What to Do if You Have a Change of Heart in Law School
- Feb 02, 2012
- Law School, Law School Advice
You’ve known what you wanted to do your whole life. You grew up with an inexplicable desire to carry and read many heavy books over the course of three years, and then work 60 hours a week for a further three thereafter. You’ve always wanted to draft memos and analyze issues in minute detail. There has never been any doubt in your mind that you’d end up a lawyer.
You can stop reading now.
If the above doesn’t describe you, please read on. And rest assured that it’s not the least bit abnormal to have doubts about your chosen career/life path (or use double negatives). If you’re planning on heading to law school, or you’re already there, you may wonder what effect a change of heart may have on your future.
Let’s start by pointing out that like everything in law and school, the answer is that it depends. Mostly, it depends on just how big a change of heart you have. If you decide half way through law school that you want to focus on a type of law different than the one on which your little heart was previously set, you’ll be just fine. To be perfectly frank, what you study in law school doesn’t have a great deal of bearing on what you end up practicing. Rather, you can delve into extracurricular activities (such as journals) that involve your chosen focus and then choose a career path that shares said focus. No biggie. If you were going to be a good lawyer in one field, you can be good in another, provided you put forth the same amount of effort.
Now, let’s say you get through your second year of law and start to have your doubts about practicing law in general. Different story altogether. Maybe. You only have one year to go, so you may be inclined to ride things out, take the bar and see if your heart changes back. Not a bad idea at all. You’ve already invested a lot of time and your issues (whatever they may be) could merely be temporary. However, if you have found something about which you’re wildly passionate and to which a law degree would add absolutely nothing, you may want to consider cutting bait. This, however, is a decision only you can make and you should consult with friends and family first. It’s a huge decision with potentially enormous implications.
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