Should I Go To Law School? 3 Reasons For and Against

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated December 3, 2021 | Published February 25, 2020

Updated December 3, 2021

Published February 25, 2020

a man speaking to a woman while seated at a conference table

Before making the decision to go to law school, it's a good idea to evaluate your motivations and whether you’d truly enjoy a career as a lawyer. In this article, we explain the traits of people who should go to law school and a few reasons law school might or might not be the right next step for you.

Who should go to law school?

Going to law school is a significant personal and financial investment. This is especially true if you choose to go to law school and then after completing your program, you decide to no longer pursue a career as a lawyer. For this reason, you should seriously consider whether law school is right for you before pursuing this career path.

A few common traits that lawyers often share include:

  • Strong communication skills, with the desire to use both written and oral communication skills on a regular basis

  • Excellent public speaking skills

  • Solid, confident judgment-making abilities

  • The ability to absorb and interpret large amounts of information

  • Strong research skills

  • A passion for working with people

  • Perseverance

Additionally, aspiring lawyers must also be able to work well under pressure and make high-level decisions with ease. Without these important qualities, an aspiring lawyer may find they do not enjoy this profession and likely will be unsuccessful in pursuing it.

Read more: Learn About Being a Lawyer

3 reasons to go to law school

The following are good reasons to consider going to law school:

1. You want to become a lawyer

It's important to do ample research to truly understand what being a lawyer means. This could include interviewing and/or shadowing a lawyer, reading legal journals, participating in a job or internship in the legal field and other related activities. If after spending considerable time researching and exploring the legal field you still want to become a lawyer, this is often a good reason to go to law school.

Related: Law School FAQ: Everything You Need To Know

2. You want to make a positive impact

Being a lawyer can provide ample opportunities to positively affect the lives of other people. Whether you’re working as a civil rights lawyer or a family attorney who advocates for children, a legal career is a great way to help others.

3. You want a range of career opportunities

Pursuing a law degree can open the door for several career opportunities aside from being a lawyer. Examples include becoming a judicial clerk, a judge, a law professor or a politician.

Related: 11 Jobs in Law You Can Get Without a Law Degree

3 reasons to reevaluate law school

While there are several good reasons to consider law school, you shouldn’t pursue law school for the wrong ones:

1. You want to make a lot of money

While being a lawyer can certainly be profitable, a high salary isn't always guaranteed in this career. In fact, many lawyers make a comparable salary to other professions that require less stress and even less education. Lawyers who do make a significant salary typically work 80 or more hours a week and rarely have time off, meaning they sacrifice their personal life for their career.

2. Your family wants you to go to law school

It's common for individuals with parents or family members who are lawyers to be pressured into going to law school themselves. While having a family member who practices law is a great way to learn more about this profession, it doesn't necessarily mean that it’s the right career path for you.

3. You don't know what else to do

Deciding on a career path can be difficult, especially if you’re nearly done with your bachelor's degree and still don't know what you want to do after graduation. However, deciding to go to law school simply because you don't know what else to do is not the best reason to pursue a career as a lawyer.

Related: ​​What Is the Fastest Law Degree You Can Get? (With Examples)

How to determine if you should go to law school

When considering law school, ask yourself the following questions to determine if this career path is right for you:

  • What kind of law careers are available in my area? If you plan on staying in the same location to practice law, you should consider what opportunities are available to you.

  • Why do I want to go to law school? Law school is a serious commitment. People who are not truly interested in or passionate about a career in law can quickly become discouraged while attending law school.

  • What do I want to do after law school? Knowing how you want to use your future law degree is an important step in finding out if you should actually go to law school. If you’re unsure about career paths, it may be best to take time off from additional schooling or consider another career before going to law school.

  • Have I done enough research on law school and becoming a lawyer? Law school is an enormous investment, and a career as a lawyer is a commitment that requires extensive education, experience and dedication. Ensure you’ve done as much research as possible to truly understand becoming a lawyer.

Related: 15 Tips To Help You Succeed in Law School in Your 30s

Law school FAQs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about going to law school:

Is it worth it to go to law school?

Becoming a lawyer is an intense process involving years of study and coursework. It can be difficult to get into law school, but it’s required to obtain a law degree and pursue various related career paths. However, you may decide that law school isn’t for you and take the bar exam without it to get your license in some states. Currently, Washington, Vermont, California and Virginia are the only states that allow this, while you can practice law in a few other states without a juris doctorate but still need some law school experience.

Read more: Can You Take the Bar Exam Without Going to Law School?

How long does it take to complete law school?

Most law school programs take three years to complete if you attend on a full-time basis. Some law programs offer part-time options that can take four or more years to complete. Before becoming eligible to attend law school, you must first earn a bachelor's degree as well as take and pass the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).

Related: 7 Steps to Law School: Pre-Law Requirements

What kind of classes will I take in law school?

You can expect to take several common courses throughout law school, including torts, civil procedure, criminal law, legal methods and contracts. Some college subjects you might take prior to law school include statistics and data science, American history and government, communication and close reading and reasoning.

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