Should I Go To Law School? Reasons For And Against

Heidi Cope
by Heidi Cope
Major-Specific - 4 months ago

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Should I go to law school?

To go or not to go… that is often the question for many recent grads thinking about applying to law school. You may have watched Law and Order growing and dreamed of being a top lawyer like those in the show, but is that really possible?

If you are wondering whether or not you should apply for law school, you are probably asking yourself some of the following questions:

Is law school really worth the time and money? Who should seriously consider law school and who should look for other options first before enrolling?

Deciding on what to do after going to college can be hard, but taking the time to really think through your options and motivations behind going to certain graduate schools, like law schools, is something you shouldn’t rush.

Here are the top three things to keep in mind when deciding about law school:

  • Only go to law school if you love law or know you have to become a lawyer to pursue the career you want.
  • Where can you get in? Try and get into the best school possible.
  • If you haven’t shadowed or spoken to a few lawyers yet about their careers, make sure to get some real experience before you apply.

Now that you’ve gotten an overview of law school decisions, let’s take a more detailed look at why you should or should not consider going to law school.

Reasons Not To Go To Law School

You might be thinking about going to law school for the simple reason of “why not?” If you are thinking about going to law school because you are unsure where else to go or are having a difficult time making up your mind about applying to law school, here are a few things to consider.

Law school isn’t easy. It also isn’t cheap. Many graduates walk across the stage with a fancy new law degree… and a lot of debt. You may be asking whether or not law school is worth the cost. Law school can be extremely expensive, with many graduates walking across the stage to receive their degrees and over $100k in debt.

Additionally, the job market is difficult for recent graduates, so there is no longer a “guarantee” that you’ll be getting a high salary to quickly pay off those loans. Many people may think that they will become wealthy lawyers working high-profile cases after graduating, but that is sadly not the case for most graduates these days. Because the law profession is rapidly changing, there is so much competition for the top positions and many lawyers don’t end up making top-dollar salaries.

Where you go to law school matters. If you only want to become a lawyer at a very prestigious firm, then you’ll want to go to a top-tier law school. A degree from a top-ranked program will make you more competitive in the job market than graduates from other schools. And when the job market is already tough, this is an important advantage.

When taking all of this advice into account, here are some top reasons to reconsider going to law school:

  • If you are only in it for the money.
  • If you feel like you have nothing else to do.
  • If you don’t want to have student debt.
  • If you only want to be a high-profile lawyer.
  • If you cannot get into a ranked school.
  • If you feel like it will help you climb in a company’s hierarchy — try seeing if a cheaper (and quicker) masters program will work first.

If any of these reasons apply to you, maybe you should reconsider another option. However, there are some great reasons to go to law school, so don’t give up hope just yet.

Reasons To Go To Law School

The top reason to go to law school is if you are absolutely in love with law. If studying law is your passion, then you should go to law school. People and businesses need lawyers, so there is a need for the profession, but the way lawyers are utilized will likely change a lot in the near future.

If you are an avid law-fan and are willing to be flexible, take risks, work hard and reach out and create your own opportunities, then consider going to law school. These attributes are also what makes a good lawyer, so be sure to keep that in mind as well.

Being new to the field of law can be very challenging. There is a lot of competition and you might have to spend a lot of time and effort working your way up from positions you didn’t originally consider. However, the work can also be incredibly rewarding. If you are willing to work in positions that don’t make as much money, you’ll likely find that there are a ton of interesting law opportunities out there.

At the end of the day, what is going to make someone happy with their career, despite having challenges finding jobs and having student debt? Loving the subject.

But before you apply to law schools, you want to keep a few things in mind.

Three Things You Should Consider Doing Before Going To Law School

Before anyone decides on going to law school, there are a few things to consider:

  • Can you make it into a good school?
  • Do you love the profession enough to be happy working at a lower-salaried position?
  • Do you have real-world law experience?

Making into a good law school matters, so if you want to go to law school, but have a lower LSAT score, consider taking more time off to study to raise it. While you study, you can also take some time to shadow a few lawyers at different firms. Consider interning at a law firm or with a nonprofit that works with lawyers.

Try to get as much exposure to the law as you can before you apply — see if you actually like it. Three years and a good bit of loans is a huge decision, so be sure you really are interested in the material before you go. Law schools love seeing applicants who have taken the time to do so.

Should You Go To Law School? The Decision Is Yours

Now that you’ve seen a few reasons to consider law school and a few reasons to not consider law school as a graduate school option, it’s time to sit back and make a decision.

Again, choosing which career path you want to go on is a difficult one and it might take some time. But making the law school decision is best if done with experience. Talk to as many lawyers as you can, shadow them and see about ways you can intern or volunteer at the firm.

Make sure you love the law. If you find that at the end of the day, the law is where your passion is, then start writing those application essays and study for the LSAT. Soon enough, you’ll be a firm’s next new lawyer.

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