Those who want to make a difference in the world may believe that they can help others by becoming an attorney. While there are many great reasons to become a lawyer, there are also many challenges as it relates to obtaining a degree and finding a job in the legal profession.
Law School is Just the Worst
Getting into law school is just the first step on the path to becoming a successful attorney. However, it can also be among the hardest steps on that path. You will likely spend most of your waking hours in class, doing coursework or studying for exams. Furthermore, getting a law degree can set you back $50,000 or more per year depending on where you go. Since you will be so busy attending classes and studying, there may not be any time to hold a job that allows you to defray a portion of that cost.
It's Highly Competitive
Visibility in popular legal directories is essential for attracting clients but can be a huge challenge for newer firms. Therefore, it may not be realistic to start your own firm or partnership the second that you get your legal degree. However, it can take years before you become a known commodity in an established firm.
You should expect to handle obscure cases with little or no recognition from your superiors, and you may also be expected to work on a pro bono basis when you first start out. To gain recognition in your profession, it may be necessary to write articles for a scholarly journal, start a website or attend seminars. Asking clients for referrals can also be helpful whether you work for yourself or as part of a larger firm.
There Are Many Ethical Rules to Follow
You must abide by a strict code of ethics when advertising your services, working with clients or speaking in court. Even an honest mistake could lead to a rebuke from watchdog groups or losing your license to practice law. Therefore, if you don't like following rules, the legal field may not be for you.
It is important that you think carefully about your decision to become a lawyer. Although it can be a rewarding profession, it will require a lot of time and money to establish yourself. Therefore, it is important to know that you are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to reach your true potential.
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