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The only part of this post I disagree with is that, if you're good at arguing or debating, that most certainly IS a good reason to go to law school. If you're good at it, of course, I assume you enjoy engaging in debate. And if that is true, you already have a huge advantage over most others, who attend law school for other, mostly bad reasons.

Of course, this also assumes you are interested in a career in litigation. Most law graduates are not.


Scheherazade, please report on the schooner captain and life in the woods post-undergrad one of these days! That sounds so idyllic.


Thanks for the post. I've been out of school a few years, and I'm just about to say goodbye to a nice stable job, substantial savings, and some good friends to attend law school in the fall.

This blog (and a few others) have provided a nice counterpoint to the cynical opinions of current co-workers, sociopaths on certain "pre-law" boards, and friends trapped in BIGLAW jobs.

I'm excited to go back to school, with a maturity and mindset I lacked as an undergrad. To learn for the sake of learning, to become good at something which has always been a subject of personal fascination but never an innate skill, to be around people who think about things other than career advancement and their next bonus. Is it possible I'm not completely crazy?


I went to law school directly out of college because my parents really wanted me to and I didn't know what else to do. I've been practicing bankruptcy law for some time and love it. I used to think that I got lucky. Now I think my parents knew more about what would suit me than I ever gave them credit for. [I love your "Why I Love Bankrupcy Law" post. Especially #7: You realize how stupid it is to associate financial success or material wealth with worthiness.] Keep up the great work.


I went to law school because I didn't know what else to do, and it turned out okay for me. Well, actually, I knew I wanted to go to law school (education for its own sake), but I'm still not sure if I ever want to be a lawyer. And I've been a member of the bar for two years now. Note that I did take a year off between college and law school, which was a good idea.

I knew a girl in law school who came there after quitting a Ph.D. program in Chemistry after two years. She was studying one night and just decided she didn't want to do it anymore. She packed up and went home, and then decided to go to law school (and did fine). Somehow, knowing how far along she was in that program, and still dropped out, allowed me to think that I could always quit law school if it wasn't working for me. Sure, I would have been deep in debt and still had no idea what to do with my life. But it was nice to have a concrete exemplar to the notion that I wasn't sentenced to law school; I was there voluntarily and could leave if I wanted. I guess my point is that, while it's best to decide law school isn't right for you (i.e., your reader) *before* enrolling, it's still better to decide against the law during school or even shortly after than to look back in twenty or forty years with nothing but regret.

(I know, Sherry, I'm the last person to talk about regret and not shaking one's life up, but it's late and I can't sleep and so I'm waxing philosophical. I'm like the oracle who can't follow his own advice.)


It was just a week or so ago that it hit me. I was riding the metro to work when I saw a poster advertising a law school in DC, with a quote from a student:

Going to law school changed our lives, and now maybe we can change the world with public interest law.

That was enough to water the seed that was planted in my mind long ago, more than 10 years ago, after I finished my undergrad. I thought about law school then, but was in no state to go. I didn't know it at the time, but I had undiagnosed and untreated ADD — something that made undergrad a struggle for me. Now, three years since my diagnosis and treatment, my thoughts of going to law school have been revived. Of course, I was 23 then, and I'm 35 now, with a full time job and a family. So the challenges are different.

I found your blog through a link from the blog of another person who is planning to go to law school. Food for thought, I guess.


Terrance -- my "rival" in my law school class, the guy who always seemed to understand everything and had done all the reading, a deep thinker and a true leader and an articulate and thoughtful guy, the editor of the law review and generally big man on campus, had ADD and spoke of it's gifts and challenges quite a bit. He was extremely successful at our school, in his two federal clerkships, and now doing public policy in DC. Not having known much about ADD before knowing him I was amazed at his law school accomplishments.


Wow. Thanks for telling me about that. It's an encouraging story to hear. I'm reading through "One L" at the moment, and thinking about facing similar stuff if I end up in law school. Although, lately I've been thinking more in terms of "when" than "if." I guess ADD does have it's gifts and challenges, even with treatment, and they shake out differently for each person. We'll see.


Interesting posts here. I should note that I like Planet Law School, but wonder how it fits into your experiences. Is it true to life?


Maybe I'm missing something. Isn't law school just school. That's what its been for me...a bunch of theory that I may or may not use in the real world. I'm in school for the J.D., screw the rest. For all of you that are thinking about going to law school, I say go. You'll read a lot, and write a lot, but that's just school. Try to make lots of friends, and don't let people get in your head...just remember, "everyone is as full of sh_t as you are."


hello hello,
So let me put it to you like this, last night, my father gave me an ultimatum. Either I become a lawyer or he disowns me. Now, I'm 16 and barely finished with my high school career. I know that I could not become a lawyer for the life me, due to my lack of intelligence and exceedingly lazy persona. Moreover, law, in itself, seems very unappealing to me. Ultimately, I know that I want to make tons and tons of money but there are virtually no career choices for me since I'm not inclined towards any profession. SO, I NEED HELP! Should I satisfy my father and attempt to go to law school and hope I don't commit suicide from complete and utter misery? Or, should I just commit suicide right now and hope for a ravishing afterlife?


Thanks for the enlightening post. I read this at a particularly good moment, having just graduated from Yale, like yourself. I have nothing but whisps of ideas of what I could "give to the world," though I know everything about what makes me happy in the present (friends, fresh air, not too different from your own experience). Thanks for helping me put things in context. I was previously seeing myself as being lazy, but now I can begin to understand the underlying motivation and proactive nature of a year spent doing the things I love (and not worrying too much about going back to school, or heading toward a specific career).


I hate law school and wish I had never gone---I got a test tomorrow and Im dropping out


If you really want to lose you entire life and just read stupid things then go to law school......I worked before law school and dont want to be a lawyer----and Ive have not learned anything-------Im in the top 10% of my class and my school is in the top 25 but who gives a crap---law school steals your soul


Im going to quit and marry a girl Im in love with---oh ya and if your in a relationship go ahead and get a divorce or just break up with your significant other because you will have NO time from them because you are reading dumb books so a professor can ask you questions about things that are not particularly relevant to the test and its just a way to mock you.


In ohter words read the 29 reasons not to go to law school book before going because most of it is completely true. The ABA stands for assholes bastards and more assholes for not changing the way the law is taught in this country


dont go unless your a boring person with no life, anal, have very little personality, and who have no street smarts. Again take it from someone in the top 10% of the class---its too much work for nothing---sure Ill be working at a big firm making 150k a year but at what cost---I worked at a couple of the sweatshop law firms in the summer and they are really full of arrogant idiots that think they rule the world----got news for you one of the largest firms in the entire country was made on lies, cheats, and idiots who just manipulated things to get a wad of cash at your expense---come on anti-trust sounds so good but who is making the money the consumer?---no the lawyers are taking everything and giving you a gift certificate for their "noble" work----lawyers are really trashy individuals also---I would say about 855 of them cheat on their wives and are substance abusers---now Im just speaking from my experience at a very good school.


I'm a college freshman and I'm wondering about law school. Maybe you could give me some advice ... I've always been a math person. I spend my summers at REU (that's classes & independent work in math), not working in a lawyer's office. But lately I've been starting to have the nagging doubt that I'm better with words than numbers, and late last night I was up reading the Harvard Law Review for a paper and I thought, "Holy crap! I love this stuff. Now what am I supposed to do with myself?"

I like math, I really do. I like to prove stuff, I like Fourier series and projective planes and all those amazing doodads. But I can't help wondering, "What if I could get paid to read, write, and reason? It's so much easier for me." Maybe this is just anxiety because I'm in a hard math class right now and I'm worried about my grade. Hell, I don't know if I could even get *in* to law school, having no background. But I'm not a straight-up "quant" person, I know, and that terrifies me a little.

What do you think? I shouldn't be this confused, I know, but maybe somebody with experience can help.


I am completely lost in my own head...I thought I would read a few blogs and get some insight from real people who are really dealing with the ups and downs of attending law school & practicing law. But now I'm more confused than ever! I want my dad to get off my back about going to law school; I know I want to make tons of money; I love to read and research, but I don't like being forced to read tons of apparent meaningless-ness; I have always thought I'd make a fantastic lawyer b/c I am so awesome when it comes to arguing! BUT I would have to do EXCEPTIONALLY well on the LSAT b/c my undergraduate GPA wasn't all that hot so I'm terrified...And I have NO IDEA what to do...


I am completely lost in my own head...I thought I would read a few blogs and get some insight from real people who are really dealing with the ups and downs of attending law school & practicing law. But now I'm more confused than ever! I want my dad to get off my back about going to law school; I know I want to make tons of money; I love to read and research, but I don't like being forced to read tons of apparent meaningless-ness; I have always thought I'd make a fantastic lawyer b/c I am so awesome when it comes to arguing! BUT I would have to do EXCEPTIONALLY well on the LSAT b/c my undergraduate GPA wasn't all that hot so I'm terrified...And I have NO IDEA what to do...

Joe meets world

Law school is probably no picnic, but nothing is, really. What's the alternative? You get a business degree and go to work everyday. You go nuts sitting in your little cubicle, so you start chatting on msn, until someone notices and you get fired or a warning. If you can make it past the four year boot-camp, you get to pretend you own the world in your Mercedes. Meh, I say, be realistic. Lawyers are not brilliant or good people, but they have tough skin. That's all you need...plus some luck and an ability to make the right friends/demonds.


has anyone noticed that law school attendance is questioned by so many people who have never been? You want to study law? Wow, that's amazing! Is it? They ask what type of lawyer you want to be. I don't know please let me first go to law school and then tell you after three years.

Your thinking about law school right? Well, go with a passion for law, do what you love, never look back and focus. Remember it is a lot easier when you reinforce yourself with can do attitude than to second guess your dreams!


I really liked your post. Coming from a family that pushes education to the fullest and high achieving siblings, taking time off after undergrad was never an option. I am now in my 3rd year of law school, 22, and completely lost. I love life and I'm still trying to discover who I am but I'm not ready for the responsibility of being a lawyer at this age - nor am i passionate about it. I will probably end up practicing law because I don't know what else to do. And that's assuming I get a job. I'm a very social person and have no problem with people but I feel like a flake in interviews because I've had no life or job experiences to ground me or back up whatever I feel I have to offer an employer. How bad do you think would taking time off after law school be? Thank you so much


Why would someone volunteer to study law. I realized in my third year that I choose law so I did not have to make a decision about which career I wanted to pursue. The alluring promise of money is appealing, however, the debt incurred makes the first couple of years not worth it. I was debt-free after undergrad--I should've tried to do something and taken time to explore. You sit in class and watch people engage in conversation using vague concepts--what's even funnier is that some people get heated over the vague concepts as if they had been phsyically assaulted. Everyone walks around wondering if they made the correct choice--you become so far removed from mainstream society that it is difficult to appreciate the simple things in life. Everything becomes an opportunity for you to use your analyzing skills. You become numb to feelings and emotions and use words and debating skills instead. Law school brainwashes you to think a certain way so you can participate in the very vehicle that controls society--most people without them knowing. Go do something where you will feel alive--do it for me!!!


I am 24 and about to finish my 2nd year of law school. What law schools don't tell you going in is that almost 1/4 of students who begin law school fail out/drop out after the first year. I was amazed at how many people I knew as a 1L that no longer are students (but still owe the almost 30k for the first year). I plan to work as a public defender right out of school, and hopefully work towards creating a criminal defense practice years down the road. I am aware of the upside of the big firms ($$$) but when you factor in the hours (60-80 hours a week is not uncommon) put in you are really working for every dollar, not to mention sacrificing social life/family time/etc... The internet has certainly made law school more tolerable (sites like outlinedepot.com have class/professor specific student submitted outlines that are excellent). Also, even with a high undergrad GPA, getting into law school could be a problem. I graduated from Temple University with a friend the same year (both wanted to goto law school). I had a 3.25 undergrad GPA and she had a 3.95, was in the national honor society, spanish honor society, etc. I scored 161 on the LSAT and she scored a 151. She was not accepted or even waitlisted at any law school; however, she applied to UPenn for an environmental graduate program and was accepted. Just my $0.02

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