How do you know if law school is right for you? For me, it was my love of the Constitution that shaped my desire to learn the law. Others may want to go to law school for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they have been involved in the criminal justice system and want to influence the lives of those in the system. Maybe they grew up watching court-related TV and want to work with judges. Or maybe they are attempting to measure up to the expectations of family and friends. Law school certainly isn’t for everyone. So, I’ve compiled 3 steps designed to help you know if law school is right for you.
Step 1: Find a Purpose
The first step is to find a life purpose or goal and compare that to what law school might be able to offer. Law school is designed to help students become lawyers. Lawyers exist to benefit the lives of their clients. So, ask yourself, “what do I want to accomplish in life?” It would be best if your life goals contained some meaning. Here are some examples of good life goals and some goals that could benefit from more depth:
Good Life Goals:
- Creating safer communities
- Helping those who struggle to help themselves
- Helping businesses grow
- Contributing to organizations you care about
Goals with room for improvement:
- Be successful
- Make money
- Impress friends and family
Although law school certainly can bring success in achieving all the goals listed above (good or otherwise), many other job fields may also bring that same success. So, you should consider multiple educational paths before deciding that law school would be the best way to reach those goals.
For example, my life goal is to build up and support the Constitution and Constitutional rights. Law school has the power to give me the necessary tools to reach that goal. Not only does law school give me the tools to reach this goal, but it is one of the few avenues I can take to be influential in Constitutional law. So, going to law school is a logical path of reasoning.
Step 2: Get some Experience
After you have determined that you want to take a legal path to reach your goals, you should gain some early experience with the law. Outside of the classroom, you can seek out internships at law firms, look for jobs as a legal assistant, or find opportunities working at the courthouse. Inside the classroom, you can observe law classes, participate in law lecture series, and tour law schools. The reason for gaining some experience is to see how much you enjoy studying and learning the law. If you participate in these activities and find them distasteful, perhaps law school is not right for you.
Step 3: Evaluate
Step 3 is the most important and should be done constantly throughout steps 1 and 2. You must evaluate your life goals and how they match up with what law school can deliver. Additionally, you must evaluate whether your legal experience is exciting and invigorating or if it is dissatisfying.
In addition to the evaluation you complete in steps 1 and 2, there are so many other things you must evaluate including what kind of person you are and the cost of law school.
Even if you enjoy your legal experience and your goals line up with what law school offers, many people are still not able to keep up with the demands of law school. If you are more relaxed in your studies or have a difficult time wanting to read and write, law school may not be your best option. The cost of law school may also shape your ability to attend. Law school is expensive and if your goals are achieved through a cheaper option, perhaps law school is not for you.
Law school is an edifying experience where you can prepare to meet your goals, gain valuable life experience and grow in a very successful community. I hope law school is right for you as you prepare to become Law Schoolers.