In the grand scheme of life, law school doesn’t take very long to complete, usually two years. However, it is expensive, and you should be sure about your decision before you enroll.
A career in law offers both advantages and disadvantages. You get to work for the cause of justice and usually earn a good salary doing it. However, there are also long hours and heavy responsibilities to consider. Before you make any definite decisions about your career path, ask yourself the following questions.
1. Do You Want to Be a Lawyer?
This is a very basic question but one that needs to be considered first. You do not necessarily have to become an attorney to pursue a career in law. There are other jobs that are part of the legal profession, such as court reporters Seattle, that allow you to make a comfortable living doing what interests you without having to invest the time and effort it would take to go to law school and earn a Juris Doctor degree. Before you commit to law school, consider whether an alternate career path within the law profession might not suit you better.
The rest of these questions assume that you do want to become a lawyer.
2. How Much Do You Want to Earn?
As with most careers, you cannot expect to earn as much as a new lawyer as seasoned professionals in their field. It is rare to reach your full earning potential within the first couple of years. Nevertheless, you have economic realities to face, and you may require a certain salary to be able to live comfortably. Your earning potential should not be the only factor when you consider whether to be a lawyer and, if so, what kind, but it is a practical consideration that you should not discount completely.
3. How Comfortable Are You with Multitasking?
Do you prefer to have one task to work on at a time and concentrate all your time and energy on it until it is completed? Or do you enjoy having several different tasks to work on at the same time? If you do not enjoy multitasking, it does not necessarily mean that you shouldn’t be a lawyer, but it does mean that you should consider your practice area carefully. If you become a public defender or a district attorney, you have to keep a lot of balls in the air at the same time. If that thought intimidates rather than excites you, it is a sign that you should choose another area of law for your practice.
4. How Much Decision-Making Responsibility Do You Want to Take On?
As a newer member of a law firm, you may be required to defer decision-making to the senior members of the firm. Would you be comfortable with that, or would you prefer to take the reins early on? This can affect your decision to become a lawyer and influence the area in which you want to practice.
5. What Kind of Work Schedule Do You Want?
Some attorneys work longer hours than others, and some have more predictable work schedules than others. You must take both aspects into consideration when deciding on a law career. Do you have family commitments that require you to work the same hours every day, or would you prefer a changeable schedule in which you may work different hours from week to week? A true work-life balance may be an ideal that is impossible to reach. Instead, choose a practice area that allows you to work a schedule that best fits into your larger life.
6. How Much Contact Do You Want with People?
When answering this question, you need to consider how much interaction you want with clients as well as how much collaboration you want with fellow members of your law firm. If you would prefer to work alone most of the time, that is something that you need to be honest with yourself about when you are deciding whether you want to go to law school and, if so, what you want to practice upon completing it.
In the grand scheme of life, law school doesn’t take very long to complete, usually two years. However, it is expensive, and you should be sure about your decision before you enroll and have a least an idea of what you want to do afterward.