How do you know if you should go to law school?

Prospective law students need to consider their own motivations, actual aspirations, legal experience and willingness to work long hours. The value and payoff of a law degree has declined significantly as of 2014, making it extremely important for prospective lawyers to consider their actual job prospects.

Above all else, students need to consider their actual motivations for becoming lawyers. If the urge to practice law stems from a desire for wealth or the kind of excitement seen on television dramas, law school might not be the best choice. Although many lawyers do draw high salaries, most law school graduates are not hired by top-paying firms immediately after graduation. The cost of a law degree also typically requires substantial amounts of student loans, resulting in high monthly payments.

Prospective lawyers also need to understand the reality of a career in law. Hours are long and the work is often both tedious and stressful. Those considering law school should ideally have some experience in the legal field, whether it’s an internship or a paid position at a law firm. This type of hands-on experience can help students determine whether law is the right career for them. Students should also attempt to sit in on a variety of law classes, not just the most interesting courses. A law career requires vast knowledge of codes and statutes, and students should make sure they are prepared to absorb this often mundane information.