Honestly, now that the legal market is a whole new ball game, I would absolutely NOT recommend anyone go to law school unless you can get into top, top school and get top, top grades. There are no jobs otherwise. It’s really bad out there, even now, and no one (except perky recruiters) is optimistic about the next 2-3 years. I have plenty of friends who graduated from top schools who have no jobs or are working at firms that they shouldn’t have to work at.
And even if you make it and are living the dream, you really have to LOVE the law. Otherwise, you’re going to hate your life. I’ve been working at a top firm in NYC for six years, and I’m M-I-S-E-R-A-B-L-E. I’ve been engaged for two full years, and STILL can’t find the time to plan my wedding. How can I, when working 80 hours a week is a regular, not-too-bad week? (I start losing it when it hits 90-100.) I’ve grown apart from my friends since I don’t have the time or energy to maintain friendships. I’ve given up planning vacations, haven’t had one in years; I have no control over even a weekend. If I have a half day off, I’m super excited but end up getting upset because I don’t know what to do with myself. I have cultivated no hobbies. I used to love reading, but now, I can’t stomach anything more than Something Borrowed, Something Blue or maybe US Weekly since my brain is fried. I weigh 10 lbs more than in law school since I don’t have time/energy to hit the gym. I am easily irritated and get unreasonably angry at insignificant things. I can’t fathom having a pet, let alone a child.
And then, after all that, your partner reviewer at the end of the year may say to you, “You know, you are a superstar, but you really have to be prepared to give up your life. We don’t feel your dedication is up to par; you understand, you have to give up your life.”
LADY, WTF DO YOU MEAN. I DON’T HAVE A LIFE ANYMORE TO GIVE UP. YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY BEAT THIS DONKEY ANY HARDER.
I think, with my hours (3000+ in each of the past four years), I get paid less than someone who flips burgers at Mickey Ds.
Yes, I’m bitter. I look around me, and everyone I know is unhappy, too. Maybe not to the same extent, but I know they are unhappy.
Sorry for ranting and raving and being a Debbie Downer in general. I’m sure most practices aren’t like this at all, but I’m just saying, if you want to work at crazy BigLaw, think twice. And then pass it up.