Is LAW for you?
The decision to pursue the field of law is an important one – one that requires a great deal of self-assessment and reflection, research and exploration, and testing! First, it’s essential that you examine what’s at your core with regard to strengths, interests, and values [link to self-assessment page]. Second, explore exactly what law looks like in action. At the bare minimum, learn more though resources such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the American Bar Association, and books in the Career Center library. This is a good place to start, although we recommend that you take it one step further. Consider doing an information interview or a shadowing experience with a lawyer to hear firsthand about what it’s like to be in the profession. Try consulting the Alumni Career Network to connect with an alum who is practicing in the field of law. For a profile of alumna who attended law school, check out our Snapshots of Vocation page.
If by now you’re still seriously interested in pursuing law, it is recommended that you become involved in co-curricular and experiential learning activities that will allow you to develop skills that are critical to the profession. Opportunities such as an internship at a law office, a position in the Student Government Association, or becoming involved in the area of human rights through the Agape Center would provide very valuable experiences. The American Bar Association (ABA) suggests that "individuals who wish to prepare adequately for legal education, and for a career in law or for other professional service that involves the use of lawyering skills, should seek educational, extracurricular, and life experiences that will assist them in developing those attributes."
We encourage you to talk with your faculty members about your interest in law. Also, take advantage of meeting with a career counselor to discuss your career planning and decision-making process.
Adapted from: How to Get Into the Top Law Schools (R. Montauk, J.D.)
1) Your parents want you to be a lawyer. This is a big decision that should be yours alone.
2) You simply like to argue. After doing some research, you’ll quickly discover there’s much more to law than arguing!
3) You don’t know what else to do. If this is the case, it’s probably a good idea to embark on some serious self-assessment and career exploration. Set up an appointment with a career counselor to examine your strengths, interests, and options.
4) You want to help people. Without a doubt, the majority of lawyers entered the field to help others in one way or another. However, this is one of thousands of helping professions that exist. Make sure it’s the one that fits you best.
5) You want to work in a glamorous field. Law may sound glamorous, but it is actually a field that requires a lot of hard work and long hours. For some, the decision to enter law is based largely on the notion that it's a high-paying field. Income can change dramatically based on factors such as geographic location and the different sectors within the field of law. Once again, it’s important to do your research so that you can make an informed decision.