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Why You Should Not Go to Law School

This article takes a critical look at reasons that people should not go to law school.

Many people decide to go to law school believing that a law degree will be valuable, even if they decide not to practice law. While this may be true in certain circumstances, making a career transition from law into another field is difficult especially if you have a lot of debt from school. Unless you want to practice as an attorney or go into politics you may find that a law degree is more limiting in a competitive job market. Here are some reasons you should not to go to law school.

It’s a Numbers Game: More Applicants, Fewer Jobs and Higher Tuition Costs

According to the Writemypaperbro editors' research, in the 2018-2019 school years, 152,033 students were enrolled in 200 law schools. Even with those staggering numbers, statistically fewer than 15,000 of those students have a shot at obtaining high paying jobs in major law firms. This is because large firms only entertain candidates who graduate in the top 10% of their class. You may be smart and get good grades, but there are no guarantee’s you will make the top 10% because many schools grade on a curve.

To make matters worse, many large law firms have cut jobs and deferred the start of new hires because of the recession (Shih, 2019). This means new graduates are at even more of a disadvantage because there’s already a waiting line for positions in big law firms that aren’t adding jobs.

Competition for the few high-paying jobs in the legal field is fierce even when the economy is good. The majority of attorneys don’t make huge salaries. A look at attorney salaries shows the average lawyer makes between $58,199 – $118,173 with bonuses and profit sharing. On the other hand law school tuition is skyrocketing, costing as much as $80,000 a year at top law schools (Shih, 2019). The worst part is that law school applications are at an all time high, which means competition will continue to get tougher as law schools churn out more JD’s all vying for fewer positions (Rettig, 2020).

Law School Doesn’t Teach You How to be a Lawyer or a Business Owner

You will certainly know how to do legal research read a statute and understand the essential terms of a contract when you complete law school, but as for knowing what to do when a client walks in your office with a problem, that comes with experience. Law practice involves a lot of mentorship from experienced attorneys helping associates to learn procedures and how to practice law which varies from location to location. With fewer jobs available there are fewer opportunities to gain the experience you need from experienced professionals. This creates a minefield for new attorneys unaware of the pitfalls of local rules and procedures.

Although many lawyers are self-employed, it takes money to set up an office and hang out your shingle. Even when you have your office there are no guarantees that clients will start beating down your door. In fact, marketing and growing a business is no less challenging for an attorney than any other entrepreneur. Just because you go to law school doesn’t mean you know how to run a business and many new attorneys are not prepared for these challenges.

Read on

Online Law Schools
The Problem with Law School

You Can Work Anywhere with a Law Degree, Right?

Think again. Just because you have a law degree doesn’t mean you are going to convince an employer to hire you, especially if it is a non attorney position. Employers want work experience and without it you’re just another overeducated graduate with an unreasonable salary expectation. Hopefully you have other work experience or another degree that will assist you in obtaining non-legal positions if that is your goal. Employers are leery of hiring graduates who are seeking employment in a field outside of their training because they assume you are there for the short term. In this economy competition for jobs is incredibly tough and you will have some strong convincing to do to overcome this bias.

Dissatisfaction with the Job

Lawyers work long hours, have very high levels of stress and high rates of depression and substance abuse. High rates of dissatisfaction with the working conditions cause many attorneys to leave law practice in search of careers with more opportunities for a balance between life and work. Law students tend to be idealists thinking that they will go into the practice of law to make a difference and only work on the most important issues that appeal to them. This is not realistic, as many of these students find out in the real world you have to work on the cases that suck just as much as the cases that interest you.

If you are on the fence and thinking about being a lawyer, but not sure it’s the right career for you, consider your alternatives first. Tuition costs and the dismal job outlook are two great reasons not to go to law school. If you don’t really want to practice law you should think very long and hard about spending three years of school to get a degree that may not help you get where you want to be and land you in a heap of debt in the process.



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