If you are reading this it is likely because you are exploring the possibility of going to law school. It’s a big decision, one that very few people understand in 2022. Student debt is through the roof, first-year associate positions are harder than ever to attain, and the whole prospect of “the law” is dramatically different than it was for our parent’s generation. All of this is true, and yet, you may still have people in your life cheering you toward this undertaking with as much vigor and passion as ever. Why is that? What is it about the study of the law that calls us? What is it about the prospect of sitting in a cubicle for 60 hours a week that seems so glorious? Is it the prestige? Is it the paychecks that the chosen few first-year associates at AmLaw 100 firms get? Is it the prospect of feeling like you know something that your neighbors don’t understand? Is it the pressure of a family who believes this is a ticket out, or maybe even the only ticket?
Let me offer some clarity on why I believe an investment in law school is still worth it. Going to law school and being a lawyer are two very different things. We don’t all go to law school so we can be first-year associates, many of us go to law school because we feel called. We crave knowledge and understanding. We crave tools with which we can change the world around us. We crave options, open doors, and a little bit of control of our own destiny. We believe that even if we don’t choose to practice law in a traditional firm setting for an entire career, that we will be able to achieve a level of self-worth and satisfaction that another pathway would not offer. We know that if we become lawyers that there will always be a place for us in the conversation, even if we still must fight to get to the table (and we will). We know that our villages, towns, and cities need competent local leaders, our states need educated guidance, and that every company needs our help to successfully bring their inventions to the masses. We go to law school to learn how to learn, how to persuade, and how to teach. There are no more powerful skills.
Good luck in your search! We look forward to celebrating your graduation in a few short years.
NCBF Civic Education and Community Engagement Committee