Special snowflake thinks she can go to law school
July 28, 2011 6:05 PM   Subscribe

I still want to be a human rights lawyer. Is this crazy?

Several years ago, when I was young and confused (well, slightly younger and more confused than I am now), I posted this question. At the time that I wrote it, going to law school, especially with some half-baked notions of pursuing a field about which I knew next to nothing would have been a very, very bad idea, and I am grateful to the plurality of “not in a million years” responses that I got (although the slightly more encouraging answers were nice as well) for keeping me out of doing anything stupid.

But it’s 3 years later and I still can’t get law school out of my head. Since I posted on this subject previously, I have: left my (entry-level) job in a Senator’s office, went to work for a political campaign for six months, went back to the Hill for a (low-mid-level) job in a Congressman’s office for a year and a half, and then left that to go to graduate school in international relations. I’m at a very prestigious school, making good grades, and genuinely enjoying what I’m studying. I’m creating my own concentrations in Human Rights and Democracy & Governance and co-editing a student journal. I’ve spent this summer interning at a prominent human rights organization (let’s just say you’ve heard of it). I admit that I’ve some periods of feeling pretty overwhelmed (see stuff on stress/anxiety below), but on balance I feel more on top of my life than I ever have.

In talking to people in the human rights field (coworkers, alumni of my school that I’ve met, etc.), I’ve often discussed whether a law degree would be valuable on top of what I’ve done so far, and the general agreement seems to be that it’s an epic pain in the butt and not really necessary for the sort of work that they’ve done EXCEPT (and this is a really big except) it gives you credibility and opens doors that a masters degree may not always be able to on its own. And I’ve looked around me at the people I admire most and realized that they are almost uniformly JDs – a former boss who had once worked for an international tribunal, a professor (who also has a MPH; she taught my Human Rights and Health class) who does human rights documentation and advocacy, a current colleague who recently produced a really groundbreaking report – and it makes me wonder if those kinds of options won’t be available to me without a law degree.

I’ve read many of the other questions here on the subject of law school. I know that it’s a shitty time to go to law school, that jobs are scarce (and perhaps even more so in public interest type fields), and all of that. I don’t think that I’m any smarter or better than anyone else who posts that question; however, there is one difference that I think is pretty key: money is no object. Seriously. I can absolutely guarantee that I will come out of law school debt-free. I am extremely, extremely grateful for my good fortune on this point and for all of the myriad ways in which it makes my life easier.

So, given that that angle is taken care of, what am I worried about?
- Stress. I’ve posted here before about my struggles with depression and anxiety and the effects that has on my schoolwork. I still do well, but the last year has involved a lot of seat-of-my-pants stuff that I expect wouldn’t quite fly in law school, and I do worry that the intensity of law school could be more than I can handle.
- Is this the best use of my time? Is law school really necessary to do what I want to do, or should I take my masters and call it good and get on out into the world to stop studying and start actually doing? Even if I were to somehow manage to apply for schools in time to start next fall, I’ll already be 30 by the time I graduate – I don’t want to waste three years!
- And what do I want to do anyway? I still feel pulled in multiple directions, both in terms of areas of interest (human rights is a big field!) and job functions. Just how specific a life plan should I have in mind before committing to this?
- Can I get into the school I want to attend? Right now I’m sort of drooling over the course catalogs at NYU and Columbia in particular. I’m very aware of how ambitious this is. My undergrad grades (while they showed a pretty dramatic improvement after a brief crisis/drop-out period/transfer) were fine but not stellar, my graduate school grades are quite good but I’m not sure how much they matter, and the practice LSAT I took today (which to be fair was the first one I’d ever done and it was after a day at work and a couple beers) was probably about 15 points below what I’d need.
- Is it worth even trying to do this right now (which is obviously a little late in the game), or should I take a year (or more) off between school and more school to think about things some more?

Any and all thoughts and suggestions welcome!
posted by naoko to Education (24 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
If money is no object, I'd say one of the first steps in your law school plan is to take an LSAT prep course. You'll need to bring your score up probably to the 170s to get into a prestigious school that would make international law a viable option.
posted by mesha steele at 6:16 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can I get into the school I want to attend?

Many schools weigh the LSAT far above everything else combined. I have a friend with a 2.5 undergrad GPA who scored somewhere around 175, 176 and got into a Top 20 school with little else going for her. I have a friend with around a 3.2 GPA, and also a 175 LSAT score, who got into a Top 5. I would focus on this if I were you. I have never heard of someone scoring above 170 and *not* getting into a good school regardless of their other qualifications.
posted by Ashley801 at 6:25 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


*Sigh*... Non-technical background, work in political campaigns and on the hill... people in your position are almost destined to go to law school. So many people around you have done it, it can't be THAT dumb an idea, right? It's almost sad, really, because so many of them end up getting channeled into working at firms when that's never what they intended going in.

My gut response is that law school is a professional school and you should not go unless you want to PRACTICE LAW. You affirmatively do not need a JD to be a professor, "do human rights documentation and advocacy," or "produce a really groundbreaking report." I can promise you, these skills are not taught in law school. They may indicate coincident levels of dedication and intelligence that would also do well for you in law school, but that's not really cause & effect.

That said, if you really want to go, the debt is the worst part. So if you are able and willing to drop $80K-150K (likely on the high end since you'll get zero need-based aid), you'll be no worse off than when you started, at least. But it seems like even if you can spend that much money in that way, it would be better spent doing some things that would actually improve your relevant skills. Seems you could definitely afford to take a non-paid internship or 2, or maybe live abroad in a relevant area doing work you love. And / or do relevant research for 6+ months and come up with a great paper.

As to whether or not you could get in: take the median GPA and LSAT numbers from US News and assume that you can get in if you're over, and will have trouble if you're under. It is not really that deterministic but that is the only time you help a school statistically in the rankings: when you can bring a GPA or LSAT that's over the median.
posted by rkent at 6:41 PM on July 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you can pay for it and the money is not important, why not do it? My problem with people going to graduate school to do something that's not going to pay well is that the debt of graduate school often prevents them from doing anything like what they originally set out to do. It sounds like you would actually have the ability to work for not much money, so maybe you really would do something good.
posted by sully75 at 6:59 PM on July 28, 2011


And I’ve looked around me at the people I admire most and realized that they are almost uniformly JDs – a former boss who had once worked for an international tribunal, a professor (who also has a MPH; she taught my Human Rights and Health class) who does human rights documentation and advocacy, a current colleague who recently produced a really groundbreaking report – and it makes me wonder if those kinds of options won’t be available to me without a law degree.

But did they need JDs to do those things? Did JDs even help them do those things? Really? How, exactly?

Law school is not an all-purpose door-opener.

I'm still confused about whether you really want to be a lawyer. You use the word in this and your previous post, but all your descriptions make it seem like you just want to do any kind of human-rights-related advocacy/activism. You can work for a nonprofit organization without being a lawyer. I'm getting a sense that what you're really drawn to is the idea of "going to law school" and "getting a JD" rather than practicing law.

I see no reason for you to go to law school aside from your assertion that you want to be a "lawyer." If you genuinely do want to be a lawyer, that settles it: go to law school. But don't go to law school because you know a bunch of impressive human rights people who happen to have JDs.
posted by John Cohen at 7:15 PM on July 28, 2011


Oh, a couple things about the LSAT:

- There's no way to know what law schools you'll get into based on the fact that you've taken one practice test.

- If you decide to go to law school, study from the books of official tests and keep taking those till you are doing your best. That's what I did, I didn't take a course, and I went to a top 14 school (and I have a hunch it was my LSAT score that got me in, not my brilliant essays). I'm convinced I maxed out my performance ability by taking lots of official tests and that a course would have been a waste of time. They make money by convincing young people that they need to learn a set of secret tricks in order to crack the test. Well, the test isn't based on learning tricks; it's based on reading comprehension and logical reasoning, and you can figure those out on your own. Just because you mentioned that "money is no object" doesn't mean you should actively look for ways to waste your money!
posted by John Cohen at 7:27 PM on July 28, 2011


I say, GO. You wanted it a few years ago, and you still want it after a lot of relevant learning, thinking, and growing. I went to law school at about your age, and I found that being a few years older than most of the other students was a significant advantage. The maturity gives you focus, and people take you more seriously.

"Being a lawyer" is a powerful thing. When all your righteous passion and intellect yearn to see a little piece of justice accomplished, it's nice to be the one who knows how to write the "lawyer letter," and who knows how to make the arguments and use the tools to follow it up.

Re stress: when you're selecting a school, pick one with a relatively less cut-throat atmosphere. Yale Law School, for example, uses a pass/fail/honors grading system and doesn't compute class rank. If you look for a system like that, and take a pass on the law review craziness, you can hold the stress level down.
posted by Corvid at 7:59 PM on July 28, 2011


I still do well, but the last year has involved a lot of seat-of-my-pants stuff that I expect wouldn’t quite fly in law school, and I do worry that the intensity of law school could be more than I can handle.

If you're afraid you can't handle law school, you should be very worried about law practice. Law school is much, much easier and less stressful than law practice.
posted by jayder at 8:25 PM on July 28, 2011


*Sigh*... Non-technical background, work in political campaigns and on the hill... people in your position are almost destined to go to law school. So many people around you have done it, it can't be THAT dumb an idea, right? It's almost sad, really, because so many of them end up getting channeled into working at firms when that's never what they intended going in.

Oh god, believe me, I know entirely how cheesy and stereotypical I sound - I'm a little embarrassed about it, and that's partly why I asked - I don't want to go just to go, you know? I'm not going to work at a firm though - in my experience all the idealistic people I know who ended up doing that are people who had to for financial reasons (and I don't judge them at all for doing that; it is what it is). For what it's worth, in my douchey Hills staffer existence I really tried to work for people that I found to be genuinely principled and mostly sharing my views (and maybe that's why one of them didn't get reelected in the hot mess that was 2010 and one of them is choosing to retire).

My gut response is that law school is a professional school and you should not go unless you want to PRACTICE LAW. You affirmatively do not need a JD...

I guess that's what I'm getting at - the whole reason I went to get a masters instead of a law degree was so that I could learn things relevant to my interests rather than sitting around in Torts or whatever when I don't particularly feel a strong desire to practice. The advice I've gotten from other lawyers suggests that they think having a JD got them into the work they are doing now, but I remain suspicious that they may be totally wrong.

take the median GPA and LSAT numbers from US News and assume that you can get in if you're over, and will have trouble if you're under.

Given that I'm halfway though a masters, is it my undergrad GPA or my masters GPA, or some combination that I should be assuming that law schools are looking at? The difference is somewhat significant.

reading comprehension and logical reasoning, and you can figure those out on your own
I found the reading comprehension extremely easy, the logic games miserably hard, and the rest somewhere in the middle. I found a prep class that I could attend this fall; it's expensive but maybe worth it if it could crack the logic games code for me a bit...?

So if you are able and willing to drop $80K-150K (likely on the high end since you'll get zero need-based aid), you'll be no worse off than when you started, at least. But it seems like even if you can spend that much money in that way, it would be better spent doing some things that would actually improve your relevant skills. Seems you could definitely afford to take a non-paid internship or 2, or maybe live abroad in a relevant area doing work you love. And / or do relevant research for 6+ months and come up with a great paper.

To me it seems like this would be a reasonably valuable thing to do with a large chunk of money that I really am perfectly willing to spend (seriously, I could send myself to law school several times over if I wanted to. I hope that I'm conveying that I'm saying this to give full disclosure of my situation, not to be an obnoxious asshole) - assuming that it would help me do the kind of work I want to do. But I do see myself as a career changer and in a sense waaaaaay behind a lot of the people in this line of work who have field experience that I don't have, and I do wonder if I would be better off trying to accomplish that instead of more schooling, so this is good advice.


I'm still confused about whether you really want to be a lawyer.

So am I. I spent a couple years thinking that I was really into international criminal law, in which case a degree might have been more practical, but in the last year-ish I've gotten more interested in aspects of human rights that are more research/advocacy/policy oriented (mostly in ESCR work) where one wouldn't so much need to be a practicing lawyer. And obviously when I ask people in this line of work, "Do you need a law degree to do what you're doing?" it behooves them to say "yes" even if it's not 100% true, so that they don't feel crappy about all the time and money they've invested...but they do uniformly say that they think the JD helped get them their jobs.


when you're selecting a school, pick one with a relatively less cut-throat atmosphere. Yale Law School...

Yale seems like it has a good international law program too, and one of my lawyer-heroes is a double Yale grad (undergrad and law). I wasn't quite as enamored of the course catalog, nor do I love the idea of living in New Haven, but a supportive, non-cutthroat environment (like the one I have in my current grad program, actually) is very valuable to me. If the people at NYU and Columbia are the types who tear pages out of library books or whatever, I would for sure like to know about that in advance.

If you're afraid you can't handle law school, you should be very worried about law practice. Law school is much, much easier and less stressful than law practice.


This is useful. I am, I admit, a pretty easily stressed-out person. I've been in a particularly good and optimistic mood this summer because I'm working 9-5 for the first time in my life, and the feeling of actually having free time is pretty spectacular, plus as an intern I'm actually accomplishing what is expected of me at work, rather than feeling deeply in over my head and like I suck at life (my more typical state of mind). As much as I am a big dork for learning, I am a little nervous about buckling down for another year of school soon, which makes me question why on earth I'd sign up for another 3 years on top of that.

Thanks folks, I appreciate it.
posted by naoko at 12:31 AM on July 29, 2011


I think people are being too polite. You're as likely to get this dream job after law school as you are to be an astronaut - and there's no space program left. Everyone like to bring up counterfactuals that seem to stretch credulity, such as a person at a third tier law school now saving the world, but let's face facts. You're looking at 3 years of your life gone. 3 years of missed opportunities to advance your career within an organization. And roughly 150k of money spent, all to chase a dream that's not real.

These are the questions you need to ask: How many lawyers do you think practice what you do? What are their bios like? How long did they fight to get to where they are? How many people of equally impressive backgrounds didn't get the same breaks and ended up with nothing? The last one should concern you.

International Human Rights Law was always a code word for "I don't know what I want to do" and the law students who talk about it haven't done their research. There really aren't any jobs that sound like what you want and related jobs are so rare that there are plenty of people with amazing credentials from Harvard and Yale that couldn't make it work. Those few lucky ones who got a chance still fight every year to stay in the field. These people all had incredible grades from top schools which also gave them better opportunities for work and experience that will always give them a leg up. Even at the best you will be working in a single region (West Africa, Af/Pak, Latin America) and without language fluency and a few years of field work you're probably going to fall behind your peers.

As for getting in, your undergrad GPA counts, not your masters. If it's less than a 3.7, you're not getting into Harvard, Yale or Stanford. At that point, the odds of you making in such a cut-throat public interest sector in this economy get really slim. Each tier down the top 10 or so make it harder. You can try to make it at a school that's more "public-interest oriented" such as CUNY or American, but you're just going to find out the hard way that you're not going to be an Astronaut. And while it may seem harsh, this is part of growing up. You're also not going to pitch for the Yankees or win the Nobel Peace Prize. It doesn't mean you can't be fulfilled and make a difference with your life. Managing expectations without wasting 3 years and 150k will go a long way in getting you to where you want to be.
posted by allen.spaulding at 6:02 AM on July 29, 2011 [5 favorites]


Usually what I think makes law school a bad bet for people is that 1) they don't know what they want to do, and a detour through a JD program delays that decision; 2) they think they have a good chance of making a lot of money; and 3) they don't have the money to pay for school and will be taking out big loans.

You don't fall into that scenario--you are doing the work you want to do and think a JD will further your career; you don't seem motivated by money; and you have money to pay for school. So, to me, you already seem like a much better candidate than most.

I'd still be mindful of a few things. First, doing human rights law (as opposed to policy work) is very, very competitive. For the most part, I think doing human rights work is probably more competitive than getting a Big Firm job (which I know you don't want), since there are fewer positions, and funding is speculative. I don't have as much of a perspective about policy work, but I imagine that the same goes there.

I'd think twice about getting a JD just to pad your resume. I know a couple of people who did that, and if you don't then do SOME legal work, people think you're a fuckup--oh, you couldn't get a job! You couldn't pass the bar! How sad! And you can't really be too frank with prospective employers that "I got the JD so you'd take me seriously"--it undercuts the rest of your resume.

Also, don't underestimate the opportunity cost of spending three years doing something you don't particularly want to do so that you can do something else later. It's a waste of time. (Here I am, the better part of a decade later, still working as a lawyer so I can do something else tomorrow!)

A few final small points: If you're getting a JD to be the capstone on your resume, make sure you go only to a top school (certainly tier 1, though top 10/5 would be better--you're going for international name recognition). Don't waste your time thinking you'll get any benefit from spending any time a lesser school. The Hague doesn't care about Trundlefuck State College of Law. It's going to be very competitive to get to those great programs (though if you do well your first year, you can sometimes transfer up to a higher-ranked school).

Don't underestimate the stress. I, too, can be prone to stress, and I found law school to be the single worst experience in my life. I think I threw up every morning of 1L year, and lost 25 pounds or so. It was ghastly. The flipside is that I did very well, and law school is a distant memory. You get through it (unless you don't).

Personally, if it were me, I'd take the money I'd be spending for law school and use it to support myself while doing a great unpaid program or two in areas that appeal to you. Seriously, I think you will go farther in your career by spending $50K/year working at aid programs or similar (in the US or abroad) for three years, than by spending the same time and money in law school.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:11 AM on July 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


This might be obvious, but it wasn't to me when I made a similar decision:

Don't compare the job you could get now vs. the job you could get with a law degree. Rather, compare the job you could get with three years of work experience (and the financial flexibility of having no or little debt) vs. the job you could get with a law degree and the burden of a lot of debt.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 6:32 AM on July 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


Very well put, know-it-some.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:39 AM on July 29, 2011


Know-it-some makes an excellent point. I've been working in DC for several years and I've seen many people work here for a few years, go to grad school, and come back. All of them are more or less at the same point I am professionally or are farther behind.

The way I see it, law school is one door opener but it's not really something that will make you stand out as a job applicant in an extremely competitive field because so many people have JDs. There are two things that would make you stand out as an applicant that others are less likely to have and that you, as a person who does not have to worry about money, could work on - language skills and field work. This potentially gets tricky because both by necessity require that you pick a specific region that interests you which may pigeonhole you but hopefully people will assume that if you could learn one language and region well, another one wouldn't be a huge challenge.

There are a lot of people out there who have JDs, MAs, and want to work in human rights. IMO there are fewer people who have MAs, lived and worked abroad for more than a year, and who are as fluent in [language that's not Spanish, French, Arabic, or German] as they are in English.

That all said, human rights is a very competitive field. It's definitely possible that you could solve the crisis in Darfur, make peace in the Middle East, achieve native proficiency in several languages, graduate first in your class from Harvard Law and still not get the dream job you want in human rights. Since there are no guarantees, I wouldn't think of any of this as something you do to get to that job or to give yourself the best chance at getting that job. If doing field work, learning languages, or going to law school sound like things you would enjoy doing, do them. If you got hit by a bus tomorrow, I doubt you would be thinking, I really should have applied to law school. If you disagree, there's your answer. Life is too short to be thought of as a series of hoops one has to jump through, especially if money is not a concern.
posted by kat518 at 7:29 AM on July 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you're afraid you can't handle law school, you should be very worried about law practice. Law school is much, much easier and less stressful than law practice.

This a hundred times over. The stress level is really impossible to anticipate when you're on the outside looking in, and that's true whether you work in a large corporate law firm with cushy offices and handsome wood paneling or not. And that's after 3 years of law school.

IANAL, but I worked with lawyers for years and got to know some of them fairly well (inevitable in the position I was in). Stress is the name of the game. If you think you're aren't cut out for stress on a consistent basis, law is not a great career to pick. Doubly so if you've had struggles with depression. It's great that you have the kind of background and the maturity level and the skills to do well in law school, and it's even better that you have the money to attend, so if you're really gung-ho, go for it. But I would network and talk to some bona fide practicing lawyers first before making up your mind. (Don't talk only to people you admire who have JDs.) There are tons of networking opportunities out there, especially wherever it is I'm assuming your human rights job is now. Or maybe you come into contact with lawyers in your current position, I don't know. Look on LinkedIn, look elsewhere, but find someone who's actually in the field and knows what the stress level is like and can give you advice and pointers.

Rather, compare the job you could get with three years of work experience (and the financial flexibility of having no or little debt) vs. the job you could get with a law degree and the burden of a lot of debt.

That's a good point, but the poster has already said that money is no object and that he/she will come out of law school debt-free.
posted by blucevalo at 7:47 AM on July 29, 2011


I have friends who went to law school for similar reasons. One is working as a clerk for an international court of human rights, but he came into it with lots of international public policy experience, and I think caught a very lucky break. The other is looking for a job, and I think regrets having gone to law school in the first place. I don't think going to law school without wanting to be a practicing attorney makes any more sense than going to welding school without wanting to be a pracitcing welder.

The answer of "go to Yale" isn't particularly helpful; getting into Yale or Harvard changes the math quite a bit. If you can get into YLS, go.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:06 AM on July 29, 2011


Here's another possible alternative for your $450k or so...

Start your own human rights program.

It seems to be that it would be a shame to spend $150k so that you can go beg other people to let you write reports. Instead, why not use your money to research and then endow a program to solve a human rights problem?

If you're not sure what problem you want to solve, or what you would pay others to do, then set that as your goal. Take a year to do some research:

1) go to places with big problems and find out what they need
2) find out what big donors are doing with their money and where the gaps are
3) read a lot about who is doing interesting things to preserve human rights
4) talk to people who are doing interesting things in human rights (e.g., not just your professors, but authors in the field, professors in other programs, activists, etc.)

With that sort of money, you can make a big difference. It's not enough to be Rockefeller or Carnegie or Gates, of course, but it's enough to bring you to the table with people who have a lot of money if you have something innovative to propose. It's enough to do the research necessary, run a pilot program, etc. If you find something very interesting, you can write a book about it (see: Samantha Power).

Why come in as a supplicant, bringing three years of hard labor at something that might not be relevant, when you can come in as a donor, bringing your knowledge and your money?

Now, go save the world. :)
posted by 3491again at 11:14 AM on July 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


reading comprehension and logical reasoning, and you can figure those out on your own

I found the reading comprehension extremely easy, the logic games miserably hard, and the rest somewhere in the middle. I found a prep class that I could attend this fall; it's expensive but maybe worth it if it could crack the logic games code for me a bit...?


I'm the one who wrote the comment you're responding to. I also found the logic games by far the hardest at first. I finally realized they're mostly a matter of trial and error; keeping track of all the rules by having my own personal, consistent notation system; and, of course, logical thinking. I ended up getting them by practicing on the official versions over and over. I studied with a friend who was taking a course, and he was telling me the tricks he learned there, which had to do with reordering the questions. To me, that's a waste of time on a test where every second counts. He got a fairly average score on the LSAT, and I went to Cornell. I would not have had trouble affording a course, and I'm very happy I studied the way I did. I'm convinced it was the best use of my time. I'm not telling you what to do, just sharing my experience.
posted by John Cohen at 8:36 PM on July 29, 2011


I'm not as skeptical about the plausibility of the poster's ambitions to practice international human rights law as some are in this thread. I know someone, a close friend from law school, who has made a very successful career in that field, and it seemed very much to be a "you make your own luck" field. He did not attend Harvard or Yale law schools. He is a brilliant guy who was a lackluster student at a top 20 school. What seems to have worked for him was relentless networking within the United Nations. He managed to spend a semester in law school on a United Nations internship, then parlayed those connections into a quite successful career in international human rights in connection with the United Nations. He does not practice law per se, and has not even taken a bar exam, but to look at his career you'd assume he had. It is an interesting career path he took, and it was not magic that made it work for him. It was old fashioned networking and hard work. Early on he had some down times when he was waiting for an assignment to come through, but it seems that "once you're in you're in" ... As far as I could tell, he had no trouble getting very interesting jobs once he got his foot in the door.
posted by jayder at 9:39 PM on July 29, 2011


Thanks all, this is giving me so much to think about. One thing that stands out in particular is that my time might be better spent on a) field work abroad and b) beefing up my language skills - I completely agree that both of those are serious gaps for me (and gaps that, if an employer prioritizes those things, would make me less competitive for jobs than the majority of my classmates) - plus I think an overseas work experience would be possibly really fun, and at the very least valuable in determining whether that's something I would want to do in the long term (I've traveled pretty widely but never been out of the U.S. for longer than about a month at a time, except one year living abroad as a very young child).
If I were to give another year to thinking about this, does it make more sense to get the LSAT out of the way now (October - I'd have two months to study, I've got a prep class in mind, I don't have to freak out about my thesis quiiiiite yet) or take it next summer after my intended graduation date (at which point, god willing, my thesis will be done and I will have nothing else to do except job-hunting)?
posted by naoko at 9:16 AM on July 30, 2011


I'd say take the LSAT now if you don't feel like it'll get in the way of the rest of your life. I spent about 3 months practicing on it, and my impression is that that's about average. Two months might have been a stretch. But you can always see how you're doing when it gets close to the date and then cancel if you're not where you want to be, that's the advantage of planning to take it earlier in my mind.
posted by Ashley801 at 9:41 AM on July 30, 2011


Take the LSAT sooner if feasible. If you're disappointed with your score, you'll have time to take it again. That's what I did, and it made me competitive for a lot more schools. If you realize within a few days that you truly bombed, it's possible to cancel your score altogether.
posted by John Cohen at 11:05 AM on August 1, 2011


You have a genuine passion for what you want to do. I think you'll regret it if you don't try it. You can help figure it out by finding some lawyers who do this work, and interviewing them. Lots of unemployed lawyers right now, but I don't think that will be true in the long run.
posted by theora55 at 9:02 AM on August 2, 2011


Market trends suggest that the glut of unemployed lawyers will become employed, but not as lawyers. For the past few years, law schools have been churning out twice as many graduates as there are open positions, and law school enrollment is only expected to rise, as they are profit centers for universities.
posted by craven_morhead at 9:42 AM on August 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


« Older Must control the fist of death...   |   What are the (young) kids listening to these days? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.