Now that I’ve finished applying for the 5th Year Scholar Program at CMU, my next long-term career project is to apply to law school. I’ve got my books, I’ve got an enduring though sometimes conflicted interest in law school, I’ve got time on the weekends (sort of). Regardless of the outcome of the 5th Year Scholar Program application, I would not be matriculating until 2012 at the earliest, but I feel better being prepared to apply than fearing I would be unable to because of timing. In addition to studying for the LSAT, I’ve also been reading a few authors who have a lot to say about law school:
- Above the Law–A Legal Tabloid (like the Jon Stewart of lawyers).
- Anna Ivey on Law School (a former admissions office who published books on the process)
- Anonymous Lawyer (a terrifying fictional depiction of life at a big firm)
In this weekend of reading, the 3 major reasons I have heard against most people should not go to law school is: massive debt, unhappiness, lack of career flexibility. I am trying to think long and hard about how I will deal with each of these challenges as I prepare to apply for law school. My first (hubristic) impulse is to argue that I am the exception that proves the rule. That I will have less debt because, by working for the public interest at a non-profit, I will be eligible for loan forgiveness. That I will be self-aware enough to craft a career that I will be happy in, in any field. And that, if I really want to, I can use my talents and skills to work in whatever field I find joy in, and not be hamstrung by my degrees.
Hubristic hypotheses I will be working to refute/prove in the next year and a half of application prep.
“What then is the spirit of liberty? I cannot define it; I can only tell you my own faith. The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the minds of other men and women; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests alongside its own without bias; the spirit of liberty remembers that not even a sparrow falls to earth unheeded; the spirit of liberty is the spirit of Him who, near two thousand years ago, taught mankind that lesson it has never learned, but has never quite forgotten; that there may be a kingdom where the least shall be heard and considered side by side with the greatest.”–Justice Learned Hand
Umm, I didn’t know you were applying to law school! I’ll hook you up with some more books. 🙂 If you want to study for the LSAT together let me know. I could probably use the company!
Many of my family have been lawyers and these comments don’t apply to any of them. My father, uncle, brother, son and others seem to me to have fallen in love with the law, viewing it as a path to personal freedom of mind and spirit and a way to help others – in other words like a religious calling (though few were religious.) They practiced the law in many different ways and places, but all found it flexible enough to manoeuver within, to fulfill their evolving needs and loves.