Last week at the Lawyerist, Ivy Swensen offered a range of advice and options for students entering law school in a few weeks. Read the whole piece, but her basic advice is that the "pre-1L" should both prepare and relax as he or she heads toward the falls. Prepare by buying books and finding that first posted assignment (it will take longer than you think), and relax by reading for pleasure, hanging with friends, and taking this last chance to take a trip. Good enough.
Earlier this summer, Laura Bergus offered some wisdom on working during the pre-law-school summer. Her "0L Summer Work Advice" is also worth the read, even if it is too late, for these two tidbits:
1. Learn to work. Get some real jobs and prepare your mind and body for regular, intellectually challenging work.
2. Get out while you can: abandon the plan and don't go to law school at all.
With regard to number 2, I've written on this before. I'll say it again: If you are not sure you are called into the law, don't go to law school, particularly if you are incurring debt to do it. Just say no. Seriously!
Even in the past 12 months, a proliferation of voices has arisen trumpeting the problems of the growing law student population amidst a shrinking job market and rising debt loads. Along with these voices, even a law professor or two have risen to object to the way legal education is marketed.
The long and short of it is that if you are considering law school, step back and evaluate your motivations and prospects before you leap. I recommend these links as you ponder:
Third-Tier Reality: "My goal is to inform potential law school students and applicants of the ugly realities of attending law school. DO NOT ATTEND UNLESS: (1) YOU GET INTO A TOP 8 LAW SCHOOL; (2) YOU GET A FULL-TUITION SCHOLARSHIP TO ATTEND; (3) YOU HAVE EMPLOYMENT AS AN ATTORNEY SECURED THROUGH A RELATIVE OR CLOSE FRIEND; OR (4) YOU ARE FULLY AWARE BEFOREHAND THAT YOUR HUGE INVESTMENT IN TIME, ENERGY, AND MONEY DOES NOT, IN ANY WAY, GUARANTEE A JOB AS AN ATTORNEY OR IN THE LEGAL INDUSTRY."
Esq. Never, who writes about the "law school scam" and his search for any job after law school.
Above The Law's In Defense of Going to Law School, including the links and comments.
To be clear, I don't think legal education is a scam and I think the lawyer's calling is a high and honorable one. Yet I do believe that the current debt loads of most students are unwise, and that more students than ever go to law school for the wrong reasons. I am also very skeptical of the advice to "only attend a top 8 law school," since the research shows that it it is better to be in the top of your class at a lower-tier law school than it is to finish down the totem pole at Harvard or Stanford. (More on this later in the week, I hope).
In order to be wise, we need to consider out ways, seek wise counsel, and pray. And then we need to discern what the insights of such consideration, counsel, and prayer yield. And, then, most importantly, we need to have the will to act wisely.