Is becoming a lawyer worth it?

I have done alot of research on becoming a lawyer since I will be starting college in the spring. But, from all of what I have read this sounds like it takes over your personal life and is severly deppressing. I would like to hear from anyone with professinal experiance in the law field on how you like your career.

13 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Lawyers are a dime a dozen. Actually, with the proliferation of law schools and lowering of standards the degree will be as esteemed as a truck driving school certificate. A lot of law schools admissions policy is if you got the dough, or are willing to take on debt, you can go. Look at Massachusetts School of Law and Appalachian Law School in Virginia for examples, it is a joke, they should have truck driving academies right next to their schools. You would not see those low standards at a dental or medical school. Some people talk about doctors being sued and high malpractice insurance, do not let the medical profession fool you, doctors and dentists make the most money in our society even after paying for their malpractice insurance. If you eliminated med-mal suits it would have little or no impact on the affordability and accessibility of health care, the docs would just pocket the extra money. By the way I have sued lawyers for malpractice but never a doc/dentist, I look forward to it.

    I am an attorney. However, I went to a top 15 school and had mediocre grades. I found the job market to be depressing. So much time, planning, and money went into undergraduate school, I had a 4.0 GPA, and scored above the 95th percentile on the LSAT, 171. I naively thought going to a top school their would be plenty of lucrative and exciting jobs waiting for me and I would be set to have a good quality of life. I remember sending out 300 letters one time and getting no positive response, either they said some nonsense about you are great, you have good accomplishments, but at this time we cannot offer you a position, we will keep your resume on file. I took the Bar Exam in two states wasting time studying and not earning any money. I had to move back in with my parents, fun. Meanwhile many of my friends and people that I knew from High School and College were establishing themselves in their careers and making money, gettng promotions, etc. I worked post-law school as a car salesman and a mortgage broker. Finally, a family friend had a friend who was a solo attorney, I worked for him basically for free, actually it was negative because I spent money on travel, long distance phone calls, etc., still living at home with mom and dad, saddled with law school debts, the student loan people started calling wanting $$$. Eventually, I left that attorney. I struggled to find another attorney job. I got a job in 2003 at a firm paying the princely sum of $25,000 per year. I moved out of my parent's house but was still subsidized by them. Dad kept threatening to cut me off, but I lived in an expensive state the cheapest place to stay I found was $1,500 a month all inclusive. My paycheck was like $430.00 a week take home. Eventually, I did go solo, it was hard, but I did make some money in real estate closings for 3 1/2 years. Now the real estate market stinks and I have no income, and I am trying to plan my next move. I have interviewed for some associate positions and the salary range was 38k-55k, this is pretty low for someone with 5 yrs experience and a doctorate degree. My wife works at a nail salon, as a manicurist, she took a three month course and makes 50K a year. It has been an exquisitely painful road for me. In my family I am the most educated and the least financially secure. My dad makes like $350,000K engineering+MBA degree, my younger sister makes $165,000K a year psyche degree and an MBA. My conclusion, LAW SUCKS!!!!!!!!!! Too many law schools fighting for tuition $$$, night programs, weekend programs, low academic standards, too many attorneys, lowering wages and limiting opportunities, compare to the AMA and ADA that insure a shortage of dentists and doctors. When I was solo it seemed like everyone was an attorney, or their cousin was an attorney, or their sister's friend was an attorney, or their brother was an attorney and so and so on, I lost a lot of business because of this. I do not think doctors and dentists face such client poaching. If you are in the top 5%, law review, and went to a good school, yes, you will probably get a good job right from the start. I would have been better off not going to College and instead picking up a trade like being an electrician. Heck, if I had all the money I wasted on education, worked at a gas station during all my non-earning years and put the money into a CD I could probably be able to retire. Looking back, if I had to do it again, if you want to through the hard work and invest the $$$ for education so it pays off you should go into healthcare. Heck their is a shortage of pharmacists and their median wage is $98,000K well above lawyers. Dentists 180,000K median and their is a shortage. Oh well this sucks but this is my life and I will deal with it, I spent my educational time and $$$, and the dye is cast.

    From US News, Poor careers for 2006

    By Marty Nemko

    Posted 1/5/06

    Attorney. If starting over, 75 percent of lawyers would choose to do something else. A similar percentage would advise their children not to become lawyers. The work is often contentious, and there's pressure to be unethical. And despite the drama portrayed on TV, real lawyers spend much of their time on painstakingly detailed research. In addition, those fat-salaried law jobs go to only the top few percent of an already high-powered lot.

    Many people go to law school hoping to do so-called public-interest law. (In fact, much work not officially labeled as such does serve the public interest.) What they don't teach in law school is that the competition for those jobs is intense. I know one graduate of a Top Three law school, for instance, who also edited a law journal. She applied for a low-paying job at the National Abortion Rights Action League and, despite interviewing very well, didn't get the job.

    From the Associated Press, MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A lawmaker who persuaded the Assembly to eliminate all state funding for the University of Wisconsin law school says his reasoning is simple: There's too many lawyers in Wisconsin.

    From an ABA study about malpractice claims, More Sole Practicioners: There appears to be an increasing trend toward sole practicioners, due partly to a lack of jobs for new lawyers, but also due to increasing dissatisfaction among experienced lawyers with traditional firms; leading to some claims which could have been avoided with better mentoring.

    New Lawyers: Most insurers have noticed that many young lawyers cannot find jobs with established firms, and so are starting their own practices without supervision or mentoring. This is likely to cause an increase in malpractice claims, although the claims may be relatively small in size due to the limited nature of a new lawyers

    “In a survey conducted back in 1972 by the American Bar Association, seventy percent of Americans not only didn’t have a lawyer, they didn’t know how to find one. That’s right, thirty years ago the vast majority of people didn’t have a clue on how to find a lawyer. Now it’s almost impossible not to see lawyers everywhere you turn."

    Wall Street Journal Article, Hard Case: Job Market

    Wanes for U.S. Lawyers

    Growth of Legal Sector

    Lags Broader Economy;

    Law Schools Proliferate


    September 24, 2007; Page A1

    A law degree isn't necessarily a license to print money these days.

    For graduates of elite law schools, prospects have never been better. Big law firms this year boosted their starting salaries to as high as $160,000. But the majority of law-school graduates are suffering from a supply-and-demand imbalance that's suppressing pay and job growth. The result: Graduates who don't score at the top of their class are struggling to find well-paying jobs to make payments on law-school debts that can exceed $100,000. Some are taking temporary contract work, reviewing documents for as little as $20 an hour, without benefits. And many are blaming their law schools for failing to warn them about the dark side of the job market.

    The law degree that Scott Bullock gained in 2005 from Seton Hall University -- where he says he ranked in the top third of his class -- is a "waste," he says. Some former high-school friends are earning considerably more as plumbers and electricians than the $50,000-a-year Mr. Bullock is making as a personal-injury attorney in Manhattan. To boot, he is paying off $118,000 in law-school debt.

    "Unfortunately, some find the practice of law is not for them," Seton Hall's associate dean, Kathleen Boozang, said through a spokeswoman. "However, it is our experience that a legal education is a tremendous asset for a variety of professional paths."

    A slack in demand appears to be part of the problem. The legal sector, after more than tripling in inflation-adjusted growth between 1970 and 1987, has grown at an average annual inflation-adjusted rate of 1.2% since 1988, or less than half as fast as the broader economy, according to Commerce Department data.

    Compare this to health care:

    * Health care. Almost half the 30 fastest growing occupations are concentrated in health services -- including medical assistants, physical therapists, physician assistants, home health aides, pharmacists, physicians, dentists and medical records and health information technicians -- according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Some practice areas have declined in recent years: Personal-injury and medical-malpractice cases have been undercut by state laws limiting class-action suits, out-of-state plaintiffs and payouts on damages. Securities class-action litigation has declined in part because of a buoyant stock market.

    On the supply end, more lawyers are entering the work force, thanks in part to the accreditation of new law schools and an influx of applicants after the dot-com implosion earlier this decade. In the 2005-06 academic year, 43,883 Juris Doctor degrees were award

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    For the best answers, search on this site

    Only pursue becoming a lawyer if you are doing it for the right reasons. I think the "right" reasons differ for everyone, but I can tell you what I think the "wrong" reasons are: money, prestige, and/or any reason not having to do with personal satisfaction and happiness. I don't regret my legal education, but what I do is not glamorous, and it can be very difficult and stressful. Just read an article about the incidence of substance abuse, mental illness, etc. in the lawyer population as opposed to the general population. There are a lot of unhealthy, unhappy lawyers. If you go for it, then make sure you have hobbies that you keep up with after practice. Don't let practice swallow you whole. Also, despite the prevailing view that firm practice is the ONLY practice, make sure you consider what are currently considered "alternative" forms of practice that may suit you. I'm finally in what many would consider an alternative form of practice, and I still have difficulties and stress, but I'm much, much happier and actually enjoy practice now. Do what makes you feel like a real person (cause firm life can make you feel like a soulless drone). Good luck.

  • Penny
    Lv 4
    5 years ago

    Unless you love the law, so much so that you are willing to accept all of the other crap that comes along with being a lawyer, the answer is no. But if you love the law and everything about it, then yes. A lot of people get through law school, get into practice, find out that they don't really love it that much, and go do something else. That's not necessarily bad (it prevents lawyer overpopulation, for instance), but it is kind of wasteful of time, money and effort. So the last thing anyone should do is to go to law school and become a lawyer "because my parents want me to" or any other similar reason.

  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    We aren't all thebecoming a lawyer is worth it, to some others it is a waste of time.

    Maybe if you need to ask it means you shouldn't be a lawyer, this is your own life you are talking about so why spend your life doing something that you need to ask people on the internet about?


    Is becoming a lawyer worth it?

    I have done alot of research on becoming a lawyer since I will be starting college in the spring. But, from all of what I have read this sounds like it takes over your personal life and is severly deppressing. I would like to hear from anyone with professinal experiance in the law field on how you like your career.

    Source(s): Simple way to find a lawyer
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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.


    Is becoming a lawyer worth it?

    I have done alot of research on becoming a lawyer since I will be starting college in the spring. But, from all of what I have read this sounds like it takes over your personal life and is severly deppressing. I would like to hear from anyone with professinal experiance in the law field on how you...

    Source(s): lawyer worth it:
  • Anonymous
    6 years ago


    in answer to this question, Is becoming a lawyer worth it?, I can say you that take a look at this site it might help you

    As you described; "I have done alot of research on becoming a lawyer since I will be starting college in the spring. But, from all of what I have read this sounds like it takes over your personal life and is severly deppressing. I would like to hear from anyone with professinal experiance in the law field on how you like your career." it may help you.

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Is Being A Lawyer Fun

  • 4 years ago

    Law degrees get a bad rap these days. Rightfully so for many reasons. Many people who attend law school either don’t know what it means to be a lawyer, or discover they are not fit for the role. But for people like myself who made an educated decision to go to law school, knew what they were getting into and wanted to be a lawyer, a law degree is invaluable.

  • CatLaw
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    If you have the calling to be a lawyer, it will be worth it. Yes, it sounds cheezy but having the calling to law means that you are willing to put yourself out there to fight for justice for others. It is like having the calling to be a doctor.

    If you do not feel that way about being a lawyer, you will be disappointed and depressed. Lots of people go into the profession because the media has convinced everyone that all lawyers make tons of money -- only a very few do. These people where convinced by the media's errors and by the law schools, who are selling education and also perpetuate the lie of high paying jobs. Without knowledge of what the profession really is, people go to law school, incurr high debt for the education and then are stuck -- no wonder so many are depressed.

    Does it take over your personal life? Only if you let it. I admit that I do. I have my own law firm with an office at home and in a fancy office building. To me, my company is my life. Luckily I have an understanding spouse who feels the same way about his job. Last night, instead of pillow talk, we were discussing a hearing that I have on Friday. I assure you not every lawyer is so intense. However, if you want to open your own firm and be successful, you must be.

    Many of my lawyer friends who are the most non-depressed and normal are those who work for a corporation. They actually do not put in a ton of OT. A large majority of corporations have attorneys in the HR dept, accounting dept, and if they must comply with certain laws, in the compliance dept.

    Law is not the cookie-cutter profession that law schools and the media portray. You can control what kind of lawyer you will be. You are totally correct in trying to get as much info as possible before going to law school.

    Law school is horrid. Law profs are disrespectful of students and can be downright mean. The subjects studied are the "theory" and "history" of different areas of law. You will not be taught how to actully make a living as a lawyer, heck you will not even be shown where the courthouse is. The homework is enormous. You read and study and read and study until you cannot stand it. It is like the worst hazing you ever had. But once you pass the Bar Exam your career is in your hands.

    Go to that is the American Bar Assoc website. It has lots of info on the profession. Good luck.

    Source(s): Illinois Employment Attorney:
  • 5 years ago

    yes, why not. becoming a lawyer definitely worth as per growing demand, lawyers are getting higher salary packages as well.

  • 1 decade ago

    I say that if you want to make a lot of money being a lawyer you need to specialize. The best thing I would advise is to become a specialist in Water law. There are going to be lots of money to be made in the future with people fighting over water rights.

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