I have been inspired by the attention this article has recently received and have decided to start my own "scamblog" to discourage people from applying to law school. If I can discourage one person from applying to law school, I will consider this time well spent.
For some context, I just finished my second year of law school at a second tier school in a second tier city. My experience finding summer jobs has been dicey. While I have found employment both summers, both jobs are unpaid and not in the city where I hope to some day live. Work study has enabled me to squeak by (by which I mean I can manage my rent and not much else) and the sad part is that I am well aware this puts me among the more fortunate of my classmates, many of whom have not been able to find anything law-related for their resumes. Paying jobs are a myth - I know of very few people from my school who have found jobs that pay actual salaries this summer, and that includes several people who are on Law Review.
There are many reasons not to go to law school - crushing debt, bleak job prospects, the lies law schools tell. I will get into all of those reasons but for my first post I want to focus on something that does not quite fall under the "scam" heading. Too many people go to law school for the wrong reason. I was one of those people.
A year out of college, I was a starry eyed Ivy League grad who saw the world through rose-colored glasses. The economy had not collapsed just yet, I was working in a big city and I was caught up in the idea that tons of opportunity was at my fingertips. I had no desire to ever step foot in a classroom again. And then came the pressure. My parents convinced me that law was my meal ticket, not my B.A. in English. Numerous people, in fact, convinced me that there was nothing else one COULD do with such a degree, except for law school. Despite the fact that I had finally established some semblance of financial stability (a decent job, no more credit card debt and a dent in my undergraduate loans, albeit a small dent), I threw caution to the wind, took the LSAT, applied to law school, and ended up at a second tier school in another city. Lo and behold: more debt, more interest, a collapsed economy and years spent studying something that interests me less than watching paint dry. It's not that I exactly went in blind - I had read blog posts, and saw how bleak the job prospects were and how low the professional satisfaction was. But I let myself get caught up in the moment, turned on those rose-colored glasses I am famous for and followed the current.
Some nights, when I can't fall asleep, I think of how simple my life was before I started law school. I know it could not have stayed quite that carefree forever. But I wish I could go back to that time and choose differently, follow my instincts, and just wait things out in my dead-end but stable job until I found something I really enjoyed. These nights when I can't sleep I pray that it is not too late for me - that I will find SOME kind of professional life that will make me happy outside of law. No one understands my misery in this field - not my parents, not my friends... even some of my classmates are puzzled by it. But when I read the other blogs, I somehow don't feel quite as alone in this mentality.
So I might be shouting into the wind, but hopefully someone will read this and reconsider lawschool. Failing that, maybe some other unhappy and disappointed law student or recent grad will read this and not feel quite so alone.