“Why do you want to be a lawyer?”
This question always stumps me. Usually, I weasel my way out of it, but it’s tough. There is no one right answer, but there are many wrong ones.
I can’t put my finger on any one reason in particular to become a lawyer. For the last few years, I have avoided this question as best as I can. Whenever I’m cornered, I’ve mumbled something about my interest in the courts and what not, only to end up sounding pretty naive. I already know that real life courtrooms and proceedings are nothing like Law & Order.
Just for kicks, I asked a few friends why they chose whatever profession or career path they did. Surprisingly, none of them could really put into words what they were feeling. Many said they just wanted to do it. Being a doctor, dentist, teacher, entrepreneur, or whatever just felt right to them. I have to agree. Sure, making a decent living is enough of a draw, as is the prestige of earning a J.D. But, that’s not what I’m thinking about when I picture myself as a lawyer.
If people insist on getting an answer out of me, I’d have to say that the idea of serving such an abstract, authoritative concept as “the law” really appeals to me. That plus wearing a suit everyday, and I’m set.
I haven’t spoken to many other pre-law students regarding this topic, and I’ve very curious as to why they are choosing to go to law school and possibly become lawyers. Is it the fame and fortune? Do you want to help people? What do you seek from a J.D. and legal career that you cannot get by doing anything else?
Another idea that I’ve tossed around is that going to law school doesn’t necessary lead to becoming a lawyer. You can do a lot with a J.D. beyond its main objective because the skills you learn in law school are invaluable. Of course, legalese and the legal way of thinking will saturate the way you communicate. You will think like a lawyer even if you don’t want to be one.
As I’m prepping for the upcoming LSAT, I’ve also thought long and hard about why I want to go through with this test, three more years of school and a career rumored to be somewhat of a grind. Of course, I’ve had my doubts like anyone else, but I’ve always held that you have to question your choices in order to make them. So next time you take a little study break in between reading comp. passages or logic games, ask yourself, “Why?”