Originally Posted by Arrogant Bastard
Let me give you some unsolicited, off-the-cuff, and possibly unwelcome advice, because I was an English major who once had the same plan in life.
A lawyer and an english teacher are two entirely different professions, so when I hear someone say "Yeah, I'm aiming for law, but my safety is education," I facepalm. It sounds like you're picking a career based on what options you think are available to you, given your English major. That's not the right way to look at your career. Not the right way whatsoever.
Pick a career you want, and then tailor your major and your studies toward that career. Don't pick a career based on what you perceive to be the default choices left open to you. You will spend the majority of your life working. Don't let that work be something you felt you had to choose or fall into. Make it something you were the architect of.
You're going to hear people tell you "Oh, you're an English major? Guess you can either be a lawyer, a writer, or an educator." Fuck those people, dude. You can and should be what you want to be. If what you really want to be is either a lawyer or a teacher, so be it. But those professions are so radically different, in every possible dimension, that I have a hard time believing they're your two biggest passions in life. At the very least, educate yourself as fully as possible about both career choices. Because it takes a very different type of person to succeed in either one.
First of all thanks for the advice. Sometimes that unsolicited advice is the best advice. I appreciate your time.
I had no idea that lawyer with an education backup was such a popular plan. It's my plan because I'm very confident that I want to practice law and I have an educational background and I'd like to teach kids one day. Even if I do have success as a lawyer I intend on teaching later on in life.
I picked lawyer as my career of choice, and I originally had Philosophy as my major. I then changed it to English because I found English more interesting and I know I'll achieve good marks there. I also chose English because I'd love to become an English teacher one day.
I have more to say but I'll probably cover those bases in my next couple replies. See below.
Originally Posted by Kyoung05
How do you know that you "only want to be a lawyer"? Have you actually worked in a law office/firm? Observed the things lawyers do on a day-to-day basis? Have you seen the full spectrum of the legal practice, from public defender, to in-house counsel, to biglaw, to solo practitioner? If you have not, then you don't really KNOW you want to be a lawyer, you only think you do.
I turned down a job in a small law firm here in New Orleans this summer because the commute would've been a logistical nightmare. I also almost ended up volunteering at the New Orleans Public Defender's office, but I ended up realizing that the workload would've been too much given that I'm balancing two jobs right now.
However, I have an idea of the area of practice I'd prefer to specialize in, and I have reached out to professionals in that area. I enjoy criminal law, so I found a public defender. He's an older guy who started out in a big firm decades ago, moved on to smaller more specialized areas, and has been a PD for over a decade now. He has a genuine passion for the law and has always reached out to me to provide me with sound advice.
I definitely need to learn more about in house counsel and biglaw jobs. That's something I'd like to know more about. I'm sure I will get to that eventually -- I still have a couple years before law school.
At 19, it's hard to say that I "know" anything about anything right now. I do know that I have a genuine interest in the law and I'm not one of these people who thinks that going to law school gives you a license to print money. That probably sets me apart from 90% of the field right off the bat.
Originally Posted by Runningman411
The Louisiana market is also slow but not as bad as some areas. The salaries cited in the article for small and mid-sized firms is kind of low, even by Louisiana standards. I work in a small-mid sized firm and my starting salary 7 years ago was better than that. If you work hard and get into a nice sized firm in New Orleans, Baton Rouge or Lafayette, your starting salary should be plenty enough to live on.
The best advice that I can give you is to focus on relationships when you're clerking. Yes, your grades and writing ability matter but firms are looking for people that will fit into their culture. Summer clerkships are not the time to express your individuality or to show any irresponsible behavior. You can do that all you want when you're a partner. Just present yourself as a hardworking, responsible adult and you'll be fine. It's expensive to train and retain an associate. The last thing that firms want to do is to take a chance on someone, regardless of how smart that person might be.
Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
Yeah well pretty much any salary will be enough for me to live on. I could live on $30k a year EASILY down here in NOLA, and I don't have any plans to get married or have children in the next 10 years.
I appreciate your invitation btw. I'm sure I'll be PM'ing you soon!