Any Regrets Studying Law?

Credit: Guy H / Flickr / CC BY 2.0, available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/32482342@N05/6269427782

Credit: Guy H / Flickr / CC BY 2.0, available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/32482342@N05/6269427782

With so many negative stories about diminished employment prospects and law school grads carrying six figures of debt, many grads would likely say that they regret attending law school. It makes sense: it may take them decades to pay off their debt and they may not be able to work in the job that they envisioned before law school.

I don’t regret my decision. Having said this, I recognize that I am one of the lucky ones. For a good number of people, law school is not a worthwhile investment, and can ultimately do more harm than good to their financial health and career prospects.

Law school ultimately worked out for me because I was able to obtain a Big Law job after graduation. In fact, I followed the stereotypical path to becoming a Big Law associate. I attended a U.S. News & World Report “Top 14” school and did well enough in my 1L courses to receive offers to become a summer associate at Big Law firms. I took one of those offers, had a great summer at my firm, and then became a full-time litigation associate. If I wasn’t able to find a Big Law job, I likely would have different feelings towards this question.

I stayed at my firm for two-and-a-half years before leaving to found a startup in New York City. My path is less traditional than the typical law school graduate, who often stays at their job (and stays in the legal field) for many years after graduation. Because I’m trying something far from the legal industry, it’s unclear how much my law degree will help.

That said, I do believe that law school and my professional legal experience will be beneficial when I’m reviewing contracts, working to avoid litigation, or managing the expectations of customers or investors. While I wouldn’t attend law school solely to obtain these skills in order to work in another industry, I’m glad that I have them.