Law school is not as much fun as it sounds. Having suffered through (and survived) I am eager to help others avoid or embrace the experience. Here are the top 5 things to consider when deciding if law school is right for you:
1. Are you doing this for yourself?
Make sure you are going for the right reasons. Go because you love the law, and cannot imagine doing anything else with your life. Do not go because it is what your Mother, Father, Friends, Grandparents, etc. want for you.
2. Are you willing to take on the debt?
Law school can be very expensive. Many programs do not allow you to work during your first year, and thus (unless you are independently wealthy) you will probably have to take on a number of loans. Loan payback starts upon graduation, so be ready to have that added pressure as soon as you’re done.
3. Do you want to practice law?
This sounds like a silly question, but it’s something to consider. Most of my friends from law school are not practicing. Many people go to law school for the background, and honestly it can be a great “foot-in-the-door” to other wonderful careers. However, you should ask yourself if law school is the right path for you based on your interests and career goals. Don’t go to law school because you are unsure of what else you might want to do with your life.
4. Do you have other stress in your life?
Are you getting married? Moving? Having children? Battling an illness? Caring for an elderly parent? Law school is incredibly competitive and stressful. Your life as you know it will change. While overall it can be a positive experience, you will have many long hours and tough days. The key is being able to maintain balance. Be sure to consider other stresses in your life when making your decision.
5. Are you willing to commit the next three years of your life to the pursuit of your JD?
Three years can be a long time. If you have just graduated college, consider taking a year off before you jump right back into school again. If you are not 100% sure if law school is right for you take some time to review your options. Law school may seem the “easy out” if you do not want to be thrown into the work world as soon as you graduate college. However, in the end it is much more difficult. If after waiting a year you are still sure it is the right path for you, then it probably is.