Do You Want to Become a Lawyer? FULLY Prepare Yourself!
YOUR QUESTION Should you become a lawyer?
QUICK ANSWER Maybe… The truth is that becoming a lawyer is right for some people, but not for others. The only way you can answer this question is by learning about what it is really like to practice law and whether your personality type will match with a certain type of law/legal work.
FULL EXPLANATION I have experienced the entire process of becoming a lawyer and the practice of law, and can honestly tell you that becoming a lawyer is a difficult decision. Many intelligent pre law candidates just like you have asked me; “if you had to do it all over again knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?” But before we even get to that, you need to understand the relationship between age and career options:
Career options (legal and non-legal) can be visualized as a pyramid. At the beginning of your career, you are at the bottom of the pyramid with the base of the pyramid representing your many different career options. As time goes on and you progress higher and higher on the pyramid, your career options become fewer and more limited because you only have experience in your current field and because your personal life takes on more responsibility (children, purchase a house (mortgage), marriage).
The point is that as you age career options become limited (while responsibilities increase) and unless you take action to plan your career, life will dictate the terms of your career and you may find yourself in a career you hate with no possible exit.
Career planning is important in any industry but ULTRA important to a legal career. Looking back on my law career, law school, and the entire process of becoming a lawyer, if I had to do it all over again as a pre law candidate I would have spent more time planning my lawyer career and learning about what a lawyer actually does vs. preparing for the LSAT. Thus, I would have been able to position myself more effectively, avoid pitfalls/mistakes, have found my passion in the law much earlier, and saved myself significant amounts of money/time/stress. Fortunately, I got lucky and fell into something that I enjoy, however, my story is far from the norm in the legal industry.
Explained in the simplest terms, a pre law candidate who is interested in becoming a lawyer must know/understand the following BEFORE committing to law school and a legal career:
1) Discard your pre held beliefs about lawyers and acknowledge that you do not have a real understanding of becoming a lawyer and what lawyers do.
2) Learn how to find your PASSION in life, and how to match it with a niche of law.
3) Psychologists have studied lawyers and there is a distinct personality type; to what degree do you match the lawyer personality?
4) Are you familiar with the specific education and licensing requirements (and cost of same) of how to become a lawyer? (Including but not limited to the Law School Admission Test?)
5) Do you know what a lawyer actually does on a day to day basis, and what career options are available for different types of lawyers? Would you enjoy the type of work that lawyers do every day?
6) Do you know what types of skills you will be required to develop for success if you become a lawyer?
The solution is simple in theory but requires action… Take what you have learned about yourself/your passion, and overlay that onto what you have learned about becoming a lawyer/types of lawyers/the practice of law... Where do they overlap? Where do they differ and by how much?
The good news is that lawyers are required in every industry, and you are an intelligent person so if you put some pre law effort into discovering your passion, there is a niche of law related to that passion best suited for you. Know that if you enjoy your work, you will become the best in your field and financial success/career satisfaction will follow. Whereas, failure to position yourself properly could easily result in you hating your work and failing to realize your true personal and financial potential.
KNOW THAT YOU DON’T KNOW When I was considering whether or not to become a lawyer my pre law school plan consisted of something similar to this:
1) Score as highly as possible on the law school admission test;
2) Obtain admission to the school with the highest law school rankings;
3) Get high grades in law school to obtain the highest paying job possible;
4) I am “Set” no more planning required.
Sound familiar? I was lucky and found my path, but for most of those people seeking to become a lawyer, the above is a recipe for major career problems because this is not a real PLAN!
THE BUSINESS DECISION OF BECOMING A LAWYER You need to consider whether or not to become a lawyer as a holistic business decision; I represent many successful business people in my law practice and they are not short sighted, they have a PLAN. They research, analyze and prepare for all contingencies, plan 10+ steps ahead and consider whether or not the work required to make a new venture successful is the type of work they want to do.
This is long term strategic thinking, and you need apply this concept to your pre law school planning.
You should only go to law school once you have FULLY investigated your own personality, the legal industry and KNOW what it is really like to practice law and how to become a licensed lawyer.
THE NAYSAYERS & SALESMEN Perhaps you are hesitant to become a lawyer because some people RECOMMEND LAW SCHOOL, while others are recommending you DON’T APPLY TO LAW SCHOOL?
NEVER listen to people who speak in absolute truths. They are either trying to take your money, are bitter because they didn’t plan their own law career properly, or have some other agenda (either consciously or subconsciously).
You already know that the only person who can answer the question of whether or not you should become a lawyer is YOU!
We are not here to push you one way or the other, our goal is simply to provide you with the tools and information to make an educated decision pre law school.
WHY WE CARE The contributors at Become-a-Lawyer.com have learned these lessons the hard way. We were all in your position and want to help you determine if a legal career is the right path for YOU. Review all of our information and make a FULLY INFORMED decision regarding a possible law career and direction of that career.
Good luck on your journey, and always remember:
“By failing to prepare you are failing to position yourself for the road ahead; positioning dictates the efficiency of, and ease of SUCCESS.” – Anonymous
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