1/11/11

A Legal Education: Are You a Financial Risk Taker?

After reading NYTimes reporter David Segal's article, "Is Law School a Losing Game?",I thought back to the year that I graduated law school.

The earlier '90s were not much kinder than now. Coming out of school on the heels of the energy recession, I was one of the lucky few to land a job. Most of my peers struggled to make their way: forming their own partnerships, going solo, moving back home to join the family law firm, going into legal recruiting.

I'll never forget one day when I was being extra diligent and made my way back to my alma mater's library when I ran into a former classmate. I was shocked when he told me that he was bird-dogging cases at the courthouse while living out of his car.

I'll never forget the look on his face: it was a mixture of horror, shame and desperation.

I was the first in my family to become a lawyer.

When a relative decided to follow in my footsteps, I cautioned them in all the mistakes that I had made: focus on your grades, forget about class recitations, get as many clerkships as you can and start looking for a job as soon as you start school.

And, above all, don't live off of student loans.

There were many days that I regretted that law degree. Today, I have made my peace with it. And now I know that I'm fortunate to have a job in the legal field that is personally satisfying.

Not everyone is so lucky.

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