Lawyers, You Think You Have It Bad? Try Being a Photographer

by Vault Education Editors | January 28, 2011

  • My Vault

There's an ABA Journal story about law school "scambloggers" spitting blog invective at law schools for reasons you probably already know. But I don't want to get into that right now, because it's been rehashed so often, and because it's Friday. I just want to point out a couple interesting things from the comments section.

This comment from user Juniper shows that there are, in fact, very level-headed people out there capable of making prudent decisions about law school.  

I got into schools ranging from top ten to tier 3. I was offered a very nice scholarship to one of the lower ranked schools and chose it (Tier 2). I may have to battle for a job when I get done, but I’ll have maybe 20k in debt, which is less than my Master’s. I am also attending part time and working as an engineer by day. As long as I don’t mess it up, worst case scenario I stay on at my current job after graduating. I’ll have a 20k law degree, which will certainly not hurt me in life, and I’ll be able to pay it off in no time if it isn’t already. I make more now than most of my recent law school grad friends.

And I'd like to note that there should be more people like commenter Correspondence study attorney, who shows that lawyering is not about dollars, but about unyielding joy and passion.

I am not a traditional law school graduate. I obtained my undergraduate degree and worked until I was let go during the economic downturn in 1991. I got involved in a couple of civil cases, representing myself, and learned I really liked the lawyering business. I did not want to attend an ABA accredited school because at my age I would never be able to obtain a ROI. Thus, I enrolled in a correspondence school in California. I had problems with the school as I had to practically beg to have my exams graded. Eventually, I graduated and passed the bar exam. Others were not so lucky. The school was closed and other students were left with debt and no transcript to transfer to another school.

I knew at my age and not graduating from a top tier school would limit my opportunities. So I started a solo practice. I am just now making enough money to be self sufficient. I had to take part time jobs outside of the legal field just to keep afloat. But I had a vision and enjoyed what I was doing. It has taken me five years to get to the point where I am not dependent on a second job. It has not been easy. There is serious competition for business and the consumer knows this. I have had to adjust my rates accordingly and in some cases decline business.

I stuck with it because I really enjoy what I do.

And finally, this comment shows that sometimes you get so involved in your own stuff you forget to take a broader perspective. 

Hello - I’m not a lawyer (I came across this story by accident), but I find it hard to have sympathy for a bunch of very smart people (smart enough to get through law school) who didn’t do their due diligence about job prospects. I know the economy took a dive, but hey, there are millions of graduates in all fields, some with masters and PhDs, who can’t find a job either, not to mention all the laid off workers with 20+ years of experience. I’m a photographer - you don’t even need a degree to be a photographer and now the cameras do half the work for you, so guess how over-saturated MY world is? At least with a law degree you have a valuable life education you can use in many ways, either in law or any other kind of business.

So, lawyers, you think you have it bad? Try being a photographer!

[ABA Journal]

Filed Under: Education

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