Pre-law at OU
Varner Hall, Room 425
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(map)
(248) 370-2362
walters@oakland.edu

Is Law School Right for Me?

The decision to attend law school should not be made lightly or without thorough consideration of your motivations and resources. Because of the amount of time, effort, and money required to complete a law education, it is important that you research the realities of life during and after law school carefully, acquiring as much information as necessary to make an informed decision.

Researching what is involved in becoming a lawyer and what sort of career can be anticipated after completing law school may help you to realize that certain reasons for wanting to pursue a law education may not be strong enough to justify actually doing so. If you want to be a lawyer simply because you would like to please your family, because you like to argue, or because you want to make a lot of money, for example, understanding that the practice of the law often requires long, stressful hours and does not guarantee a salary larger than many other professions may change your mind.

You will also want to consider whether the personal goals you have set for yourself (or the anxiety that you may feel over a lack of personal goals) can be met or alleviated through other careers. Some students feel that they would like to instigate some sort of positive change in society after graduation, and see law school as a logical place to begin their good work; other liberal arts students struggling with how to use their degree may view law school as a viable fall-back plan or a way to avoid having to make an immediate career decision. It is important to consider that choosing law school for lack of a better plan commits you to years of expensive schooling for a career that you may or may not find you enjoy; and that there are many careers that would allow you to work toward positive social change without putting yourself through the emotional and financial strain frequently associated with law school.

To determine whether or not you want to be a lawyer, it is essential that you understand what “being a lawyer” really means. To do this, you will need to actively seek out information and personal experience. Whether you intern in a legal office, work as a paralegal, or even simply offer your time as a volunteer in a legal setting, your first-hand experience will do much to clarify your understanding of what it means to practice law – and will help you decide if law school is right for you.