Law is an exciting field of study with several job prospects as legal professionals or lawyers. However, the study of law requires commitment, so you need to ask yourself these questions before deciding if you are willing to spend the necessary time and money on these studies or if you should focus your talents on another career.
If you want to be sure that you will take pleasure from your law career, then before studying law, ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly.
Question 1: What motivates you to apply?
Before joining any law school, you need to know the answer to the question about how passionate you are about the law and your motivation. Some say they want to make money, while others say it’s because someone else wants them to study law. Others learn law because they want the knowledge for a career elsewhere, for example, in politics.
Whatever your reason, you need to research it further. For example, you could make good money as a lawyer, but you need to consider your tuition and living expenses for the debt you must repay before earning a salary. So look at what lawyers make in your area to learn more about your potential earnings. Then again, is good money more important than liking the job, because if you don’t enjoy legal work, you might hate every moment of your career.
Question 2: Do you know what a lawyer does?
We have all seen glamorous shows like Suits and Law & Order, but real legal work does not always involve highly-paid jobs and the drama of courtroom appearances. Not all attorneys make a lot of cash, and sometimes it can take years before you make court appearances.
Before deciding on a law career, ask someone to shadow them for a few days, allowing you to observe what lawyers do during a typical working day.
Question 3: Can you meet the detail-oriented demands of law school?
Think about all the studying involved and the test-oriented environment of law school. Of course, it doesn’t mean that you won’t make a good lawyer if you are terrible at taking tests. Still, law school is a highly-competitive environment where lots of presentations are required. You also need to learn lots of boring factual information, which you will need to apply later in your career.
If you think this type of environment suits you and you have the mental aptitude, then the scholarly climate of legal school will likely fit you perfectly.
Question 4: Do you understand the structure of the legal community?
Law school does not come without challenges and barriers. These include a lack of ethnic and socio-economic diversity (lots of caucasian males are lawyers) and a high intake of women students that then fizzles out after five years in a law firm (60% of female students drops to less than 20% of women associates).
Being happy in an environment is essential, so if you have the tools to fight the challenges you will face, you have what it takes to enjoy the law.
Question 5: Are you open to several practice areas?
Nearly most lawyers practice in a different area to the one they had in mind when entering law school. Therefore, if you have a specific legal area in mind and don’t want to deviate from it, the tough job market may make it difficult to reach your dream. The best way to grow a legal career is to first complete your studies before deciding where there is a greater demand for you to work. Being open-minded, you are more likely to end up somewhere where you are less miserable and more likely to make money.
However, the law is about helping people. Therefore, whether you become a defense lawyer, corporate lawyer, or criminal prosecutor, if it’s people you want to help, you will be doing whatever type of legal work you can to help them.
The time required to become a lawyer is three years of schooling and a year of articling before you can apply to work somewhere unless you want to do a Master’s degree. Of course, the cost of law school is never a deterrent to someone who loves the law, but it is best to consider your finances and how long it will take you to pay for your studies.
Finally, taking the bar exam requires hours of studying and commitment, so passion plays a significant role in law studies. If you are still sure it is what you want to do after answering all the above questions, you are ready to commit yourself to legal studies and help your fellow humans with their legal needs once finished.