Should you become a lawyer?

In the past few months I have had the privilege of being consulted by many students considering a career as a lawyer. These students come from different places in their education, high school, undergraduate degree and even a couple studying outside of Canada. Many want to know the nuts and bolts process of becoming a lawyer, but at the end of the day, they all want to answer the question “should I become a lawyer”.

I have no right to pass judgment on anyone becoming a lawyer, however, that does not stop me from doing so and I will here. These are my personal opinions, do not take them as Gospel, you might be the exception to the rule.

If you need to take a course to prepare for the LSAT or need to write the LSAT more than once, you should not become a lawyer. The LSAT is meant to test your aptitude for a career in law, if you want to know if you were meant for this you should be able to get a high mark first time, with minimal preparation.

If you are going to law school because you finished an undergraduate degree and flipped a coin between Teacher’s College and Law School, do not become a lawyer. In fact, please don’t go to law school, you’re taking a seat away from someone who should be there.

If you are hoping to meet that “special someone” and live happily ever after on their lawyer income while you lounge by the pool, please do not go to law school. Once again, you’re taking a seat away from someone who wants to be there.

You should consider becoming a lawyer if you enjoy public speaking, reading and creating sound arguments.

You should consider becoming a lawyer if you enjoy reading and writing long documents with technical meanings.

You should become a lawyer if you can afford the $ 75 000.00 law school tuition. If you cannot, you’d better be sure you are going to practice in an area of law that pays well: criminal lawyers often start at $ 40 000.00 per year or less.

You should become a lawyer if you have researched what the career involves, have the ability to study law (both academically and financially) and have a passion for the field.

Never become a lawyer (or anything else) because someone is expecting you to – life is too short and this career is too demanding.

I love being a trial lawyer. I knew I wanted this career from age 16 on, but I am the minority. If you believe this may be the career for you I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Inga B. Andriessen JD