Law School and "Average Intelligence"

A Quora reader recently asked an interesting question about whether students of "average intelligence" are suited for law school.  Specifically, this reader stated that he or she received excellent grades (straight As) in college, but thinks that it was mostly due to a great work ethic rather than "natural intelligence."  The reader, therefore, wasn't sure whether they would succeed in law school.

Ultimately, the reader's transcript shows that he or she should be able to attend and survive law school.  Even if students do not actually enjoy law school, they would likely be able to power through their coursework and graduate.  This is actually a skill that I leveraged at times in law school and in my professional career.  There were times where I didn’t particularly enjoy a course or an assignment, yet I had to concentrate and grind out the work.  If the reader pursues law school, his or her strong work ethic will pay off in spades.

As referenced in the reader's initial question, however, the ability to do well in one's coursework does not necessarily mean that he or she should attend law school.  I would not recommend that prospective students let their LSAT score determine whether they should go.  Many unhappy lawyers fell into the trap of obtaining a great LSAT score and proceeding to legal practice without thinking about whether they would actually enjoy a legal career.  It’s tough to jump off the law school path once they’ve taken the LSAT and have been admitted to schools.

I’d really recommend that the reader (and others) obtain an internship or some other work experience in the legal field.  By observing the day-to-day routines of attorneys, they’ll get a great sense of whether law school and legal practice is right for them.  Many law students fail to do this, and I’m sure many of them wish they did so before taking on six figure debt.