think it was all that stressful (outside of exam periods) and partied a lot (lived on OSU's campus for 2 of the 3 years). I also went to Moritz (tOSU) where the curve was a B-.

Currently work as an in-house attorney for a large Ohio company. I love it. It is as much business as it is law. Pay is good, hours are great (8:30-5 with long lunches) and the people I work with are awesome. Would certainly recommend Law if everybody could work in-house. Unfortunately, these jobs are very hard to get. I have a bunch of friends who are doing the firm life. They make good money but they work crazy hours. Mixed bag on whether or not they enjoy it. It takes a certain type of person.
In-house sounds like the way to go from everything I've heard. Did you start out at a firm or go straight to an in-house position?
 

Scrote Squad

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Not from what I've seen, especially during the first year. Some kids I know do work in the libraries or for professors, and I know a few people who bartend on the weekends, but most don't seem to work during the school year.
I think this is the difference between day and night students. I'm currently enrolled in my second year at night, and everyone I have class with has a full time job during the day.
 

Scrote Squad

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My law school experience has been pretty great, so far. I work full time during the day and go to school part time at night. There's a common misconception that law school is incredibly hard, which really isn't true. IMO, law school is just very time consuming. You have to be able to read and understand the material. In undergrad, I had the ability to never show up to class, read the book in the week leading up to a final, and get A's. In law school, because the information can be so nuanced, your knowledge is really gleaned from the discussions you have on the casebook materials more so than the text itself. The only group I would discourage from going to law school would be anyone that is a slow reader or requires multiple passes at the text to understand it.
 

AllforOne

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Glad to see we've heard from some people who are in law and are content with their choice. (And I've definitely heard that in-house corporate counsel is a much more sane career. At least back in the day, it was rare/unheard-of to go directly from law school to a corporate position; the path was work for a few years at one of the big-firm puppy mills, then make the jump to corporate. But that may well have changed by now.)

For me, all I can say is that it has now been almost 24 years since I left law behind for good, and I have not regretted that decision. Not even once.
 

BillSXT2002

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Great topic, and I agree with a lot of what others have posted. I didn't particularly like law school, and went in thinking it would be a career where I could make good money. For me, my grades weren't good enough for the big firms, and I didn't really want that type of life anyway. I ended up interning with a county prosecutor's office and got hired on after I graduated. I did a couple of years of criminal trial work, and ended up moving into type of government in-house counsel role. Through luck or effort (I like to think effort) I had some promotions and such that make it a good career for me. I still would love to get into the corporate world someday, but my present career is really good for a number of reasons.

I like to tell people that they should only go to law school if the actually want to be a lawyer. I know that is very general and hard to know for some, but I essentially mean that I don't recommend it for simple income potential. I think there are better careers for that.

Also, I forget who mentioned possibly transitioning from education to law, it is not impossible, but may not be as easy as it seems. When you get out of law school, you will know a lot about education, but you will still be a new lawyer that will have to earn trust and learn the process. That being said, education law can be a lucrative specialty if you really are interested in it.
 

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Early in my 2nd year of college, I was interviewing for a busy season accounting internship with a Big 4 company. I was pretty naive about what went into being an accountant, busy season, CPA, all that junk. I had to declare a major when I was directly admitted to business school and I really enjoyed the accounting courses I took during high school. I had my realization that this career choice may not be for me when during the interview, they started to discuss how they have catered dinners every night. Later that night, I emailed my interviewers that I appreciated the interest but I was going to withdraw my name. Within the week, I'd changed my major within the business school.

So not a law story, but the public accounting hours and average pay (honestly, shitty pay compared to those hours) wasn't going to cut it for me (even if it were only a 2-3 year thing) because I really value my work-life balance. I think it's extremely important to know what kind of sacrifices you are and aren't willing to make regardless of your career choice.

Also, probably being a bit of a diva comparing accounting to law. I have 1 friend who is currently in law school, most of my friends were in business or engineering
 

The Human Q-Tip

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I had my realization that this career choice may not be for me when during the interview, they started to discuss how they have catered dinners every night. Later that night, I emailed my interviewees that I appreciated the interest but I was going to withdraw my name. Within the week, I'd changed my major within the business school.
Haha! Yeah, that's definitely a tip-off when they don't plan on you going home for dinner. My first firm actually had their very own cafeteria, chefs and all, that was open every night for dinner. They bragged about it too.
 

The Oi

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I heard on separate occasions that partners loved it when young guys would buy boats or expensive cars because it meant they couldn’t afford to go anywhere else.

It must be a running joke in the legal community because I have seen this get cheers and big hate smiles at bars several times.
 

Ob1

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In-house sounds like the way to go from everything I've heard. Did you start out at a firm or go straight to an in-house position?
I started in-house in a corporate fellowship role and was lucky enough to stay on afterwards.
 

MGMT

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I like law school :conf (11): Much less stressful than undergrad in my experience. Idk what being a practicing lawyer is like obviously, but I read a lot of law school horror stories before starting and haven't found them to be true. Unlike undergrad, you just have one big exam at the end. Most of the semester is just reading every night. I'm in my fourth semester and have found plenty of time to hangout with my gf, go to the gym twice a day, get 8 hours of sleep a night, etc.
Can you work full time? I’m considering it after finishing my MBA. I can’t remain unemployed for that amount of time or really any amount of time for that matter.
 

Sebastian

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Do most work part time to help pay for law school?
Most are on loans to pay for everything.

Unless you are independently wealthy, or saved a lot of money in a career before hand, the costs are so much that it is difficult to put one's self through a law school.

However, some schools are more designed for part-timers than others.

Can you work full time? I’m considering it after finishing my MBA. I can’t remain unemployed for that amount of time or really any amount of time for that matter.
Yes, but you'd likely be part time as taking a full-credit load while having a career is exceptionally difficult.

Part-time is a good avenue if you have a good job already. Many do it.

It takes longer but if you're already making good money it is fine.
 

Sebastian

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Haha! Yeah, that's definitely a tip-off when they don't plan on you going home for dinner. My first firm actually had their very own cafeteria, chefs and all, that was open every night for dinner. They bragged about it too.
Yeah, my partner's firm does that (it is as you say, chef, good food) and they get free Lyft rides home after 8:00 PM. Yay!

But, balance those amenities with:

It is 2:13 AM here and my partner is still not home from work.

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w again, I'd probably have gone into the FBI or something, because that was an option for me. Or maybe DOJ or something. Get me away from the damn billables and time sheets, and have some interesting subject matter. There are careers for lawyers that aren't law firm based. Intelligence agency loves good lawyers. I know some folks who do family-based law and really like it, so I don't want to give to get the impression that it is all negative and everyone hates it. That isn't true. But the advice @King Stannis gave was sound -- don't become "a" lawyer. If someone has a specific idea of a specific field they like, then perhaps they'll really enjoy it.
You made a point earlier about the JD, in a way I wish I had finished for the degree as it is quite useful and versatile.

Good point with law enforcement and intelligence, and also for those interested in politics and public administration or NGO type stuff, a JD is great.

I have a couple friends who never wanted to practice but got their JDs, didn't take the Bar and now work for the Gates Foundation in public and international policy.

They love it. Lots of jobs if you have a mind for government or NGO driven policy.
 

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