Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A good check list for deciding whether to attend law school.

This is the time of year when applicants may still be mulling over whether to attend law school in the fall. Even if you've already paid a deposit to secure a seat, you may still be wondering whether it's the right choice (you can always forfeit your deposit if you decide it's not the right thing for you at this moment in your life).

Here's a helpful checklist courtesy of the President of the California Bar Association for assessing the pros and cons of attending law school:

  • Have realistic expectations about what lawyers actually do on a day-to-day basis. It's best to work for a lawyer for a year or two before attending law school so you'll go in with your eyes wide open. If you haven't already done that, seriously consider deferring for a year to first get that kind of experience.
  • Consider the reputation of the schools that have accepted you. If you're going to law school in hopes of landing a $160k job but aren't planning to attend a top 50 law school, your odds are long at best (even if you attend a t-50 school, you may still need to be in the top 10-15% of the class).
  • Ask yourself whether you're primary motive is to make a lot of money. If you answer in the affirmative, law school is probably not the right choice.
  • Crunch the numbers on the debt you'll incur to attend law school and ask yourself whether it will allow you an acceptable standard of living based on a likely mid-five-figures salary. 

As long as you have realistic expectations and have thought carefully about this decision, then you're making the right choice. Click here to see more detailed advice about how to assess each one of the above factors.

Hat tip to JD Oasis.com.



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