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Are You Thinking About Leaving the Law?

Having been through law school and completed my year of articling, I have immense respect for lawyers and the practice of law.   This is not a persuasive article on why you should leave the legal profession.  If you've come across this post, this means you're probably experiencing doubts.  If you are thinking of leaving, you will be met with resistance from yourself, your peers and your family.  When you are leaving the profession, these questions will come up and here's my responses.  I do agree that for some people that changing law firms or changing practice groups may help resolve your doubts.  This post is about leaving the profession altogether.

When you don't practice law,  you will be wasting your law school education and you wasted three years of your life.

  • 3 years. 3 years is actually not a long time when you think about it relative to the average age span of 74 years

  • People that ascribe to this assumption, are falling into the economic principle of the "sunk cost" fallacy.  Your past decisions on how you invested your time and money should not guide your future decisions on how you invest your time and money in the future.  The time and money I spent in law school are gone.  The time and money are gone if I choose to practice law.  The time and money are gone if I don't practice law.

  • I got the offer letter from the U of A law school when I was 22.  Do you necessarily stand by all the decisions that you made when you were 22?

  • Education is never a waste.  Law school and articling forces you to learn how to read quickly, synthesize information and independently research.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 31st, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
i love how logical you are.
Jul. 31st, 2010 09:44 pm (UTC)
Law school can take credit for that.
Oct. 31st, 2013 01:09 am (UTC)
What did you do?
Hi! I am also a U of A grad - not far behind you - and am having doubts about whether this law thing was such a good idea. I just came across your page, so maybe I need to read further to find the answer, but I'm curious what you ended up doing and how it turned out.

Also, I totally agree with you answers to all the "why would you throw it all away" questions you get when you are contemplating doing something with your law degree other than practicing law. It's amazing how catastrophic people seem to think that decision would be, like you couldn't possibly be happy or successful doing something else.

Anyway, I hope you found a happy place:-)
Oct. 31st, 2013 12:43 pm (UTC)
Re: What did you do?
Ended up doing alumni relations at the University of Alberta for two years for the Faculty of Law, and then doing marketing for a law firm. Unfortunately, the firm let me go with severance in June. I'm completing a job search in marketing preferably in the the post-secondary (on the fundraising side) or public sector. From my background, I'm also looking into legal or luxury retail environment. I'm also taking PR and Digital Media at MacEwan University to show that my skills haven't atrophied.

When I interview, it rarely come up why I left the law. Further, when classmates think of leaving the law, they come and talk to me.

Here's some statistics by LESA about how "studies show that lawyers are three times more likely to be clinically depressed and more than twice as likely to suffer from alcohol-related problems?"http://blog.lesaonline.org/alberta-lawyers-assistance-society
Oct. 31st, 2013 12:47 pm (UTC)
Re: What did you do?
Oh yeah, haven't practiced the law for 3 years - can't say that I missed it. I'm never thinking, "I wish I was reading cases."

Edited at 2013-10-31 12:47 pm (UTC)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


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