Every 0L hears the traditional warnings against law school: too many lawyers, too few jobs, outrageous tuition costs, and eventual placement in a job he or she could’ve had without a JD. People still go to law school, of course, because they believe that they’ll be the exception.
There are, unfortunately, many factors that these students can’t control, and there’s a very good chance that even if they land jobs, they won’t end up being the lawyers they thought they would.
So, to further dampen hopefuls’ spirits, here are a few law school issues that even the critics don’t usually discuss:
1) You will probably not end up in the area you wanted
Usually, incoming students already have some idea of what they want to do with their law degrees: “Wall Street” law, “Main Street” law, or even something like human rights law. These students might never practice in those areas, though, and there are various reasons. The largest, of course, is the less-than-ideal job market today. It’s not unusual for new grads to take whatever jobs they’re offered, planning to make do until they find openings in different areas. Of course, the longer it takes to make that switch, the less employable you are in a different field, and so the grand plan doesn’t always play out.
2) Many practice areas are not what you think they are anyway
There’s more to choosing a speciality than picking the one that sounds cool. Much of the media continues to glamorize lawyers, leaving young people with false impressions of the field. Some commonly misunderstood areas are international law, human rights law, and entertainment law.
Practicing international law does not mean traveling to exotic locations and finalizing multinational trade agreements on a daily basis. Instead, it has more to do with staying up late at night to call attorneys on different continents.
Human rights law is also not as flashy as it sounds. While these lawyers do undoubtedly admirable work, defending parents who might lose their children if they get deported or protecting renters who might get evicted because someone stole their money is certainly more down-to-earth than regularly prosecuting evil people for crimes against humanity.
Entertainment law, too, has very little to do with what some people imagine. For one, it doesn’t really involve socializing with celebrities. Instead, entertainment lawyers deal with contracts and copyright in a certain industry.
3) The effort you put into law school extracurriculars means nothing
Extracurricular activities might help you get into law school, but you’ll need a different plan if you want to get a job. This is mainly because they eat up a lot of time that would be better spent rising to the top of your class. If you insist, however, it’s best to work for a bar-related committee, since you might meet lawyers who could help you find a job.
Source: Above the Law
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