Originally Posted by godofcoffee
As somebody with a CS degree who decided to go to law school, I think it just depends on what you're interested in: programming and legal work can be interesting in different ways.
I also think that so long as you're comfortable accumulating tonnes of debt, law school can sometimes be a better financial proposition in the long run and a more secure job (it's non-outsourcable because of regulations,
and the learning curve is much longer than in programming).
You also get to wear suits a lot more often.
While this is currently the case I do not believe it will be so for very long. I practice a lot in criminal defense and I already see the effects that video-conferencing can have on court proceedings. Everything except for trial so far can be conducted via video conference and I've seen defendants at prisons be conferenced in, as well as attorneys in other areas of the state be conferenced in for many court appearances. It is even more so in other fields. Depositions can be taken by video conference. Documents can be prepared at a distance and emailed in, with many courts now opening up to electronic filing. Again, aside from actual trial work I do not see any other aspect of the legal practice that cannot be done at a distance.
It's true that many jurisdictions require a practicing attorney have an office in the jurisdiction, but that doesn't mean the lawyer has to actually work in that office. He or she can maintain it as a satellite office staffed with just a secretary.
I foresee not long in the future (10 years or so) that a lot of legal work will be outsourced. If customer service can be outsourced to India there's no reason attorneys can't either. Have the foreign worker go to Thomas Cooley School of Law, which will no doubt begin to offer a distance learning option, then have them pass the bar in Wisconsin or Iowa and transfer in to other states. It will be a process, but I don't see things improving for the attorney occupation in the near future.
Until fully realistic holograms are on the market I suspect trial work will still exist for domestic lawyers; but anything that can be done without setting foot in court will be. People want cheaper legal services and it's just a matter of time until we outsource every job in the whole country.