So You Want to Be a Lawyer?

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Television, Movies and the Media have glamorized the study and practice of law, inspiring countless numbers of men and women to attend law school and join the pursuit of justice.
While the practice of law may seem like the path to glory; prosecuting the accused, defending the innocent, making millions, associating with the rich and famous, it is more often than not endless hours of repetitive toil in a windowless room.
That is not to say that the law is not both exciting and stimulating; it certainly can be, but it can also be dull and monotonous.
Attending law school is a pathway to a multitude of careers and opportunities but it is not for the faint of heart.
I remember with perfect clarity, even after more than a decade, the look and tone in my contracts professor's voice when he told my first year class that "we were a sorry looking group of students and he was sure that a third of us would not make it to graduation".
He continued with a recitation of our various shortcomings and proceeded to systematically pick on and call upon the meekest students in the class.
While most law school professors are kind and informative, every school has at least one who views it as his mission in life to humble and humiliate students.
While these sobering pronouncements about the number who will fail to graduate are scary and frequent regardless of the law school you attend, they are frankly not true.
Most of my class made it through law school and many made it through with great success.
Law school is an amazing foundation for many jobs, even those not in the legal field because it teaches you how to problem solve, think about problems in creative ways and use reason to make arguments and win points.
These skills are life long and will serve you no matter what you ultimately decide to do as a career.
The most popular career paths for law students are big law firms where the money is, the district attorney's office where the glory is and the public defender's office where the justice is.
Other popular jobs are clerkships with judges, government jobs and smaller law firm jobs that offer a more personal touch.
While all these jobs offer interesting and challenging opportunities, you will not find yourself the star in a Steven Bochco or Dick Wolf drama.
The real practice of law is not filled with last minute witnesses, surprise evidence, or last minute deals.
The real practice of law is often painstakingly boring as you comb through endless piles of documents doing discovery or due diligence work.
Luckily this boring stage does not last forever and is only a learning process as you develop your career.
However, even as you shoulder more responsibility and take on more challenges, the work requires attention to detail and precision as often large sums of money or even more importantly lives are at stake.
The stress you felt trying to get your law degree pales in comparison to the stress you will shoulder as you try to serve your clients needs, however, the gratitude of a client can put a bounce in your step like few other things can.
Go to law school, get your degree but know that at graduation the work will only get harder, the challenges tougher but the payoffs will be rewarding for those who devote the necessary effort and enthusiasm to this great profession.
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