Time for a Career in Law for You?

Unlike my friends in Europe, who have to decide on what career they want to have early on in their school path and such, we are lucky here in the United States. We can make life and career changes at the drop of the hat. They live in a much more regimented structure.

I was unhappy with my career, so, I went back to law school. It was a bit risky, since I was going to have to run up quite a large student loan debt in the process, but I thought it was worth it. Frankly, I wasn’t sure I was cut out for it and was worried about failing out. I know quite a few lawyers and they all warned me against it, but I showed them in the end.

The first year of law school was amazingly difficult. The professors were out to get students in class and humiliate them, as they are trying to weed out the weak. You also need to learn how to read in an entirely different way and also to think in a logical way that is unique to the law. It is not what you would anticipate.

The hardest thing about getting to where I am currently as a practicing lawyer was actually the bar exam. After three years of law school you probably think that you’d be ready for that test, but frankly, I was not. The entire experience is completely exhausting and will take every bit of energy and knowledge you can muster. Plus, the test is just plain odd. You go through law school taking essay tests the entire time, with the proper answer almost always being shades of gray, and then you get to the bar exam and an entire day of the test is multiple choice questions.

After that, I just got truly fortunate. I started from the beginning as a solo practice lawyer, which I do not recommend for people. But in my case, I got a couple good cases referred to me early by some friends of mine and got lucky to get my practice up and running fairly fast. Even then, it was about a three-year slog to get to the point where I was actually making a reasonable amount of money. Personally, I think joining a firm, whether big or small, and learning from other lawyers is the best way to go.

What I do think though is that more people should be considering this for a mid-life career change. It was the best decision I made in my life.