When I tell people that I am in law school, people often ask me if I know what type of law I want to practice. I always tell them that I have no idea and that most people really have no idea.
I was required to take a communication law course as an undergraduate and enjoyed it. (That’s actually a lie because I had no idea what was going on in that class for two months and did not enjoy it at all until I got the hang of reading cases from our case book.) After taking this class, I had a hunch that law school was for me, but I didn’t know why. Now I’ve come to understand my own motivations for going to law school much better.
My law school classes have helped me build a foundation of substantive knowledge about different practice areas of law, but true expertise in an area of law comes only after years (5? 8? 10? 20? who knows?) of practice. I have always heard people who never went to law school tell others that “law school is a great all around education” and “you can do anything with a law degree.”On the contrary, I find that law school is much more similar to a vocational school in which you learn a trade/skill: the art of thinking creatively and strategically to persuade people and get things done.
There are some people who came out of the womb wanting to be a securities lawyer or a judge or a prosecutor, but most people are probably not like that. Before and during law school, people generally do not know enough about a practice area of law to know what it involves. Rather, I’ve found that what people do know when they come to law school is the role that they want to play in society. They want to be thinkers, problem-solvers, persuaders and people who make things happen. After nearly two years of law school, I’ve realized that this why I came to law school. Now I just need figure out what sort of problems I need to solve, who to persuade and what I am going to make happen.