Originally Posted by CTGuy
RJ: The lawyer comments are spot on. I can totally see it and I would likely put myself with one foot in that category. Probably like many lawyers though (and law students) I do not see myself as totally adhering to the classic lawyer mold. Going to law school for me was a combination of ending up back in Hartford after I graduated, working a shitty job in insurance and what I see as a strange oedipal approval seeking thing since my Dad (who was an attorney) died in college.
Whether law school was the best fit for me- I just cannot really say. There is a lot about what I have done as a part time clerk that makes me think practicing I will be a good attorney, but there is plenty about law school that has served mostly as a learning experience in terms of what my major shortcomings are. I'm objective, hardworking, good with people, knowledgable on a wide range of subjects, and generally pretty humble in terms of doing busy work when it needs to be done. On my weak side- I am not terribly well organized- big picture is frequently more important to me, and I keep a lot of things in my head instead of on paper, which does not appear to be the best trait for an attorney.
Taking the bar right now, I think my ideal job would be something that gave me the potential to learn the legal side of business or simply a business so that down the line I could do something more entreprenuerial. While I would definitely do the Big Law or even Medium Law thing right now to pay the bills, realistically I can't see myself doing it for the rest of my career and being happy. RJ is on point with respect to how law school fits into things with my life view- I went to law school because I knew I wanted something bigger and better, but I didn't know what or how, but since I was an opinionated, young bookworm, I went to law school.
I suppose my questions have a lot to do with coming out of school for the first time and maybe making some decent money, feeling mildly secure, and feeling like there are options out there in terms of what I want to do with my life.
Well, good luck. I agree that passing the bar is one of those life-changing events.
Seeing the big picture is a virtue that many/most lawyers don't have, but that all of them need. The problem is that you'll be going bits and pieces of work for years before getting that opportunity.
I can honestly say that I am the happiest, by far, of all my law school classmates. At an alumni meeting last year, I was the only one of a group of 8-9 people who said they'd go to law school again; this, despite the fact that most of them made double my government salary.
So, my advice? Try to find the type of work you want to do, and compromise on everything else to do that (location, pay, hours). If you don't think you'll like BigLaw, don't start there.
Failing that, try to get into as established a firm as you can, and then look to fill a void (in my firm, the litigation partners hated to write, and they didn't like the way the appellate guys wrote their briefs, so I filled that need), and then move after you've impressed a client or a partner who departs. One friend went in-house to a real estate start-up that way.
Really, though, I've gotta admit that there are a stunning number of options for someone with a law degree.
But, yeah, my life has never been the same since I opened that letter that started: "On behalf of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners, I am pleased..."