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Should I Go to Law School?

Andrew Weltchek, http://weltcheklaw.com/, discusses Should I Go to Law School?

{Time to Read: 3 minutes}

Don’t do it unless you think you’ll enjoy it, and then don’t do it unless you can afford it.

“Should I go to law school?” is a common question. When occasionally asked my opinion, I have a standard answer: “Not unless you’ve worked in a law office.”

I don’t care if that means you’re the copy boy or the girl who delivers papers to the courthouse. Work in a law office and see if you can stand it. See if you’re the least bit interested in what the people do there. Because if you go to law school, most of the time working in a small law office is what you’re going to end up doing.

I also recommend reading 2 books:

  • A Civil Action, by Jonathan Harr. It’s a non-fiction inside account of a contentious lawsuit. Then watch the movie starring John Travolta and Robert Duvall, and see how Duvall, the bad guy lawyer, runs circles around Travolta, the heroic plaintiffs’ lawyer.
  • The Attorney Marketing Formula, an e-book by David Ward, available from David’s website, The Attorney Marketing Center. Although it’s relatively expensive, it is the single best description of what it takes to market yourself as a lawyer that I have read.

Afterwards, if you really think you want to go into business as a lawyer, the next step is deciding if you want to go to an elite, very expensive law school – because you want to clerk for a Federal judge, work in a white-shoe law firm or become a law professor. If not, don’t waste your money on anything more than the cheapest law school you can find in the town where you want to practice – because that school will give you contacts with local lawyers who are more likely to hire you after you get out.

It is not worth going into debt to go into law school, in my humble opinion. Find somebody to pay for you to go, or pay for yourself. It’s best if your parents can pay or you can get a scholarship. In any case, go to a school that you can afford. Go part-time at night, if you have to — preferably while working at a law firm. It is not worth coming out of school with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. Instead, you should come out with experience and contacts to get a good start on building a career.


Andrew Weltchek
Weltchek Law

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