QI think I already know the answer to my question, but I guess I just want to hear it from someone else. I’m a 1L at a tier-four law school. I have a B- average, and my rank is 64/132. My hope is that I was able to improve my grades this semester. If I do well, it may still be a slow climb to the type of GPA employers are looking for, and again, being at a fourth-tier school doesn’t help.
My question is: Should I continue with law school? I’m 31, I have good amount of experience in publishing, and although I find certain areas of the law (i.e. copyrights, cyber law, etc.) interesting, I’m not passionate about it. I’ve already started googling alternative careers for people with JDs.
I decided to change careers because I’ve always wanted to attend law school, my past professors and a friend who is a Harvard Law graduate all suggested I go, and I want to provide my “future” family with a more comfortable existence. However, with my grades, the rank of my law school, and my ever-increasing student loan debt, I don’t think I’ll be able to achieve the results I was hoping for.
Plus, I’m absolutely miserable. I hate the Socratic method, I hate the idea of reading a bunch of cases that would be much easier to comprehend if the judges weren’t such poor writers, and I especially hate the attention the students in the top 10% get.
I understand why employers are interested in top-ranking students, but it just makes me wonder: If all employers care about are students in the top 10%, why should the rest of us even continue with law school? What’s the point?
AIf you don’t want to be a lawyer, don’t go to law school. Or, in your case, don’t finish law school. But, you need to come to that decision on your own.
As for class rank and all that, it’s relevant in terms of finding a job at a reputable firm, but it’s not everything. As you suggest, 90% of the class doesn’t graduate in the top 10%, yet many of them get great jobs and go on to do interesting things.
Having said that, if you DON’T LIKE THE LAW, there’s no point finishing. You have two years left. That’s a long time and a lot of money. Also, if your goal really is to get a job at a Big Firm, you’re right—you’re wasting your time. Middle of the class at a lower-tier school will not get it done. You would have more success with smaller firms in smaller cities—with smaller salaries. If that’s not interesting to you, quitting is a no-brainer.
But, IF YOU WANT TO BE A LAWYER (though it sounds like you don’t), all that stuff is irrelevant and you should suck it up and get your degree. Remember, practicing law has nothing to do with studying law. They’re two different things.
My honest advice here: Get a job at a small law firm or DA’s office this summer—anywhere. I know it’s late, and this might be impractical, but give it a shot. Work for free. Volunteer your time. Do anything to be able to watch what lawyers do. See if you find it interesting. If you do, finish. If you don’t, quit.
You’ve heard this lame joke already, but just in case… “You know what they call the person who graduates bottom of the class from a shitty law school? A lawyer.”