Although I claim the Puget Sound as home, I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area until I was almost 14. As an adult, I've lived in Brazil, Washington, Arizona, Utah, and New York. My parents still live in Washington with a paranoid border collie (blended with something else that we can only speculate about). Meanwhile, my brother lives with his fiance in Baltimore.
My passion is film; ever since my parents bought me a VHS copy of Dracula at a Universal Studios gift shop, I've been in love with the movies. I've also been interested in Speech & Debate, acting, songwriting and music, comic books, normal books, planning vacations, jogging (sort of), sporadically playing video games, and, of course, writing. As a law student, my persuasive and research-centered writing is strong, but I also love to write creatively and have written screenplays, short stories, poems, and personal essays.
|EDUCATION: BA, Political Science from Brigham Young University||BLOG: None provided|
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Should I Go To Law School?: 5 Questions to Help You Decide
A legal career can be rewarding, but it is almost always challenging. Getting there isn't much easier. If you're on the fence about whether law school is right for you, consider the following questions:
1. Why do I want to go to law school?: The first year will likely be one of the most difficult of your life. Having a clear reason for being there can help you power through.
2. Is that reason a major motivator for me?: Let's face it: law can be lucrative, and that attracts many people to the profession. But some people just aren't money-motivated personality types. If you're one of those people, wanting a high-paying job won't keep you afloat during difficult times. The same may be true for someone who is highly money-motivated but who, whether due to the choice of school or some other factor, isn't well-positioned for a six-figure big firm job.
3. Do I know what it's going to take?: It's one thing to say, "I can handle hard things." It's another to know exactly what those hard things are going to be and to still be that confident. Talk extensively with law students and lawyers and wait to answer this question until you have asked them every other question you can think of.
4. Can I afford it?: This is a no-brainer, but getting into the dollars and cents will take a lot of stress away during law school. How much will it cost you to attend a variety of law schools you're considering, including cost of living? How will you come up with that money? If you have to take out student loans, how will you be able to pay them back? What will that do to your quality of life? Pro tip: Think about whether your schools have loan repayment assistance programs and whether you'll qualify. In any case, the key here is getting out the calculator and taking the time to come up with realistic numbers.
5. Am I going to like it?: This might seem even more obvious than the last question, but many people go to law school because they've been told their entire lives that they'd be good lawyers. Then they find out that being good at it is useless if there too miserable to function. Mental illness, substance abuse, and suicide are rampant in the legal profession, so don't kid yourself into thinking this question isn't relevant to a financially-driven workhorse like you. Make sure you can actually see yourself doing this for decades to come (and don't plan on a mid-life crisis, either; law school is usually too expensive if you're not going to use your degree for a very long time). Do job shadows, interviews, internships, whatever it takes. Keep in mind that there is no requirement that you go straight from undergrad to law school; many great law students take several gap years, giving them time to work as legal assistants and paralegals while they're deciding if this is what they really want.
Considering these questions is a great start to deciding whether this commitment is going to be grueling but worth it, or just plain grueling.