';}else{echo'De Novo: Staying In and Dropping Out and Worth a Post? and Maybe Not';}?>

March 22, 2004

Staying In and Dropping Out and Worth a Post? and Maybe Not

by Jeremy Blachman

Scheherazade Fowler, who contributed to the symposium last week, links to us in a post where she responds to a search engine inquiry asking, "Why should I stay in law school" that found her website.

She credits the symposium with pointing out that there's a difference between being in law school and being a lawyer. I think that's fair. At minimum, it showed that lawyers do different stuff -- teach, practice, write, and (from one commenter) judge -- and that law school doesn't necessarily prepare people all that completely for being a lawyer, if they go into practice.

If I was contemplating dropping out of law school (which I'm not), I suppose what would talk me out of it would be seeing that light at the end of the tunnel (not that one): someone who's doing something I wish I could end up doing, who happens to have a law degree. But, if I really wanted to drop out, I suppose I'd look for someone who's doing something I wish I could end up doing, who doesn't have a law degree. Or, even better, who dropped out of law school.

Actually, that's made me curious. A quick Google search finds me nothing comprehensive, but these interesting results:

Al Gore dropped out of law school.

Paul Simon dropped out of law school.

The writer/director of "Two Weeks Notice" and "Miss Congeniality" dropped out of law school.

"Adam dropped out of law school to follow his heart. He landed at the Teva Learning Center, a program in Western Connecticut that teaches the integration of Judaism, Ecology and Environmental Activism."

and, finally:

"Anne dropped out of law school, renounced all of her material goods and went to live with her parents at the nudist colony."

That last one -- I kid you not -- is from a law school exam hypothetical. I don't know if that makes it funnier or less funny.

Anyway, for anyone thinking about it: you probably shouldn't drop out of law school unless you've really got something better to do. All that money and time down the drain -- at least if you stick it out you get a degree that has some value. Just my two cents. I dunno.

March 22, 2004 12:22 PM | TrackBack

Although technically not a drop out, Robert H. Jackson only attended one-year of law school and look where he ended up.

Posted by: Brian at March 22, 2004 01:09 PM

I wonder if Anne really dropped out, or instead was forced out after continually showing up to her classes in the nude.

Posted by: Sean S at March 22, 2004 02:07 PM

Sorry for my ignorance, but who the hell is Anne, does she have a last name or something?, thanks for anyone in advance because my curiosity is killing me.

visit my cool website :)

Posted by: Iysam @1 at March 22, 2004 05:17 PM


Anne is a character in a law school exam that Jeremy found on the internet. It seems she dropped out of law school, then dropped her clothes and re-connected with her parents in a nudist colony.

Some professors actually do have a decent sense of humor. :)

Posted by: Sean S at March 22, 2004 10:41 PM

Paul Simon the Senator or Paul Simon the singer/ songwriter?

Posted by: PG at March 23, 2004 01:32 PM


Posted by: Jeremy at March 23, 2004 07:28 PM

Laura Walker of the University of Hull dropped out of law school after coming top of her class in year 2. It seemed to screw her up when she was told off by their student director for leaving their mooting module. The conservation involved saying 'so what' to her Father's suicide. Plus telling her in a sharp and agressive manner that she would be a better person if she did it, then not allowing her to re join.

Posted by: Hello world at May 13, 2005 10:10 AM

Law was the passion in her life, the trouble and shit stirred up from her refusal to take part in their Telders as a module with students with no mooting experience sent her to breaking point.

Anyone who wants to give laura a chance, go for it.

Posted by: Hello World at May 13, 2005 10:14 AM

Sure but there was more to it than that, I agree the position of the uni was arsey, it was so obvious she was there to bring others up

Posted by: SH at May 24, 2005 02:52 PM

I am a first year law student, it's been two days and I just cant stand it, I want to leave so bad but my heart tells me to stay I dont know what I should do I am constantly worried and on the verge of tears any suggestions please let me know.

Posted by: Nate at August 18, 2005 02:31 PM

I've been in law school for two days as well and i've been constantly crying. The work is crazy, which is expected of course, but on top of that no one is that friendly, and now I'm not even sure I want to be a lawyer, but I don't know what else to do! I know I should stay, and my parents would kill me if I dropped out. I just feel so alone right now!

Posted by: beth at August 23, 2005 06:22 PM

I was a second year law student. I dropped out in August. For you 1L's who are thinking about dropping it, that's the point of law school. Every week you will question whether or not you want to stay there. It's the weed out process. I hated it too. Most lawyers hated law school too, but they love being lawyers. I wouldn't suggest that you drop out unless you have a back-up plan of doing something that YOU (not Mommy and Daddy) really LOVE doing. For me, I love medicine. I hate Law and Order and Court TV. I went to law school b/c I was too chicken to go to medical school. Law Admissions are WAAAYYY easier. I watch ER for crying out loud. I could sit at home for a weekend and watch Trauma life in the ER, plastic surgery or ER reruns and have a damn good time. So, I have a passion and now I'm starting all over again, (taking classes, studying for MCATs). If you're not sure what you want to do and your law school is not too terribly expensive, stay there. There's lots of things that you can do with a law degree. But, if you know there's something else that you would love to do-- banking, counseling, medicine, teaching etc...--then do it.
Hope this helps someone.
Good Luck

Posted by: Nicole at September 20, 2005 12:28 AM

Well I was just randomly googling this very thing and came upon this site. I am a second year and I am dropping out of law school. Like the last poster, I am going to do what I LOVE- not what mommy and daddy love. I hated law school from day one and I am sick of hating my life on my own dime. I am studying for the GRE's and am going to grad school for public administration. I just cannot stand the law school world.

Posted by: Sarah Snik at November 14, 2005 09:46 PM

Well I made it through and I hated it from the beginning of second semester on out. I hated it so much I went both summers as well to get it over with quicker, I had a brief resurrection in interest when externing for a local judge but it quickly faded when class started back. I've been practicing for 3 years now and I still hate it, I don’t hate my firm, I've actually got a great firm environment, moderately interesting work and reasonable pay, but its not fulfilling, it's not meaningful... maybe people doing state work or nonprofit policy type jobs would have a different experience but I've done Plaintiff's PI/civil rights/labor work and Defense PI/Construction Defect/Insurance Defense work and it's all just plain dumb to be blunt. The best thing i can say about my career is that I more often find myself tolerating it rather then hating it, if becoming complacent can be called a good thing. Most of the people you deal with on the other side of the v. are consistently horribly petty and fight more over a few pennies from a carrier then they would to save the lives of ten million unborn babies. Anyone that asks me about this subject, I tell them to “just say NO to law school,” the education is fine as far as being a well rounded member of the electorate goes but anyone who wants to save the world one case at a time is delusional at best about what is possible in the third branch of government. Around the third time someone asks me about it I'll give them the low down on how to survive if they insist on going. If you're content to be a brick in the wall have at it, otherwise I'd say do what you have to do to pay off bills and constantly be working on an exit strategy... but then I never wanted to be an attorney, I always wanted to get into government service and a law degree appeared to be a ticket to that at one point, not so anymore.

Posted by: jason at December 27, 2005 08:27 PM

First off, I appreciate all the personal experiences shared at this site. I am seriously contemplating leaving law school, as I feel I am just spinning my wheels here. After working as a children's social worker for 11 years, I decided in July 2004 to leave my employment and attend an evening law school 80 miles away from home. After hanging in there for 1L, I was informed in May 2005 I was academically ineligible to continue. That was cool, I gave it my best shot and could return to my job. But no, family and friends all came forward and told me to hang in there. So, I decided to attend an online university and repeat 1L. In my opinion, this school, although unaccredited but makes me eligible to take the bar exam in California, is far superior to the lame non-ABA, state accredited school I flunked out of last year. However, I realize talking to an employer at 41 years old with an online degree isn't likely to cut it in that wonderfully arrogant world of law. Not to mention, the money, time and effort are so not worth it to me. The salary, although potentially lucrative, is no guarantee for happiness. In all honesty, I actually miss my $55,000 per year job, the annual vacation to Hawaii and the Caribbean, the 8-5 hours, my home almost paid off and the promise of a retirement. The law students I saw last year in 3L getting ready for the bar walked around like hollow-eyed zombies. No thanks, man. It just ain't worth it to me to be miserable in something I'm not even sure I want to do. So for those of you going for mommy and daddy, DON'T DO IT!!!! Only go if you are sure you can make the committment and are willing to work your ass off at the potential expense of your mental and physical health. This experience just brought back memories of how I felt towards the end of undergrad when I couldn't wait to get the hell out and go forth and make my own money.

Posted by: Dan at December 28, 2005 10:30 AM

I'm happy to see it's not just me. I'm a 1L starting my second semester. I used to be a happy person, adn now I just hate waking up every morning. Nothing has made me as miserable as law school. I just wanted to help people, do international work. I'm slowly realizing the loans that I'm accumulating will not let me do what I want to do once I finish. On top of that, the school I'm going to is not ranked well at all, so I have no faith the name will take me very far. The problem is, I don't have an alternative. I know I want to do do government work abroad, but that's about it. My bachelors and masters are from high ranked schools, and I constantly sit and wonder, what the hell am I doing here? I feel as though I'm putting myself through this and I don't know why. My family is supportive of any decision I make. I've decided to at least finish my first year, thinking that I'm just young and everyone hates their first year. Any suggestions on other steps I should take to help me make a decision?

Posted by: naina at January 3, 2006 01:32 AM

naina- i am in the exact same position as you. Literally. Although what I want to do is television production. I was going to law school to get the education and then get a job I really wanted. But today I was thinking about it and I said: a) i dont want to be a lawyer (and thats all they drill you with in law school), and b) i HATE law school. Sure, some days are inspiring or interesting, but all in all, I am unhappy and want to work. My suggestion is start looking for jobs in what you really want to do; search the internet, even apply for some. If you find an opportunity that seems better than law school or if you discover that there is a job that is exactly what you want and that you would rather spend you life pursuing that, then GET OUT of school. Now, this is what I am doing right now, and i am wondering as well if it really makes a difference to stay in for the rest of the year. SO, if you dont want to be a lawyer and you will finish school with tons of loans but no big law firm to hire you and help pay them- maybe leaving is the best thing. Thats just my thought.

Posted by: Paloma at January 5, 2006 01:58 PM

The fact that I am up at 9:45 looking at "I want to drop out of law school" post is probably a good indicator I have reservations about my second semester as a IL.

I am 36 years old, have a Masters in Education, teach full time and thought I would like to pursue a law degree. What the heck was I thinking? Is it really possible to work full time, have two children, and go to law school? Is it worth the money and the time? I am afraid that the answer that keeps coming up is "no" but I am afraid that if I quit I will reqret it. It doesn't help that this part time program who just received their ABA acc. seems to not know what the heck they are doing. Teachers seem to make up things from week to week and may be good attorneys but seriously need help in the "learning to teach" area. I mean... this is now 2006. There are tried and true research based methods of working with adult learners...of course...it seems only one of my professors understands this. Anway...I am glad I found this site.... ;0) I will keep you posted on what I have decided to do.

Posted by: Carmen at January 7, 2006 09:51 AM

I appreciate the fact that so many people posted thoughts that I have been having myself. Although I enjoy the substantive material that has made up this course of study, I am continually frustrated by the testing process. Moreover, despite the fact that I understand the need for some sort of ranking hierarchy, forced curves are inane. As a 1L who is getting his ass kicked despite herculean effort, I am beginning to look into what other options I have at this point.
On the other hand, I have not gotten this far in my life by quitting when things get difficult. And I've always been hard-headed. I'm going to stick with this as long as I can. Let Them do their worst. If it doesn't work out, at least I can say that I did my best. 'Nuff said.
Thanks for the opportunity to speak my mind.

Posted by: Craig at January 24, 2006 01:22 AM

I am a second semester 1L I posted a comment earlier regarding my reservations about being in law school, my 1st semester and looking back I realized how scared and dis-interested I was in the field. Law school is something that makes sense to no one while they are in school, and complete sense to those who are out of school. Trust me I know it is a difficult road, I was placed on academic probation from my 1st semester and working hard to improve my grades, but I guess when you really think about it in terms of the final benefit you derive from being in law school its not that bad and may be fulfilling one day. To all of those looking to drop out, really think about it consider all of your options before dropping out, for instance if you live away from home try transferring to school closer to your friends and family and if you are having difficulties learning the material speak to a counselor. Wish all of u luck!

Posted by: dylon at February 7, 2006 01:54 PM

I've practiced law for 25 years. I can tell you that a lot of lawyers are depressed and a greater percentage than the general population have substance abuse problems.

It's a difficult job. Much more difficult than most other professions. The reason it's more difficult is that the issues you deal with are huge and you have very little control over outcomes. You have to be able to let go of the result and not beat yourself up if it doesn't work out for a client if YOU have done your best.

You also need to realize that somebody loses every time a case goes to trial. When a case settles, it's mostly because the litigants decide they hate their lawyers more than they hate each other. More often than is fair, you will be the reason, in your client's mind, if the outcome is not favorable.

I can tell you that practicing law is nothing like law school. Whether or not you like law school won't predict whether you like to practice law. I actually kind of liked the intellectual challenge of law school, but there isn't a lot of intellectual challenge practicing law, it's mostly about pushing paper and cutting deals.

You also have to remember that there are many ways to practice law, and they are completely different. Working in big firms is soul-sucking unless you make partner. Working in small firms is better, but with small firms there are more personality issues.

I think that my experience shows this: If you have a fairly rigid, obsessive-compulsive personality; If you have a thick skin; If you don't spend a lot of time reflecting on the meaning of life, and if you are the type of person who doesn't blame yourself when things go wrong, you'll probably like practicing law.

If you feel bad when things don't work out for people, if you tend to internalize blame if something bad happens on your watch, if you get your feelings hurt when someone is mean to you, or if you are not highly organized --RUN -- you'll hate practicing law.

That's my 2 cents from someone who's been there. Hope it helps.

Posted by: Virginia at February 8, 2006 05:36 PM

If you are not organized you shouldn't be a lawyer? That's no good for me.

Posted by: jamesthomas at February 20, 2006 04:00 PM

Well... its 8 o'clock, and i have an appellate brief due in 13 hours. It must be some indication of how I am feeling that i stumbled on this board. I like law school, just not the mentality of the people. The competitiveness and aggression are unreal.
Wait, i dont like law school. I dont wanna be a lawyer. But I am here cause i got an offer at a great school. Is there any benefit to having a top-tier law degree and no desire to practice? help.

Posted by: 1L at February 20, 2006 08:09 PM

Well most of these comments are from US lawyers / law students. I'm from England, am 26, have a degree in English and Spanish and a postgraduate in Advertising & Marketing Communications. I've been in full time employment now for four years and work as a senior account executive for the world's largest privately owned global PR Agency. What does this have to do with this board you say? Well I've decided it isn't enough. Half of what I do bores me. It doesn't feel important. It's difficult to measure the results of PR, but the outcome of any verdict offers tangible results, favourable or not.

I'm starting what is called in the UK a law conversion part time in September. This is for graduates who have a non-law degree and will enable me to train as a lawyer. I plan to apply to firms that specialise in dealing with media companies so I can employ my professional background.

What I want to stress most is that I don't mind the law profession sucking my blood if they pay me for it. PR in England does not pay as much as the US and becoming a lawyer opens up a whole new world - it will help me break through the 'PR earning ceiling' that I am subject to. But I am not 100% sure. Heck, I wouldn't be reading this board if I was.

I know it will be hard and there are no guarantees. And I am not driven solely by material ambitions. But I am 26, married with a mortgage and I have plans for my partner and our future and law will open up the world so we can have choices. I work hard and late and don't bring home a pay check that reflects that. So although I hear what you say about doing something you love and dropping out of law, I would say I would love to support my family in the best way I can and provide them with the greater security a life in law would give us.

Students who have not yet been out in the real world need to know that once they leave home, life is expensive, even just to get by. If you find yourself doing secretarial work and counting your pennies when you go to the supermarket, you’ll regret leaving behind the opportunity you had to become a lawyer.

That's my line on things. Would he good to hear from more UK law students / lawyers (or solicitors as we call them here) who are studying for the GDL, LPC or are on a training course.

Posted by: Matt at February 22, 2006 07:44 AM

Law school is the worst. I'm graduating in May and have hated nearly every minute of it, even though I did really well. Half of the people are loud, arrogant, poorly-socialized jerks. (Hint: If you find yourself talking all the time in class, it's not that you're brilliant or smarter than everyone else, it's that nobody else is quite as shameless. Shut up and listen for a change. You might learn something.) There is no sense of community; most people are jealous of your accomplishments rather than happy for you. (Hint: It's not necessarily because you decided in your head that you didn't really want the clerkship that I got it. Maybe . . . gasp . . . I have things to offer, too.) Law school IS terrible. Anyone worth anything hates it. But at the end of the day, no one can ever take your education away from you. Stick it out. Endure the pain. In three years, you're nearly a lawyer. That amount of time is a pretty small investment in order to be a smarter, more analytical, more educated person. Best of luck!

Posted by: Michelle at February 22, 2006 04:43 PM

I'm in second term, first year at a law school in Canada. I love the law and am inspired on monday, tuesday I hate everything about the process, wednesday I have a great lecture, thursday I think about the terrible paper pushing work I will be forced into to pay back my loan and on Friday I look forward to a weekend not thinking about the law. I'm like everyone on this post, I don't know which way is up. Its so hard to get into law school that i can't imagine dropping out where someone would have stayed in and wasting a spot. I can't imagine turning away from an opportunity for stability for some ideal. But I think that I'm going to. I've already paid and I"m sticking it out until the end of the term. But I will take a long hard look at any alternative during the summer. I really appreciate the comment from Virginia. I am: an idealist, who can't stand seeing bad things happen to good people, I take things to heart and I"m semi-organised. I also see others suffer greatly in law jobs and I often wonder why I forgot that during the application process as I rationalised the dollars and infuence that would be my great payoff. It is a lesson taught at the cost of 1 year of my life, but the lesson I can say I've earned from earlier years is to have the courage to follow your dreams. I hope that helps anyone who is in the same boat as me.

Posted by: James at March 8, 2006 12:34 PM

I see I am not alone. I am a second semester, 1L running the risk of failing out. As for my school, it does not issue mid-term grades, so the grades I did receive on my mid-terms did not hurt me, in terms of my academic status, however, my grades surely did not help me.

With that being said, even though it is mid-March, there doesn't come a day when I want to withdraw completely. Some may consider such a thought wasteful as I have already expended a full-year's worth of tuition and living expenses. For me, however, the thought continues to brew in my mind as I would much rather withdraw, with no grades, then withdraw with under a 2.0 (or slightly above a 2.0), with Ds attached to my transcript.

All in all, for anyone contemplating law school, I urge you to think twice about your decision. As previous posts indicate, law school is a different beast from undergraduate and graduate school. The level of competition--even if "healthy"--is extreme, the people are arrogant, conceited, and condescending. Not to mention, law school is an institution of higher learning which "prepares" you for the law, not a college where one is encouraged to think outside the box and challenge authority. Finally, it is much too expensive, if you are a prospective law school candidate who knows you will not be awarded a scholarship.

If I could do it all over again, I would pursue a PhD. I always thought law school would be the right path; a path filled with success, both financially and socially. What I did not expect is feeling miserable, drained, and always running an unwinnable race, only to achieve the bottom 25 percent of the class.

Best to all!

Posted by: James at March 14, 2006 01:03 PM

I currently attend the top law school in the country -- yes, students from the "other" top law school in the country may have problems with this statement :-). I just finished first year. Like another poster to this thread, I too decided to go to law school because it seemed easier and less demanding than going to med school. From the first day of law school, I have regretted my decision. I don't really know how I would even bring it up with my parents that I was thinking about leaving. On top of my really not wanting to be at law school, I was recently offered my medically-related dream job making 85K+ per year to start involving work in an area of medicine that I've been interested in since I was in undergrad. I'm really torn. On the one hand I feel a sense of responsibilty to finish what I started and on the other hand I feel as if I'm in law school for all the wrong reasons. I guess I have some time over the summer to think about it. :-(

Posted by: Mike at June 7, 2006 02:23 AM

Mike, it sounds like you should leave law school and take the job. If you're too scared to burn the bridge entirely, tell your school that you need to take a year off for "personal reasons." If the medical dream job turns out to be not-so-great and you find out that you want to do something where a JD would be useful, you can go back to the law school for another two years.

Posted by: PG at June 7, 2006 11:33 AM

Glad I found this forum, even though it's the 11th hour for me. I have about 2 days to decide whether or not to go to a 3rd-tier law school in the midwest. Unlike many posters, my parents think I'm crazy. Maybe I am. I'm 42, married with a child on the way. Already in debt $40,000 from my Phd in music. I admit it--after years of trying to get a job in academia or with a symphony orchestra, it seems like law school offers the best possibilities. But I have no idea what I would want to do. I'm hoping something will present itself. I've been doing an internship with the DA, which has been really interesting, but I work from 9-12 a couple of days a week. Could I really stand to run around like a chicken on crack full-time like the DAs I work for? Digging in the dirt of human filth for what would be peanuts? (One DA has been working on me for months to forget law schooI. He keeps asking "and you want to make your life worse because....?" Working for a large firm? There's no way. I haven't met anyone who did it and liked it for a minute.
I would most likely die before I paid off my loans--there would be no way except a 30-year loan repayment and I'd be almost 80. With interest and lost wages, I figure the real cost would be something like $300,000. After having been through college, a conservatory, masters and doctorate, I'm very skeptical of the education racket. It seem like grad schools, especially in the humanities, could care less about their grads getting jobs. I imagine that law schools are no different. They need warm bodies and will fudge the placement figures wherever necessary. I also wonder why anyone (like me) would go to a private school, especially a 3rd tier. The tuition is so high that it seems a rip-off. The tuition at many state schools is under $10,000. Why should someone pay $25,000 at a private school?
It may seem I've talked myself out of it, but I've been agonizing for a year. I just haven't been able to let go. Maybe if there were any possibilities at all in my own field...
Maybe I've just been flattered by the $5000 scholarship. Ok, but standard federal loans still don't cover the remainder. And when I think about the promissory note, I get a huge stomach ache.

If anyone reads this and has any insight--especially older students who went back and either found nirvana or just another
form of hell, I'd like to hear about it.

Posted by: Scott at July 9, 2006 03:12 AM

reading this stuff makes me seriously sick. I too have suffered some depression after finishing my first year of law school. By the grace of god, I got into a good state school as a trasnfer which is going to cost me 1/3 the cost of attending my third teir private school, which in all honesty may have been a mistaek (but now I am at a state school, so things are looking up I guess). Anyways, I have felt all of the feelings put on this post. Seriosuly, the thing that everyboyd seems to be grappling with is if law school is worth it. It costs so damn much, for a big question mark. Will it pay off? Many law people are from the affluent upper class. They are not paying the bills, and those loans taken out are going to be paid off by thier parents. That being said, if you come from the lower or middle class, beware. This was my situation. I am paying for 100% of my education. At the private school I attended, I would have been 130 K in the whole. Now, I may be able to get out only 70-75K in debt, which is an enormous difference. There was a post here about the real world, expenses, and having and supporting a family. This is why I went to law school. I grew up in a single parent family, and we struggled like all hell to keep a humble home and a car. If other family members had not stepped in, College may not have even been an option for me, nevermind an oppertunity to obtain a law degree(and now from a top 50 teir one public school seems to me to be a blessing I wouldnt have dreamed of). I have done the numbers. It is very possible, (even with a 70-75K debt, and 3 years off from working) you may make 2-3 times as much as you would with a BA in business (unless you want to work in NYC, you can make inflated figures obviosuly). I guess what I am trying to say is that the world is tough. A college degree is nothing anymore. you may mnake minimum wage coming out of college. I always wanted to be a teacher, I love kids, and it is such a fulfilling job. But the question I faced when deciding either law or teaching is can I accomplish my number one goal in life with a teaching degree? Can I support a wife, 2 kids, a mortgage, and the pressures of the world with a job that pays 30-40K? if you save every penny maybe. maybe not. it is a serious risk, and I dont think you will ever be "secure" if you want to live a nice life. I am just speaking my mind here, because there are people here that I think that I can relate to. I live on the outskirts of a seriously affluent town (not me) and nobody ever has these thoughts and conversations because thier parents buy thema porche and a house the minute they gradaute college debt free. I guess this post is not a repsonse to a specific post, or has one huge point. But yes law school does in many ways suck horribly. whe you are young, it is so hard to make these big life changing decisions, especially when you bare 100% of the risk of failure. I am going for it. I prety I will find a satisfying job that pays well enough so I can support a family one day. Everythign is a risk. hopefully this works out for all of us.
- Bobo

Posted by: Bobo S. at August 15, 2006 12:14 PM

I want to add something to my previous post. This is about parental pressures, and the educational system. MAny parents mean well, and they want thier children to go to law school, become prominent attorneys in an upperclass community, buy a nice house, and support thier children. They mean well, but as someboyd in the "MTV generation" you really have to think independenlty. Listen. Our parents grew up in a competely differnt world. It used to be you go to college, and if you do well, you go to law school, start at close to 6 figures, and live a wonderful life and never have to worry about money. There is a huge difference in today sworld then what was going on 30 years ago. 1) Substantial increase in competition, and increase in workload. Law school I honestly think is much harder to get into, and also it is much more competitive. Consequently, you are in for a much tougher ride then your parents could imagine. 2) Cost. It used to be you could work during the summer, maybe a bit over winter, and even if you could during the year, and have enough money to pay for that year's tuition bill. Thus, the cost of law school was nothing back then. this is the main issue that we shoudl eb concerned with. What parents fail to realize is the life changing impacts that law school will have. If you are paying all yourself, a private school may cost you 125 K!!! in debt. Another thing that parents dont realzie is that if you pay this over 20-30 years, over the life of the loan with interests this could be 250+ grand. Is that worth it?????? my god mom and dad, wake up. This will affect the time you can buy a house, get married, have children, etc. It is hard to think like this in your early 20's. There is so much pressure on us to go get an education. But what is really happening...beneath the warm welcome of a tour guide, and the "honor and prestige of having an advanced degree" and the wonderful feeling of having a nice almermata to associate with" is that the government is really screwing us....
this is what is going on.....
The government, from day one is brainwashing us. seriously. From elementary school on, we are encouraged to study hard, to one day go to a great college, and obtain a high level of education adn to be a smart and intelligent citizen who has an admirable and wonderful job. All through high school there is a huge stress on going to the best college possible, and then perhaps medical, law, or post graduate programs...and to get a great job. What they are doing is that they want us to be "Educated." they want us to go into debt. They want us to owe alot of money. They are making boat loads of money off of us. There is a reason why the only type of loan that you cannot discharge in bankrupcy proceedings are student loans. The Gov. now has you by the balls. It is really becoming that education is there to keep you ignorant and in debt. with all this mounting debt of those in the lower and middle classes especially, we have to work like all hell to repay the loan. this may take years and years. all this working makes it difficutl to keep up with teh world, to stop and smell the roses, to tap into what is really going on. we are economically efficient pawns of the government. It all begins from elementary school. this is my 2 cents.
Honestly, it makes the most economic sense (and you'd have a high quality of life) if you dropped out of high school at 16 and became a mechanic or electrician. you probably would make around 40K a year, but no debt, and instead of wasting your time in school, your making money. you also will have alot more time, and have to work less hours. But nobody ever says I want to be a highscool dropout and become a mechanic. the government wont let us want that with the "values" they are instilling on us and our children from day one. Education needs serious reform. IT is one of the root problems of our society.
- Bobo

Posted by: Bobo S. at August 18, 2006 11:51 AM

I went to medical school for 2 years and was failing classes so I was dismissed for academic reasons. I was thinking about applying to law school because the main reason I got into med school was to make my parents happy and basically parental pressures and I always wondered what it would be like to be a lawyer instead of a doctor but I am not sure I really want to be a lawyer either.

I can tell you every day I woke up in med school I was miserable and every night I would cry. When I worked in healthcare over the summer I didn't mind it as much and was interested, of course I wasn't working in a position with as much responsibility as a doctor or nurse, but seriously med school was horrible. Those of you thinking about dropping out of law school and going to med school, lemme tell you classes in medical school are 50X times harder than law school (I had many JD's in my med school class) and 100X times more miserable than law school from what my law school friends told me. My parents think I'm a failure because I am not a doctor like all of their friends' children and they think I am an embarrassment to the family but honestly I don't care anymore. I wish that music would pay well since I am interested and talented in music and it is a field I love but you can't really get a good paying job in music unless you are a genius or are just plain really really lucky. ARGH this is so hard. You are so right this isn't our parents generation and what worked for them will not work for us anymore. It is just not that simple. Both doctors and lawyers across the world are miserable with their career choices, how much they go into debt, and are all basically abusing alcohol and drugs. This is very sad and I wish I knew all of this when I was an undergrad but now I am $86,000+ in debt from med school and wishing I could just turn the clock back.

Posted by: Ana at September 23, 2006 06:50 PM

i am a first semester 1L. I hate every minute of law school. ALl the classes are boring. I started out working hard and hating it, then I crammed for midterms (ungraded) and did well (not spectacular, but not poorly either). I don't know what I would do if I left after the fist semester (other than start paying back the money I borrowed). I left my previous career and I hated that too, so I would start from square one. When I ask my fellow students how they feel about law school they ALL say "I LOVE my classes!" "its hard but fun". I don't think the material is difficult at all, I think its boring and the people behave like they are back in high school with the gossiping and back stabbing. its ridiculous! I have stopped reading cases, stopped taking notes in class, and I hope to be able to cram before finals (it worked for midterms). I made up my mind that if I fail even one final, I'll leave school and never look back. Sounds like a plan to me. Good luck fellow students!

Posted by: Fish at October 21, 2006 02:21 PM

I am a 1L in my second semester and am having the same feelings that many of you described: fear, dread, and worrying constantly. I always feel like "do I belong here"? All the students seem jealous and unfriendly except maybe one good friend I have made. Growing up I was always expected to be a lawyer or a doctor but I feel that if I were to give it up to pursue something else my parents may be a little nervous but hey its my life. The thing is I agree with someone else's statement that basically--tough shit. Law school is hard-there is no denying that-and if it was easy then everyone would do it. (I am trying to give myself a pep talk!) Honestly, sometimes I want to give it up and become an actress--people don't take me seriously bc I guess I am cute...I am not conceited I swear but its true. I had so much confidence and now that I am in law school and everyone is unfriendly and looking at me like I don't belong I feel so down. I hope I can muster up the motivation to keep going. At this point, I have to stay with it just to pay off those damn loans. The trick really is keeping your motivation up...and in law school that can be the toughest part of all.

Posted by: Steph at January 22, 2007 03:49 PM

I'm a second semester 1L who, like everyone else, gave enormous effort this past semester. Unlike many of you, however, I find myself in the bottom quartile at school.

It's back-biting and harsh, but I expected that. What I didn't expect was to do poorly, be miserable and miss my old job/friends, vacations and LIFE so much.
But everyone hates their 1L experience, right?

I miss my (paltry) $50K teaching job and my (healthy) 3 months off each year. I miss doing good for those who need it.

I wanted to become a LS prof. But that's out b/c of grades. so now everything is in the balance!

I actually received a letter from my school saying that about half of the students with my first semester profile are dismissed after the first year. It also offered to return my tuition $$ for this semester if I choose to drop out. Talk about sending a challenge and a carrot!

Everyone thinks I should be a lawyer: my spouse, family, friends. It just fits well into their vision of me. Hell, it fits into my vision of myself. But I'm just not sure I want to work my ass off and sacrifice my personal, emotional and financial health only to come out of school deeper in debt than I've ever been, 35 years old and boxed in by class rank such that many of the choices I went to law school in order to have will be erased for the next several years.

This board is a good find b/c I know others are twisiting in the wind with me and being honest about it.

BUt that letter....
Like someone else on this board said, I don't know which way is up!

Posted by: Hoyas at February 6, 2007 12:14 PM

I can definitely relate to how everyone on this board is feeling. It's 7:04 a.m. & I am supposed to be getting ready for my 8:20 class, but I'm not. I'm on this board, which tells a whole lot. I'm a 2nd semester law student (1L) who has been seriously contemplating dropping out of law school for months now. I stuck it out through the 1st semester and to my surpise, got pretty decent grades almost making the Dean's List. I am in lawschool on a full-tuition scholarship. All I have to take out loans for are living expenses. The work is very demanding, as I am very sure everyone on this board knows, but I know I can do it. But is it worth it? That is the million dollar question. I don't think it is.

I am more stressed, lonely, depressed, unhappy, and down right miserable than I have ever been in my entire life. It got so bad that when I would get out of school @ noon on Friday I would be thinking of how I was dreading school on Monday. The people I attend school with are so unfriendly, loud, obnoxious, cold, & competitive that it makes my stomach turn to think that people can be that way. I came to lawschool with the mentality that I would use my law degree to save the world 1 case @ a time. That's just not reality.

My desire is more toward helping people. Not just helping people win a case, but helping those who have no food to eat, no job, no money, helping families, & teenagers, and young children. I have a warm, friendly heart and I can't see myself doing something where I won't have a significant impact on someone's life. I've stayed in lawschool this long because I've been trying to live up to other's expectations of me. I know that there were a lot of people who applied to lawschool & didn't get in & some who got in but didn't get a scholarship & even more who got in but didn't make the grades to stay. I not only got in but got a scholarship & managed to make decent grades so I should be happy right? I I should be grateful right? Wrong. It is my life, and they are not the ones who are unhappy. It's me. So I have do what's in my best interest. Today, I woke up & decided that I'm going to take charge of my own life & live it the way I want to & not based off of what other people want (mom & dad included). So, I'm leaving.

I've decided that I am dropping out to pursue my master's degree in social work, which is what my bachelor's degree is in. It's my passion. Luckily, the school I'm attending also has a master's program in social work, so I won't have to physically relocate but just move to a different part of campus. I can do the advanced standing program in social work and be done in a year.

I would rather get out now, than to become a 2L, 3L or even worst, an attorney for a number of years and still feel this way. I would also rather make $40k & be happy than $85k & be miserable, stressed, depresseed, & so overworked that I can't even enjoy it.

Posted by: Elizandria at February 20, 2007 08:07 AM

I am a second year at a decent law school. I have a pretty decent scholarship, and I more or less only have to take out loans for living expenses.

I finished in the bottom quarter of my class at the end of my first year. I had a summer job at a state agency that was okay, and they liked my work. It was probably at this point that I decided that I didn't want to be a lawyer.

So, I also took some summer classes, and I did really well. It was then that I came up with Juking-the-stats plan. It goes as follows.

First, take seminars, summer courses, or anything that is not curved and helps your GPA. Second, take classes with adjuncts. They are much nicer than most professors, and they recognize that the curve and grading in general is garbage. Third, take as many pass/fail courses as possible. You can blow off the pass fail courses cause you really just need to attend to get that pass on your transcript. So, take a bunch of pass/fails and a couple non-curved, adjunt-taught seminars. Put your effort into the seminars. At the end of the semester, you should have a bunch of passes and good/decent grades from the seminars. It's easier to get a 3.7 this way than to try to get it out of Secured Transactions with some tenured dick, a bunch of law review people, and the curve. Trust me. My GPA and class ranking have shot up like a rocket (Top 1/3 now). And, I only do about two/three hours of law stuff per week tops. I don't read, and I sure as hell have no clue how to write a case note or brief or a memo.

I also decided to go to medical school. I am using my law school scholarship to finish off my premed courses while in law school. I plan on taking the MCAT in the fall after I graduate and applying then.

If you are thinking about law school, just don't do it. It's a huge waste of time.

Posted by: JK at February 28, 2007 01:36 PM

I always thought that I wanted to be a lawyer. I can remember being 12ish and telling people that. In college, and for the 2 years thereafter, I worked for a criminal attorney and adored it, but I was basically his secretary.
Now I'm a 1L in my 2nd semester at a top 30 school, and I cry almost daily. I wanted to leave last semester but decided that I would wait and see how I did. I did really well--ranked in the top 5% in my class--and hence I decided to stay. But this semester is already promising to yield grades which won't be as nice as last semester's. I have gotten a "B," which is equal to a 3.0, in a uncurved writing class taught by an adjunct (I vehemently disagree with another poster that these classes are easier--she doesn't teach us how produce good briefs/memos, and there's no way we could have really known how before her class, but then grades on what we, somehow, magically should have known to produce). And beyond that, and more importantly, I still hate law school. I hate every damn second of it. I hate running around like a chicken with my head cut off--I really just don't fell like that is what life is supposed to be about.
My fiancee has a high school dipolma (and a couple of semesters of community college) and is a waiter at a fine dining restaurant. He makes about $50K and loves his job and his life, and doesn't have any intention of changing jobs or going back to school. People look down their noses at me when I tell them this, but he's just as smart as me, if not smarter. Maybe he just figured out this whole education game before being sucked into it's vortex.
I'm strongly considering dropping out and going to nursing school. There is a program at the school I am currently attending that allows you to get your BA in Nursing in 18 mths. But I'm $20,000 in debt from law school....
I'm really very thin-skinned. I cry when people are really mean to me. I've already cried in front of a Professor (that adjunct I mentioned before) here at the Law School. I came to Law School because I wanted to help people, but I can't help people if I hate my own life and/or am not a competent attorney. I need to make this decision by sometime this summer, but I don't know how. I'm afraid to quit, but I think I'm more afraid of what my life will be if I stay. My mom is a nurse, and I know that they can do really well money-wise, with excellent hours. What should I do? Please help!!!! Oh yeah, and thank god for finding this post...no one else in my life (including other law students) seems to understand how I am feeling right now.

Posted by: Sasha at March 22, 2007 08:06 PM

I have posted on and off over the last year. I am finishing my second year in law school now, and I can see the good side and bad side to law school...multiple mircales have happened to me; if they did not happen, I would be fucked. I think that I should share them, somewhat repeating what I said above...I started at a tier 3 private school with some scholarship. cost was 30K + living expenses. I worked for 1 year and put some money down for tuirtion...anywyas...for 2L year, the tier 3 private school cut my scholarship, and raised tution 5 G's. With living expenses, Id be paying 50 G's over 2 years. that is 100 G's in debt over 2 years of law school I took out 20 for year 1. so i would be 120K in debt from law school (not including undergrad). this is a tough fate....I thank g-d every day that i was not forced to endure this horrid life of debt. I could not imagine waking up every morning in that situation. I transfered to a tier 1 public school taht costs 15 G's and moved back home. (no expenses for living). Then, if that was not a miracle enough, this school waived half of my tution for academic/need base scholarship. i now pay 7,500$ total with living expenses for the next 2 years. so 15 G's, as opposed to 100G's. I saved 85 G's. with this degree i am now getting, i also got a great summer associate ship job which i will bank 10 G's with possible wokr opportunity through 3L year. thus i will not even be taking out loans next year.....
If i had no ttransfered, and had not got a summer assocaite position, I woul dhave been 120-125K debt from law school in a competitive legal market.
NOw, with this summer associate job, I should be about 30K for law school if all goes well. this is almost a 100 G swing. I am also keeping my fingers crossed for a 7000 writing compeittion scholarship....
Anyways, my point is that law school, finances are the real obstacle. I turned the wrong decision into the right one. I took an enormous risk, which i executed somehow. 1/million chances. my advice to anybody thinking of law, BEWARE. you must htink practically. debt is a huge obstacle. be careful, look at the above 2 situations. be careful. be careful. be careful. dont listen to your parents that all lawyers make money. they dont. many do. some dont. beware.

Posted by: bobo at March 28, 2007 05:24 PM

Can someone give me some idea as to whether or not hating law school reflects realistically on whether or not you would hate the practice of law?

Posted by: S at April 2, 2007 10:50 PM

adding onto the post by JK, i think there is alot of truth to that...one thing I also am doing/have done that works: Take classes that are notorious for being taken p/f. at my school everybody takes admin and conflicts p/f. take those clases, but dont take them p/f. try hard. the curve is low. it is easy to get the A. I just got 2 cali awards, and this is the only reason. HA. the system can be played.

Posted by: bob at April 4, 2007 05:42 PM

adding onto the post by JK, i think there is alot of truth to that...one thing I also am doing/have done that works: Take classes that are notorious for being taken p/f. at my school everybody takes admin and conflicts p/f. take those clases, but dont take them p/f. try hard. the curve is low. it is easy to get the A. I just got 2 cali awards, and this is the only reason. HA. the system can be played.

Posted by: Bobo at April 4, 2007 05:43 PM

I also want to add that students should try to do study abroad programs. I went abroad, learned absolutely nothing, and picked up some pass-fail law credits. I should add that I did learn quite a bit about foreign beer.

Why do this? Cause the law school will pay for you to "study" in that foreign country.

totally worth it.

Posted by: JK at April 14, 2007 08:18 PM

Alas...there are no pass fail classes at my school. And my school doesn't pay you to study abroad--you pay for tuition as you would for a normal summer session at the law school PLUS all expenses. From what I've heard, it actually winds up being rather costly. I envy those of you with these options. Maybe I should transfer. Oh yeah..I picked a well ranked state school with cheap tuition. Maybe not.

Posted by: S at April 23, 2007 07:37 PM

This is quite an interesting blog. I suppose that I find myself kind of lucky that I've stumbled onto this website. I will be a junior in the fall 2007 semester and I have wanted to be a lawyer since I was a junior in high school. Now that i read this, I would be stupid to say that i wasn't at least a little worried. I cannot believe that people hate law school so much; and everyone seems to be sensible in their insights, so really i guess i need to sit down and really think if this is the best decision for me. I hava a few factors that i need to think about: I may have a child on the way, so it appears that I really need to go now, not just for me, but for my fiance and my potential child. Secondly, my major is philosophy and a minor in criminal justice, and I can't really get a good job with a bachelor degree in philosophy. Thirdly, the way everyone is talking on this blog, it seems like while you guys were in law school, you contemplated suicided at least twice a week. So when i look at my situation, its like its inevitable that i will set foot in law school. But my question is is EVERY LAW SCHOOL LIKE THIS??? My dream law school would be University of Pennsylvania. Any comments??

Posted by: Give Israel to its true heirs: The Slaves of the New World at May 2, 2007 09:17 PM

The good ones are. If you want to go to U of P, get ready for the suicidal thoughts, especially if you are at all predisposed to getting stressed out. Give Israel, can you change your major? I wanted to be a lawyer my whole life too, and now I really hate it. But honestly, ask yourself these questions: (1) are you good at organizing and condensing large amounts of material? (2) can you read and comprehend complex material quickly--very quickly? (3) are you capable of studying 24/7? (4) can you afford law school, especially if you find out it isn't for you, or you find that your grades are bad, and you can only get a job in the public interest sector (average starting salaries which, by the way, are around $30,000). Particularly if you are about to have a kid, or want to maintain a relationship with your fiancee (where you can talk to him now and then) DON'T GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Save yourself!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: S at May 4, 2007 01:30 AM

Dear S,
Thank You for that insight. Firstly I am the man and she's about to have my child (LOL!!! Good Mix up!!) Secondly, I am great at reading and comprehending material very quickly,I am the youngest guy in all my classes and still hold the top spot. As for organizing, I will have to develop those skills quickly, or i will spiral quickly. I am not USED to studying 24/7 but I can get USED TO DOING IT. I deal with stress better than anyone i know. At this point it is too late to change majors, seeing that my university recommended that anyone who is a pre-law major also major in philosophy.

One thing is that law schools PISS ME OFF!! They speak of how much better the environment here is, and how you'll come to love your teachers, classmates will be friendly, etc...and from what im understanding, ITS ALL BULLSHIT!!! As for the last comment, about maintaining a relationship with my wife-to-be: She already understands how hard this will be. I showed her the stats: That 59% of all male graduating law school students divorce their wives the second law school is over - is very real. If anything, the last part will be the easiest, all i have to do is make sure WE STAY IN THAT OTHER 41%. I just can't see my life without her. Now what about my child in her womb?? I've already taken steps to invest in the stock market if Law School doesn't work out; I'll have money sitting right there. This all seems like a raw deal to me.

Posted by: Give Israel to its true heirs: The Slaves of the New World at May 4, 2007 10:14 AM

Give Israel-
Sorry for the mix up. I am probably projecting a bit--thinking of the strain this past year has had on my own engagement (in which I am the female, and he is male--couldn't imagine having a kid as well). You have obviously made up your mind, and so I wish you the best of luck. I had the same frame of mind before I went: nothing and no one could dissuade me. I urge you though, to get some REAL information about the average work week, job satisfaction, job availability, and pay rates. A recent poster on Yahoo Answers asked the following, which I have copied and pasted here for you: "New job. am i being underpaid?
i just accepted a job as an associate attorney at a medium sized law firm in west palm beach, florida. if im getting paid 50k, plus benefits, am i being underpaid?" The answers to her question appeared to indicate that she was not, in fact, being underpaid.
Again, good luck. I hope you find whatever it is that you are looking for.

Posted by: S at May 8, 2007 07:06 AM

Hey everybody,

I'm back to fill you in. My fiancee is five to six weeks pregnant, so it is basically do or die for me. I just earned my first ever 4.0 and we have both decided that we will not drop out OR take any time off (except for her 3rd Trimester and maybe two months, totaling one semester.)From what I hear, EVERYONE hates their 1L; then after that, things get better. I just think that now I am going to neesd like a million scholarships, b/c U of P is 47,000 a year, not including room and board......

Still Contemplating...

Posted by: Give Israel to its true heirs: The Slaves of the New World at May 15, 2007 11:42 PM

I dropped out today, and it feels great. Sure, I could see it as $18,000 in the hole and a year wasted, but I'm not. I learned what was really important to me..my happiness, my sanity...all the things that law school had taken from me. I'm going to be fine, now that I have reclaimed my life.

Posted by: S at June 18, 2007 09:25 PM

Hi everyone,
I posted on this site a couple of months ago during my first semester of law school. It's now summer and I got through the whole year but doing very poorly. The hard thing is I am in the part-time program where they split your 1L year up into two years and I still made a C+, C, and D (yes that is D!) in Legal Writing. I honestly had no idea what I was doing with the damn appellate brief and I hated every minute of it. The school says the exams are anonymous but my professor was a serious b**&@ and I know she didn't like me. Sad that most women are jealous of other women. Anyhow, I take the blame for not focusing enough. I had a bf who lived in NYC who I would always visit and was a distraction even though I love him.
I am now working at a law firm this summer in the torts arena and am really questioning even more if I want to be a lawyer. It's all about the money. It seems so unfullfilling. I hate the corporate world. One option I am seriously considering is counseling. I am a compassionate and caring person and I feel like law school/ being a lawyer is already taking that out of me. Now I am racking up almost 80,000 in debt so I have to make a decision FAST. I said in my earlier post that my parents raised me to be a doctor or lawyer but now they can see how badly I am doing and that I hate it..they said to do whatever makes me happy. That is a weight off my chest.
Next year I will be completing my 1L classes and trying harder. They say it is easier 2L and 3L year. If I stay with law it would be something with Art Law most likely (I studied it in undergrad). Does anyone have any advice??? I feel like I am on cruise control and can't stop and make a decision...everything is moving so fast.

Posted by: Steph at June 30, 2007 08:50 PM
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