Monday, August 13, 2007

Recent Reader E-Mail:

I just found your blog...and it is making me think about the nagging feeling I have had in my gut for the past year. I am about to start my 2L year - and I hate law school and I am not excited about being an attorney. I worry that these years thinking all I wanted was to go to law school and be a lawyer were wrong and have only conspired to make me feel like I can't back out. Besides, I have all my 1L debt, a bunch of private school undergrad debt, and NO IDEA what I would do if I didn't do these next two years and finish what I started.

Do you really feel like law school has been the biggest mistake? If so, why? If you were about to be a 2L and only 1/3 of the way through would you still keep going? What kind of a job to do you think you will end up with - and more importantly, was it what you wanted in the first place?

Sorry for all the questions...I am just having angst while I get my OCI shit together for the fall and think about the fact that I just have a gut feeling this is wrong. Any advice, etc would be most appreciated.
My Response:
Honestly, I don't think it was the biggest mistake of my life, I know it was. Unless you are in the top 10% of your class what you do not realize is that you will most likely end up taking a job for around 50K a year. I could have probably found something out of college for 40-45K and I wouldn't have almost $1000 a month student loan payments.

I have no idea what type of job I will find and I honestly am concerned that my car will be repossessed before November when I have any chance of finding a job, according to my career services office, since nobody is going to hire me before I get my bar results (and even then only if they are positive).

If I had to to do over again, I would have dropped out of school after 1L. I actually didn't want to go to law school and went through a big depression before I started since deep down I knew it was wrong for me, but I felt pressured by family (and I had thought it was what I wanted to do since high school so it was hard to let it go).

I convinced a friend of mine to drop out after first semester 1L who was similar to us in that she always thought she wanted to go but when she did, she hated it (and while she is a very smart girl she did terribly). She dropped out, found a job, and is extremely happy, and every time I talk to her she is reassured in her decision. Similarly, I had a friend at my school who was MISERABLE, hated every minute of school and finally after 2L (when he was only a 1.5L due to dropping so many classes or getting kicked out for non-attendance) he dropped out. He is now working as a mortgage banker, making 70K a year and loving his life. There is life after law school, it's just a matter of figuring it out.

I know the feeling of being scared to drop out since you already have so much debt that you don't know how you would pay it. Trust me, all that will happen is that it will triple, you will still be making about the same amount, and you will be working insane hours and hating what you do.

I am certainly only one person, but if I had to do over, there is no doubt in my mind I'd have dropped out.
Anyone else have anything to contribute? Anyone else still reading?


Nye! said...

I am still reading, and have something to add.

For those of you who don't think you'll like law school, you probably shouldn't go. For those of you who have started and don't like it, you probably shouldn't continue.

But for those of you who haven't started, don't be discouraged by all the naysayers. There are plenty of people, myself included, who love law school and the law. I wouldn't have traded it for anything in the world.

blbrry said...

i agree with the above
i went for one semester and hated it and dropped out, went through a huge depression and kind of never got over it. had generous parents who supported me after all of that. found an ok job, moved to cali, started studying the sciences. i'm in nursing school now but for some reason i keep having an interest in law so i might go back.

Elle Woods said...

Nye is completely right. There are some (sick) people who like law school. I think it's great they were able to find something they truly love.

However, the reality for many of us that we were recruited (since law schools are run like a business-with really poor customer service) and for whatever reason it seems prestigious and appealing so we go. Then once the debt is mounting we feel we have no choice but to stay.

I will be the first person to admit there are (tiny) parts of practicing that I really enjoy, but I do not feel those times outweigh all the negatives I have experienced.

Irina said...

I had a similar situation, but I studied finance. I hated (and hate now) my profession, but I didn't drop it out. Now I'm working in the bank, but I'm not happy. I always liked law, but my parents were against this profession. Nevertheless, now I study law. Sometimes I regret about studing finance for 5 years, but probably, I was afraid to drop out. So now I correct my mistake. But sometimes I think: maybe it's too late to start new career? On the other hand, I can't stand my job, so I have to change it.

Fannie said...

if you hate it now, spending the rest of your life doing it won't make you happy. it's not too late to drop out.

if you don't know what to do, consider going to nursing school. you'll always be guaranteed a good job anywhere you want to live, probably making about the same amount of money.

Spicy Law Girl said...

I'm a rising 3L, and I had a job and all that good stuff this summer (not through OCI so I'm not guaranteed shit), and today I had the first breakdown about school in a long time.

The way the system is set up, unless you're at the top, you're fucked. The thing is, at the end of the day, I feel like I'd like being an attorney, but because of circumstances (the people in the field, the debt, the expectations) I will never be able to enjoy it sans bitterness. Of course this is IF I ever am employed.

But is it THE job for me? No. I could have been happy doing MANY things that didn't require a J.D. If I could redo it I don't know if I would, because I didn't realize how bad it was until I was knee deep in the festering sewage that comprises everything about law school and the legal profession.

anonymoushottie said...

I hated first year. Wanted to drop out, but knew I would feel like a total failure. So I kept plugging away and found something I loved in the law. Will I make tons of money? No. Will I be recruited at OCI? No. But I have found my niche and it keeps me interested and if I had given up, I might never have found it. So there is something to be said for sticking with law school for the long haul, so long as you have adjusted your expectations to reality (knowing I will not make tons of money, for example).

Michelle said...

I sent the original email posted here by Elle. I really appreciate all of the feedback...I'm trying to take this week to really sort out what I am going to do. You've all given me a lot to think about, so thanks :)

Marc said...

Yeah law school really blows. No doubt that it sucks. But do you hate the law or the school? While I hated law school, it wasn't the law that I hated. It was the f’ing bullshit, the attendance policy, the shitty wireless system, and having to drive to Detroit every day.
I couldn’t imagine being in any other career (assuming I passed the bar). Where else can you completely ruin another’s life, battle the evil government on a level playing field, eloquently call cops out for being what they really are – fascist pigs that think “enforcing” some shithole criminal statute is more important than our Constitutional rights (apparently they have never seen that little pyramid with the Constitution on top and statutes on bottom), completely eliminate another’s debt, redress wrongs (okay, not in Michigan), help injured people receive compensation (okay, not in Michigan), help policyholders battle evil insurance companies (again, not in Michigan. Wtf? Why did I want to practice here) and help protect people from future creditors? All while getting paid.
If you hate law school, don’t give up unless it is “the law” that you hate. If you hate being an advocate, researching and forming an argument, then quit.
Like I said, I hated law school but love the law and love being an advocate. I even enjoyed advocating for the government (disgusting, I know). You need to ask yourself what you really hate.
If you got into this shit because you 1) wanted to strike it rich or 2) wanted to help the little man, get the hell out NOW. First, getting rich doing something you hate is a shitty life. Second, the little man hates you, won’t pay your bill and will probably file a grievance against you.