P.S. Since the focus of this discussion board is rationality, I will throw out a couple extra questions, with my own answers.

  1. Law school entails an investment of 3 years of your life and perhaps $150k in tuition. How much time and energy should you spend studying and researching the pros and cons of law school and lawyering before you make the decision to attend?

  2. If you attend a law school where only X% of the class finds suitable employment and career prospects, what is the probability that you will end up in that group?

As to the first question, law school cost about $60k to attend when I went. To my credit, I worked for many months with an attorney family member and satisfied myself that I wanted to be an attorney before attending law school. However, I spent just 5 minutes or so researching my subsequent job and career prospects before attending. In hindsight, this was pretty boneheaded.

As to the second question, that probability is probably a lot lower than your gut is telling you. See, law school is much more competitive than college; which in turn is much more competitive than high school. It's natural to forget this fact and assume that you will be one of the top guys in law school just like you were in high school and college. Personally, I was less successful in law school than I would have predicted. Also, my career has been less successful than I would have predicted.

The bottom line is that as a rationalist, you should probably (1) spend a lot of time and effort talking to law school graduates before you go; and (2) assume that you are probably an ordinary schmuck in terms of predicting outcomes.

Thank you for a well thought-out reply.

I have had misgivings about the law path for essentially the reasons you mention, and especially after much research. I know that being an attorney is not as glamorous as television shows make it out to be and I realize that the high income figures often reported for lawyers are skewed (as in the top law firms pay the most to the top law school grads, and the rest are stuck with little to nothing). I also understand that with the American economy the way it is and the large surplus of aspiring lawyers, the field is ev... (read more)

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Welcome to Less Wrong! (2010-2011)

by orthonormal 1 min read12th Aug 2010805 comments


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