Recent grads shouldn’t get their hearts set on “having it all.” The practice of law is demanding — exceedingly so. It is next to impossible to balance a full-time legal career with marriage, children and regular trips to the gym. It’s no coincidence that the two women most recently nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court — now-Justice Sonia Sotomayor and nominee/U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan — are unmarried and childless.I've said this once, and I'll say it a hundred times, even the ideal life for an attorney is far from ideal. Instead of making dinner for your husband, you order dinner on your client's tab and bring him the leftovers. That is not the way that most women want to live.
If I could say it any better, I would. But she summarizes it so well. I know that it's hard for lemmings to believe the scam bloggers when we might be the exception to the rule. But we're right about what all attorneys know to be true, being an attorney is not all it's cracked up to be.
Yes, you may be one of the "lucky" ones, make law review and get the premier job at the premier firm. But will that make you happy? Probably not.
Ms. Wu challenges to assumptions that most lemmings make when they go to law school:
So why do we move this to the category of “very very good advice?” Because, in our minds, for too long a notion has been perpetuated that with a law degree comes happiness. That notion rests on two faulty premises, one of which has been discussed much in recent years, the other less so.So, let's summarize. You either land the dream job and have no life OR you land the shit job and have no money. Why does anyone want to join the legal field? Yes there are exceptions to my general rule, but they are few and far between. Of course, if you go to law school on a full scholarship, the chances of you finding a low paying--but enjoyable--job as a lawyer are drastically increased. But most people go to law school of Aunt Sallie's dime. So, please heed Ms. Wu's warning, if you don't think mine is worth listening to.
The first assumption is that a law degree is a ticket to a well-paying job. As we and countless other blogs have chronicled in recent years, that’s just not true. Even when the job market was humming right along, back in 2005-2007, many students from schools outside the top-tier struggled to get jobs.
The second assumption — which Wu addresses — is that once the good job comes along, happiness will follow. But that’s simply not true. Even the best and the brightest — those who sailed through the top schools — often find themselves crushed by the obligations of the legal profession: the drudgery, the long hours, the tedious travel to uninspiring destinations. It may be true that you can squeeze in a successful legal career, a marriage and kids, and a hyper-efficient daily exercise routine. But chances are, there might not be time to learn Italian, write the Great American Novel, run your local community garden.