Deciding Whether Law School is the Right Path
Why are you thinking about law school? Some of the most common reasons include some variation of the following:
- I like to argue.
- I took Constitutional Law/Legal 250/Civil Liberties/etc. and it was mind-blowing.
- Law is so fascinating.
- I want a reliable, interesting job.
- I want to make a lot of money.
- I want to help people.
- I want to make change.
- I don’t know, it’s just what I always thought I’d do.
While many of these are great starting points for your exploration into legal careers, none of them should suffice as your only reason for going to law school. Think of them instead as directions for further questions:
- Do lawyers really argue for a living?
- Is the practice of Constitutional Law anything like the study of Constitutional Law? What are the job opportunities in this field?
- Is practicing law as fascinating as reading about the law?
- Are law jobs easy to find? Does lawyering bring steady income and employment? Is it interesting work?
- How much money do lawyers make? Does it vary by field, practice setting, firm size, location?
- How do lawyers help people? How does it compare to other helping professions, like social work or teaching?
- How do lawyers make change? How does it compare to other social change careers, like policy or organizing?
- Do I need a law degree to do the kind of work I’d like to do?
- What kinds of work are meaningful to me? What kind of career would match my skills and interests, and maybe bring me satisfaction and joy and a good living?
The resources in this section are designed to help you begin to explore your interest in a potential legal career and to better understand your options so that you can make an informed decision about whether law school is right for you.
Click here to see all the resources for exploring legal careers or click on a specific topic below.
- Legal fields and practice areas
- Transactional practice vs. litigation
- Private practice vs. public service/public interest
- Firm size: From solo to BigLaw
- Regional vs. national firms
- Legal careers not requiring a law degree
How to find out more about particular fields/practice settings
- Internships and how to find them
- Talk to practicing attorneys
- Other resources for researching legal careers