Saturday, January 21, 2006

My advice to pre-laws

I don't want to come off as attacking Fresh, but posts like this sum up one of the things I found frustrating about law school:
This is a historic day. Today I am halfway through my student loans.

After 4 years and 5 months of practicing law, I have exactly $55,234.89 worth of student loans left. . . .

In celebration, I spent all day at work yesterday researching culinary schools. Can anyone cut me a check for 55 grand?
Maybe it's futile to say so, since so many people who go to law school are risk averse and thus likely to opt for the dubious security of J.D.-as-credential despite their lack of desire to practice law, but isn't the more logical impulse to go to culinary school, not law school, if you want to be a chef? To go be a comedy writer if you want to write comedy? What is the point of racking up $100K in debt so you can be trained to do something you find minimally rewarding at best and repellent at worst for eighty hours per week for several years to repay your loans, only to put yourself in the same situation as you were in before law school, but a decade older?

If you don't want to practice law, don't go to law school. Please. I'm begging you. Don't let your parents push you into something. Don't be afraid to pursue your real dream. Just because that dream won't give you a nice, safe, respectable, upper-middle-class white collar professional identity doesn't mean you shouldn't follow it. Be a pastry chef. Write. Join the police department. Hell, renounce your wealth and ramble around the countryside, as long as you do it safely. But don't spend the price of a small house on a professional degree that you don't need and then indenture yourself to student loans for years to pay it off for no good reason.

UPDATE: Nate Oman tends to agree.

UPDATE II: I previously posted about why not to go to law school here.
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