Law School vs. Law Practice

Our very own, Michael Sloan, office manager, is headed to law school pretty soon, so this blog post is a little unique. If you find yourself wondering “Is law school for me?” then attorney Alexandria Hurst’s insight might help answer your question.

A lot of attorneys would say that law school was hell and I must say, for me, it was. The good news is that practice of law is only hell some days. Overall it is very different, so if you find that law school is not for you that in no way means practicing is not for you. This also means if you are thinking about law school, then the question should not be “is law school for me,” but rather, “is using my law degree for me?” If you are in the middle of law school currently, just know it is temporary and you will get through this. Here are some of the big picture differences in which you may find peace in:

No micromanaging – this would depend on your firm’s structure, but practicing will not be like it is with professors. This also means you must be self-disciplined and accountable. There are deadlines set by the Rules of Civil Procedure of course, but the only person you really have to answer to if you miss a deadline is your client. Trust me, that is way worse than turning in an assignment late to a professor. It is a different game in the world of actual law practice. 

Tailored Interest – The good news is that once you graduate, you can go after a certain area of law that interests you. This is very unlike law school, where you will have to put effort into subjects that bore you, all to get the grade. 

Higher Stakes – Somewhat related to what I mentioned earlier; it is a different game. You will be responsible for real people and their lives as opposed to in law school, where you tend to be self-absorbed. 

Reality - You realize that the other attorneys, and even judges, are not that scary. They are just people like you doing their jobs. 

Tidbit – As for law school, do not take it too seriously because years from now, no one cares what your grades were as long as you graduated. Just do your best in the moment. As for the practice of law, you learn that your clients do not know best, and they come and go. The people who do know best and who stick around are your fellow attorneys in town with whom you work case after case. Do your best for your reputation and for your career, not necessarily for each individual client who comes through your door. 

So, Mike (and anyone else who braves this life), law school may not be for you as it was not for me. However, the practice of law is something that I truly enjoy.

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