Thinking About Law School – Part 1: The Downside

Law School will consume you. It will eat into your free time, social life, relationships, and your wallet. It is stressful, exhausting, frustrating, and devastating. To survive, you are going to have to be very good at time management and sufficiently disciplined to religiously apply those skills.

I went through law school on a part-time basis being loath to give up the benefits that came with my full time job. Over the course of a week I would, on average, put in 40 hours at my job, 12 hours in class and 36 hours studying. Leaving 80 hours for eating, sleeping, commuting, shopping, and all the other myriad of things one does in one’s life. You can do it all, but you really have to prioritize.

You are going to invest a large sum of money, in most cases the equivalent of a modest 3 bedroom house, into your law school education and end up competing for a job with a starting salary in the neighborhood of $50,000 unless you are among the lucky 5% that find employment with BIG LAW and a its big salaries and 70+ hour work weeks.

I went into law school knowing that my first job would entail a pay cut. In my naivete, I had assumed it would be something on the order of 10-20% and that by my third year of practice I’d have passed my  old salary by. It was a rude awakening when reality stuck its head in and my envisioned 20% was really 50% and that it would be 5-7 years before I’d catch up. These were not comforting number. My best advice, don’t see law school as a means to big money that road leads to disappointment and disillusionment. Treat is as an end in itself and let the future come in its own time