Law School Myth #3: Law School Gives You Three More Years to Decide What to Do With Your Life

MazeAre you applying to law school because you want three more years to figure out what to do with your life? Guess what. That’s not the way this works.

You need to know where you want to work geographically, and what kind of work you want to do, well before graduation.

In fact, it’s helpful to know both of these things before the end of your first semester.

Summer Jobs Are Critical

Why? Because your summer jobs are critical in law school, and you can apply for your 1L summer job starting in December of your first year.

Arguably your 1L summer job is somewhat flexible. You can use it to explore a different area of the country or a practice area you’re not entirely committed to.

Your 2L summer job, however, is absolutely critical, and you will interview for this job at the end of your 1L summer. Let me repeat that. You will interview for your 2L summer position, the position that hopefully leads to a permanent offer after you graduate, before you even start your second year of law school!

If you’re not interested in working in the sort of environment that hires summer associates, you have a little more flexibility, since smaller firms and public interest organizations don’t generally hire quite so far in advance, but, even here, your summer jobs will strongly influence the job you can get when you graduate. The more experience you gain in the location and field you want to work in from the start, the better.

Know Why You’re There

The point is a basic one – you need to have a pretty good idea what you’re planning to do when you graduate, before showing up for your first law school class.

You’re not going to have much time to “explore your options” before you have to start making some far-reaching, life-changing decisions.

Read On:

More myths about law school, coming right up!

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Comments

  1. Very true again. Many lawyers take a job in school and that determines from there on out what they will do. Others are desperate for a job when they get out, and that determines what they do. Lawyers end up, very often, where they end up, not where they intended to go.

  2. Interesting you bring this up. A lot of people point out that law school is too expensive as a place to use to kick the can down the road, but they often forget that law school doesn’t even let you kick the can down the road. I occasionally talk to people who want to go to law school and talk about it as if it were college – a place to spend a few years discovering oneself. What they don’t seem to understand is that once you go to law school, the world will assume that you have completed your journey of self discovery and that you ended up discovering that you’re a lawyer. You are done deciding what to do with your life and you are now off to trade school to get a job in a particular technical profession. No one goes to accounting school or dental school with this mentality, but people do go to law school thinking this.

    • This, seriously: “What they don’t seem to understand is that once you go to law school, the world will assume that you have completed your journey of self discovery and that you ended up discovering that you’re a lawyer.”

      Love it.

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