Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Deborah Jones Merritt: The Risks of Attending Law School

Deborah Jones Merritt (Ohio State), Risky Decisions:

Prospective law students continue to ask:  Should I go to law school?  What law schools are worth attending?  Which ones should I avoid?  Is there a price at which law school offers an acceptable investment? ... I outline here the top five risks that every 0L should consider before attending law school.

  1. The Price Is High
  2. You Buy It, You Keep It
  3. The Legal Job Market Continues to Change
  4. The Law School Admissions Market Is Volatile
  5. You May Not Like Law Practice

If you're considering law school, think about each of these risks as applied to your personal situation. If you have a full-ride scholarship or a lot of money, the price risk may not weigh too heavily for you--although you still need to consider the opportunity costs of attending school for three years. If you've already worked in a law-related organization, and feel comfortable with the profession's downsides as well as its benefits, the risk of disliking practice may be lower for you. But everyone should think through each of these risks, just as you would carefully weigh other life-altering decisions. The law schools will tell you the benefits of attending; it's up to you to identify the risks.

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