We have another entry in my challenge to you fine folks out there to come up with two good reasons for going to law school.
(1) I absolutely hated my job teaching high school. Five years in and an M.Ed. later, I was miserable. Anything different would have been good, and an increase in pay from a teacher’s scale made in-state law school a sure bet, despite the debt.
(2) I’m good at reading and comprehending complicated documents and producing quality written work with a short turn-around time. Why didn’t I think of law school earlier? I didn’t know what being a lawyer was about–and this is exactly what being a lawyer is about.
Law school = net benefit for me. My life has been significantly upgraded from where I was three years ago. I don’t dispute the assertion that law school is a bad idea for a lot of people–not in the least. For people like me, law school is better than an okay idea. It was a great investment.
Fire away, BL1Y.
@Florida State University School of Law
USNews #47, $33,593/yr (out of state), $14,228/yr (in-state)
1. I hate teaching.
That isn’t a reason to go to law school. That’s simply a reason not to be a teacher.
As for the increase in pay…don’t bet the house on it. Average starting salary for a teacher in Florida is $30,700, and the average of all teachers in Florida is $42,433. You’re teaching high school, which I assume pays better than elementary or middle school, and had five years of experience, so I’ll assume you were somewhere around that $42,000 mark.
Median starting salary for the law class of 2008 was $62,000, and the median starting salary in 2006 was $52,000. The class of 2008 got the benefit of sky rocketing salaries, so I’m guessing salaries are back down closer to the $52,000 mark. That’s not really a huge increase in salary, especially when you factor in three years of lost income plus student loan payments. You’re at a decent school, so maybe you’ll land a better paying job, but it’s a pretty poor gamble to make.
And, if job satisfaction is your main complaint, it’s not very wise to go into a field notorious for its low job satisfaction rates. Oddly enough, the ABA Journal has reported that lawyers are running towards teaching as a new career path.
2. I enjoy legal work.
Looks like you just happened to get lucky here. I will point out that you didn’t know what legal work was going to be like, and there was a better than fair chance you would hate it like most other lawyers, so it’s in general a bad idea to go to law school hoping you will enjoy the day to day work of an attorney.
But hey, good for you. It turns out that you enjoy rushing to crank out monotonous paperwork that will ultimately contribute nothing to society. There’s no arguing with taste, you like what you like. But, I think for most people this would be a reason not to go. For me, not only did I hate legal work, I sincerely did not want to become someone who enjoyed it.
So there you have it folks…I think somewhere in there is about half a reason to go to law school. Do you think you have a good reason? Do you have two? E-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll explain to the world why you’re wrong.
[You can read entries 1-3 here.]