It is no surprise that law is one of the most decorated professions across the world. Every year, thousands of students prepare to step into the legal industry with hopes of being an inspiring lawyer.
Year over year, the competition only gets more fierce for the most coveted seats in the top-ranked law colleges in the country. The number of applications saw an increase of 31.7% for the enrollment year of 2021.
That said, law school is a serious commitment. If you are pondering over this career choice, you must weigh in all the merits and drawbacks before you take the plunge.
The Pros of a Law Degree
Diverse and Transferable Skills
Although a JD degree primarily trains you to become a lawyer, you do not always have to practice law inside a courtroom to be one. A Law degree prepares you with dozens of skills that have a variety of applications. You will hone your problem-solving, critical-thinking, communication, and negotiating skills that are relevant to many other industries. Moreover, lawyers can find jobs in all walks of businesses-from corporate to technology.
High Earning Potential
Law is certainly a lucrative profession. Even the lowest-paid 25% of lawyers make a median salary of over $80,000 annually, which is well above the average income of the country. The financial reward might take a few years, but you can certainly have considerable income growth within a few years in the field.
As a lawyer, you have a built-in mechanism to give back to society through pro bono work. You will be able to use your skills for the betterment of the community through volunteering, or by simply doing your job. You can take your pick from environmental law, animal law enforcement, or work with the government in order to contribute.
The Cons of A Law Degree
Being a lawyer can be high-paying, but it might take you a while to get there. And if you took a student loan to cover your educational expenses, you will be heavily burdened by the debt, at least for the first few years. It is best recommended to look for scholarships or grants to make your path to a law degree easier.
Hectic Work Schedule
You might be passionate about your job, that does not mean you will always enjoy the exhaustive work and hours. A typical work week will well exceed 40 hours – and could go up to even 60 or 70 hours a week at big corporate law firms. Moreover, you have to be available for your clients around the clock. It might be tricky to find a job that offers the ideal work-life balance you seek.
As exciting as you expect your career to be, you will be starting as an associate. It will demand long hours of support work and legal research. You might even have to wait for a few years to get your first solo trial. That said, it would depend on the size of your firm, and how they allow work to fresh graduates.
Being a lawyer means you have the opportunity to make a tremendous difference in the lives of people. You can opt to practice law or switch to another career where lawyers are welcome. Understanding the pros and cons will help you make an informed decision before investing time in this choice.