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by Vault Law Editors | March 10, 2009

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DEAR HILLARY:

I am currently working in a post-college job where I make a good salary and am enjoying the work. However, I have always wanted to go to law school. How do I decide if it is the right move for me?

Sincerely,
P.R.

DEAR P:

You are wise to give this some serious thought. Law is a wonderful profession but its important to know what you are getting into. Have you thought about what type of lawyer you want to be? Many people go to law school without any conception of what lawyers do other than what they have seen on Law and Order or Ally McBeal. Its a good idea to visit law school classes and talk to as many practicing lawyers as you can before signing up.

Some lawyers go to court everyday while others have never set foot in a classroom. Some lawyers work from 9am to 5pm while others burn the midnight oil every night. Its also a good idea to shadow a lawyer you know, and follow them around during the course of a business day to get an idea of what they do. You also have to be ready to hit the books when you go to law school so its a good idea to work for a year or two if you are not completely ready to do that.

In terms of which law school to attend, you should think about where you would like to practice. Many law schools have on-campus interview programs which concentrate primarily on law firms and agencies in their particular geographic region. It sometimes makes sense to attend a law school in the state in which you plan to practice. For more information about law school and law school rankings check out the law school admissions council at www.lsac.org . For more information about the legal profession and jobs for lawyers, check out the vault.com law board books, and also the National Association for Law Placement web site at www.nalp.org.

After you do your research into the legal profession, you might want to compare it with your own current profession. If you do stay in your current position, where will it lead in terms of salary, title progression, and work/life balance? What about down the road? Will you follow a comparable career path to law, or will you reach a dead end at some point?

I know thats a lot to think about. Good luck with your decision.

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Filed Under: Law

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