Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Tucker Max, author of I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell and a 2001 Duke Law School graduate who resigned from the summer associate program at Fenwick & West in Palo Alto after an infamous drunken escapade at a charity auction, has written Why You Shouldn’t Go To Law School on his blog (language warning):
At some point in their life, everyone thinks they should go to law school. You may in fact think you want to go to law school now. You’re wrong. I don’t know you, I have no idea what the facts of your life are, but that doesn’t matter, you aren’t the exception:
For the overwhelming majority of people (>99.9%), law school is the wrong choice.
How can I know this? Because I’ve been you -- I went to law school for the same reasons you think you should go -- and I was wrong. I should never have gone to law school, and you shouldn’t either. ...
The 6 Wrong Reasons To Go To Law School
- “I like arguing and everyone says I’m good at it.”
- “I want to be like Jack McCoy from Law & Order [or insert your favorite legal TV show character].”
- “It’s the only way I can think of to use my humanities degree.”
- “I want to change the world/help homeless people/rescue stray kittens/do something noble.”
- “I don’t know what else to do.”
- “I want to make a lot of money.”
... Now, ask yourself the question again: “Why do I want to go Law School?”
If ANY of the 6 above reasons describe why you want to go to law school, stop now. Seriously. No qualifiers on this statement, just stop. DO NOT GO. You will regret it.
If you think you have one of the good reasons to go to law school you’re still not out of the woods: ...
There are many perfectly valid reasons to go to law school. You may very well have one of them. But even if your reason for going to law school is rock solid, you still need to consider one major thing: Debt. I’ve mentioned this multiple times above, because it is so crucially important to making the right decision about law school. Debt is the elephant in the room that law schools never tell you about, but ends up dominating your life.
Here is the funny thing about this piece: Every bit of knowledge in this piece was conferred to me before I got to law school. Much of it was told to me BY LAWYERS who repeatedly stressed how much they HATED their jobs. At this point, even the ABA is telling college kids not to go to law school.
You know what I did? I f***ing ignored it. I mean, sure all of those other a**holes may be miserable and may hate the legal profession, but what do they know, they’re only lawyers? If you’re laughing at my ignorance, you’re right to laugh. I was stupid.
Don’t be me. Don’t go to law school. Go do something with your life that you’ll enjoy, is rewarding and productive and makes the world a better place. ...
Further reading: This document echoes essentially everything said above on the topic. A good first person account. More first person accounts. A real lawyer breaks down the fallacies of other common pro-law school arguments. And a great collection of real data about law schools and their placements rates.
Special Question: But I’m already in law school. What do I do now?
Quit. I’m totally serious. Quit. Today. Walk away, while you still have time. No qualifiers, no half-steps. Walk out now, before the golden handcuffs are slapped on.
(Hat Tip: Legal Blog Watch.)