Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

why you went to law school versus what you're doing now

Just curious to hear what you imagined your career would be youngbuck08/30/18
I went to delay the real world. I'm now in the real world jd4hire08/30/18
I went in with pretty modest goals. I wanted to be a DA, pu jdcumlaude08/30/18
How do you like teaching? plunky08/31/18
pays bills, provides insurance. Take it day by day and you jdcumlaude09/01/18
Good for you! patenttrollnj09/01/18
I went to get out of sitting in a cubicle crunching numbers 6figuremistake08/30/18
I can more or less second this. dupednontraditional08/31/18
I can third that one. I went to law school because I thought nowhereman09/05/18
Went to work in biglaw and make a lot of money. Struck out themapmaster08/30/18
Actually I envisioned myself as a solo practitioner and that dnabrams08/30/18
I went thinking that I'd do real estate transactions, make g acerimmer08/30/18
I went wanting to do small-mid business transactional work. thirdtierlaw08/30/18
I went to law school thinking I wanted to hang a shingle. I tacocheese08/30/18
I went to law school to make more money. I am now making trickydick08/30/18
I went to law school to be a small town lawyer. I never like jmoney08/30/18
Now I’m just a small town pizza lawyer ... lawjesus08/31/18
Went to law school without a clue about real life law practi porochi08/31/18
Porochi, ROFL. You have described my personality (very in catwoman33309/02/18
My response is the same as tricky's. No other reason. wutwutwut08/31/18
I went for models and bottles. I frequent NYC strip clubs isthisit08/31/18
big law. crim law. defensivelawyer08/31/18
High volume immigration in NYC at a 20 lawyer firm (small la isthisit08/31/18
Need any new friends to go with you? jd4hire08/31/18
Only if you're BBW (BigWags). Was at NY Dolls a couple weeks isthisit08/31/18
Silly me. I thought I was going to get a job either for a g bittersweet08/31/18
I thought law plus foreign language would be my ticket. It w shuiz08/31/18
I wanted to make more money doing real estate transaction. hous09/01/18
Why I went to law school? To be a patent lawyer. I was a P patenttrollnj09/01/18
I went to law school largely because I graduated from colleg catwoman33309/02/18
I was a little right wing reactionary jerk who wanted to mak mortalkonlaw09/07/18
I went to law school to do big law. My income was very low b mera8809/08/18
@mera88! So sorry to see your anguish, regret. Not to so catwoman33309/08/18
Before law school - I imagined I would work in the corporate flyer1409/08/18
Congrats on the promotion. I plan on making the jump to bei jdbuddy09/17/18
I had a pie in the sky idea that I would go into big law or lawst09/08/18
Went to law school because I graduated with a business degre palmtree1909/09/18
Glad to see palmtree’s post. I’m in my 4th year, doing a physicssezno09/09/18

youngbuck (Aug 30, 2018 - 11:06 am)

Just curious to hear what you imagined your career would be when you went to law school and what it is now.

Myself - I went to law school with pie-in-the-sky dreams of going to Congress someday. A few years out, I was finally in a place to run for municipal office, and although I won the election, I found out that the nature of politics runs totally counter to my introverted nature. I'm doing workers comp now, not what I imagined, but its not a bad place to practice, either.

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jd4hire (Aug 30, 2018 - 11:40 am)

I went to delay the real world.

I'm now in the real world.

At the time, I envisioned myself as a litigator involved with some significant cases.

I'm a litigator and do have some involvement in some significant cases. I just hope I continue to develop my skills and am in the driver's seat for some significant cases as time passes.

I wish I got more appellate work with our state supreme court and circuit court's of appeal. I also wish I was in federal district court more than I am, but PI normally falls in state court.

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jdcumlaude (Aug 30, 2018 - 11:50 am)

I went in with pretty modest goals. I wanted to be a DA, put bad guys in jail, help victims find justice etc....


now...


I teach at a public high school in a poor county.

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plunky (Aug 31, 2018 - 6:04 pm)

How do you like teaching?

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jdcumlaude (Sep 1, 2018 - 11:44 pm)

pays bills, provides insurance. Take it day by day and you will be okay. I try to avoid thinking about the loans or the fact that it is not even tacitly connected with my dreams/goals....but a poli sci major can do very little in the real world.....

I told myself in 2009 when I did not get in to law school.....one more shot....if nothing comes of it go straight to the first air force recruiter I could find....I wish I had avoided taking one more shot.

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patenttrollnj (Sep 1, 2018 - 1:52 am)

Good for you!

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6figuremistake (Aug 30, 2018 - 12:22 pm)

I went to get out of sitting in a cubicle crunching numbers in Excel...today, I work in a cubicle crunching numbers in Excel (though sometimes I use SAS or Tableau).

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dupednontraditional (Aug 31, 2018 - 6:27 am)

I can more or less second this.

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nowhereman (Sep 5, 2018 - 4:07 pm)

I can third that one. I went to law school because I thought web design and computer programming were too introverted and did not want to spend my days staring at a computer for eight hours. At least I have a window in my office now....

More to the point, I wanted to be an indie movie producer when I graduated. Did some entertainment law for a bit after school and spent more time getting stiffed on bills than I did actual work. Now I am in telecom and appreciate the heck out of a steady pay check.

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themapmaster (Aug 30, 2018 - 12:47 pm)

Went to work in biglaw and make a lot of money. Struck out at OCI in 2011. Now I hustle at a small law firm, biding my time until I inherit a lucrative Wills file.

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dnabrams (Aug 30, 2018 - 1:44 pm)

Actually I envisioned myself as a solo practitioner and that's what I am. I didn't think I would be doing specialized work in a big city, but that's pretty common nowadays I think.

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acerimmer (Aug 30, 2018 - 2:39 pm)

I went thinking that I'd do real estate transactions, make good money, and run for local government.

Graduated in 2009, worked debt collection for a while, and then went into manufacturing and construction. Overtime paid off my student loans.

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thirdtierlaw (Aug 30, 2018 - 5:11 pm)

I went wanting to do small-mid business transactional work. Passed on a job offer doing that to become criminal/family law attorney.

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tacocheese (Aug 30, 2018 - 6:59 pm)

I went to law school thinking I wanted to hang a shingle. I started with a clerkship and now have been permanent staff at a state court of appeals for 8 years. Quite different than my initial plan. I don't think I'd handle the stress of law practice well, but I would still like to run a business (as I did before school).

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trickydick (Aug 30, 2018 - 8:39 pm)

I went to law school to make more money.

I am now making more money than I did before I want to law school.

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jmoney (Aug 30, 2018 - 10:19 pm)

I went to law school to be a small town lawyer. I never liked big cities or the idea of working in a firm with more lawyers than I have fingers and toes (I have the usual amount of fingers and toes).

I start on Tuesday doing just that at a firm with some clients we've had since the year started with 18--. We've got a fatty trial in December and word on the street is everyone is happy to have my help.

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lawjesus (Aug 31, 2018 - 1:26 am)

Now I’m just a small town pizza lawyer ...

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porochi (Aug 31, 2018 - 1:34 am)

Went to law school without a clue about real life law practice, thought I wanted to do corporate law, didn't know what that meant either. Landed an internship in the local DA's office as a 3L and been in govt. ever since, 24 years and counting. I like the stability a steady check and decent benefits provide, plus not having to hustle for clients. I don't like people, in general, so being a govt. wonk atty. is a good fit for me. Now a federal atty. posted in a western locale where I work alone. I'm as back office as you can get but feel pretty lucky. My boss is across the country and hardly ever contacts me, it's like he forgot I exist. I know I wouldn't have lasted a day in private practice. If I wasn't doing this I'd probably be a long-haul truck driver. There's quite a few misfits like me, too many probably, in the legal profession. Somehow I managed to work my way into a loner position with the biggest employer in the U.S. that actually pays decent and where I don't annoy people and they don't annoy me, so I'm in debt to the law for that opportunity. I hope to work in this job until I die of old age and they carry my withered corpse out of the building.

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catwoman333 (Sep 2, 2018 - 12:36 am)

Porochi, ROFL.

You have described my personality (very introverted and don't suffer fools gladly) to a T! Serious Q: Have you ALWAYS been this way (or do you attribute it to years of law practice)?

For me, I've noticed that the longer I practice (and have to listen to angry, complaining CLTs and deal with often grumpy judges), the more people seem to annoy the hell out of me...I don't know whether to chalk it up to burnout or age (or both)?? But congrats on finding a sane, ideal job that accommodates your um..."misanthropy"...:-).

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wutwutwut (Aug 31, 2018 - 12:05 pm)

My response is the same as tricky's. No other reason.

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isthisit (Aug 31, 2018 - 12:14 pm)

I went for models and bottles.

I frequent NYC strip clubs and get bottle service with friends. So I guess I accomplished that.

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defensivelawyer (Aug 31, 2018 - 12:25 pm)

big law.

crim law.

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isthisit (Aug 31, 2018 - 4:48 pm)

High volume immigration in NYC at a 20 lawyer firm (small law?).

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jd4hire (Aug 31, 2018 - 12:40 pm)

Need any new friends to go with you?

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isthisit (Aug 31, 2018 - 4:52 pm)

Only if you're BBW (BigWags). Was at NY Dolls a couple weeks ago. Might do Rick's next weekend. If you can get ahold of BBW, you can tag along with him.

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bittersweet (Aug 31, 2018 - 3:29 pm)

Silly me. I thought I was going to get a job either for a government agency or firm fighting pollution on an international level. I had international experience. I amjured International Environmental Law, got certificates in both international and environmental law, and helped edit the nutshell on the subject before it was published. And what do I do now? Doc review.

Yeah, I make more money than the crappy job I quit for law school. But that crappy job 20+ years ago had health insurance and paid vacation. Now I don't have either. And it didn't have a $550 nut in student loans every month and several hundred dollars in annual fees to keep a license so I can read other people's mail for a living.

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shuiz (Aug 31, 2018 - 6:08 pm)

I thought law plus foreign language would be my ticket. It was not quite as easy as that, but it eventually worked out.

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hous (Sep 1, 2018 - 9:27 am)

I wanted to make more money doing real estate transaction.

Now I make money in a firm that specializes in real estate transactions but I only do construction litigation

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patenttrollnj (Sep 1, 2018 - 11:27 am)

Why I went to law school? To be a patent lawyer. I was a PhD candidate, and realized the job prospects weren't good, and I thought law would offer more options.

Big mistake.

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catwoman333 (Sep 2, 2018 - 12:20 am)

I went to law school largely because I graduated from college during a recession, my math/science grades were too poor to qualify for med school, and because I couldn't think of anything better to do to avoid extended unemployment (mind you, this was before the days of routine 6-figure LS student loan debt).


After graduation, in my early 20s, the prospect of law practice frankly struck me as "deathly tedious" so I did everything in my power to delay/avoid it: I worked as a journalist and as a legislative staffer. In the late 90s, with the rise of corporations and the Internet, newspapers began dropping like dead flies and laying off journalists en masse. My gov. job went South after my boss decided not to run for re-election. After the Crash of '07, the only job I could find was--ironically--in law practice, so I began handling disability cases.

On "difficult" days when I feel particularly burned out, I dream of returning to journalism (the only job I really loved), although that career path now seems pretty risky unless one is either: 1) Maggie Haberman and works for a relatively financially stable entity like the NY Times or Washington Post or 2) a "CYSBNP" (cute, young, skinny, blonde newsreader or pundit) who would be easily snapped up by a TV network. Sadly, neither case applies to me...:-).

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mortalkonlaw (Sep 7, 2018 - 3:42 pm)

I was a little right wing reactionary jerk who wanted to make it to BigLaw but never really wanted to do the work. I was "interested in Constitutional Law! And politics!": one of those twerps.

I struck out at OCI that fall, which was also just after the recession had destroyed the economy. I went into oil and gas law just in time to become a left winger. Wrote oil and gas title opinions for a bit, which I hated, then got a job as an in-house Landman and haven't really looked back.

I believe in climate change and that electric cars are eventually going to decimate (and possibly destroy) the domestic gasoline market. About 1/2 - 2/3 of crude oil is refined into fuel products, mostly gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. On the other hand, third world demand is skyrocketing. The next few years will be "interesting."

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mera88 (Sep 8, 2018 - 3:06 pm)

I went to law school to do big law. My income was very low before law school due to the mistake I made in undergraduate by majoring in a low paying major. However, the law school I went to is the type where you have to be in the top 5% to get big law or have some connections to land a decent job. I am completely screwed now since I have neither of those credentials. Law school is one of the most expensive mistakes I have ever made. I feel like my whole life has been a screw up. Through my internships I have realized I hate the law but my family keeps on asking me when will I become a lawyer and pass the bar. I just feel like I am stuck. However, I do want to pass the bar and become a licensed attorney even if I never practice.

I remember reading nando's profile on my law school but I did not take it seriously. I so regret that now. Only if I had never gone to law school my future would not be so dim.

Oh yeah, my law school and law school professors have forever crushed my dreams.

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catwoman333 (Sep 8, 2018 - 5:03 pm)

@mera88! So sorry to see your anguish, regret.

Not to sound too much like Ms. Bossypants here but I have a serious (and respectful) Q: If you feel LS was a big mistake, have zero interest in practicing, then why EXTEND your misery by spending months, years more of your fleeting life worrying about taking, passing a bar exam, becoming a licensed lawyer....all of which only qualifies you to do something you don't really want and which would only guarantee MORE unhappiness? Pressure from relatives? Or the quest for greater "prestige"?? (whatever that is...IMO a total farce because the value of a law degree is hugely diluted by an over-saturated market and a culture where so many attys are publicly ridiculed by comics and avg. Americans for lying, going to prison; think Watergate and Trump Admin. here). And law practice and lawyers are a notch above Congress in the public esteem. LOL

Aaahhh...those relatives who love to push buttons instead of being discreet, understanding, and respectful at a difficult time in your life. Makes you just want to smother 'em with hugs, the little darlings. LOL I'm sure they have NO "skeletons" rattling around in THEIR closets or regrets in life. The next time they start nagging you, just look 'em in the eye and ask, "Hey, that reminds me...What happened with that 1st, 2nd, 3rd failed marriage, etc? Why did you guys ever get married in the first place and what caused the breakup?" or "Hey, at least I made it into LS. How far did YOU get in school?" In short, your career decisions should be made based on YOUR interests and experience, not criticism or pressure from others.

Hey, there is no shame in not getting a license or practicing law after going to LS. THOUSANDS do the same every year, and how many more THOUSANDS ditch law AFTER realizing practice was a bad fit. Those are the ones with REAL regrets.

IMHO you would do yourself (and your sanity) a big favor by cutting your losses, spending your time--and $$...as bar review classes, app fees are very expensive--focused on finding OTHER career options that may interest you and would be a much better fit. Trying to force yourself to do something you dread is like chasing your tail. Just think of LS as a bad first marriage: it didn't work out but you learned a lot about yourself, your priorities, and grew up. Now finalize the divorce and just MOVE ON. I hope you stop beating up on yourself and find peace with whatever you decide.

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flyer14 (Sep 8, 2018 - 5:28 pm)

Before law school - I imagined I would work in the corporate world since my bachelor's was in business. The money and prefftige probably spoke volumes to me as well.

Currently - I'm a DoD contracting officer. I value a pay check every other Friday, a middle class existence, and the chance to be home at 4:00 PM every day. I make far more than either of my parents did at the same age, so as far as I'm concerned, I made out all right.

At my operating location, my career field is filled with JD's who are/were escaping from law... so much so that I happily point out contracting as a viable career alternative. I still have many, many lawyer friends - almost all of whom hate their jobs, the working hours, or the people they deal with on a regular basis (other lawyers).

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jdbuddy (Sep 17, 2018 - 11:32 pm)

Congrats on the promotion. I plan on making the jump to being a warranted contracting officer someday as well. Might have to pick your brain in a more private forum for some career advice. But I have to second the fact that at my location most new hires are professionals (JDs, marketing, finance, ect) who are fleeing the private sector.

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lawst (Sep 8, 2018 - 5:35 pm)

I had a pie in the sky idea that I would go into big law or leverage my degree into business or real estate. None of those happened. I didn't do all that great in law school. I spent 7 years in criminal law, during which I was mostly miserable due to stress. I'm now an AA for the SSA. I feel disconnected from my attorney friends since they're still in criminal law. I don't even feel like I'm practicing law anymore. The compensation and benefits and low stress are pretty good, so that's what's keeping me going for now.

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palmtree19 (Sep 9, 2018 - 7:05 pm)

Went to law school because I graduated with a business degree in 2009/2010 and was single. Found it quite difficult to find a spouse and a job in college; didn't want to try to find both in the real world in a flyover state during an economic collapse. Had a good friend who was taking the LSAT and I borrowed her study guides and winged it.

Got into a good school. Family paid the tab. Had no expectations for job outcomes, but assumed I'd get to choose between a few large corporate firms on the east coast or being a country lawyer back home.

Hated law school with a passion, but didn't do too badly. Had zero desire to compete with my lunatic law school classmates for money and status after law school, so didn't apply to any law gigs. Was fortunate in undergrad that I had an internship at an elite financial firm in a very expensive city and learned quickly that 13 hours of Microsoft Word/Excel per day is bad for one's physiology/psychology/family/etc.

Ended up back home in flyover working with family and later picked up a "part time" ADA/PD job. Was shocked at the caseload and associated stresses. First three years were awful. Nearly quit ~15 times. At some point around year four, the clouds parted and I found myself with free time on the weekends and about as much knowledge of routine trial procedure as the judges. The stress load plummeted from there. It's a pretty good gig now, and my life is 100x more interesting than had I gone into finance or corporate law.

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physicssezno (Sep 9, 2018 - 9:25 pm)

Glad to see palmtree’s post. I’m in my 4th year, doing all Plaintiffs pi, Civil rights, some class actions. Wanted to be a trial lawyer, bring in clients and make money winning trials. Still trying to make it work. Didn’t expect such hostility among colleagues tbh or such a vicious cutthroat environment. I think I’ve touchened and smartened up a lot. Not sure what else I’d have done except this. I’ve been interested and reading about trial work since at least 2 years prior to law school.

I think the case load is nuts, esp in a major metro area where I am. That said the clouds are parting for me as wel. I hope things clear up a bit more to relieve more stress.

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