10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Becoming a Law Student

Published by
Sarah Aboje

Law program is one of the most widely sought after profession in many parts of the world. It is not uncommon at all to get the saying “I want to become a Lawyer” from kids while growing up. For different reasons, different people consider this field as one of the most important fields of study. Of course, there is a lot of prices to pay to become a certified and renowned professional in this field.  A law degree is the first step along the path to a career in the legal sector. Law degrees are quite challenging, and for some reasons, students consider the unique combination of human interest and intellectual stimulation provided.

Reasons for Studying Law

A lot of people have different perceptions about the profession, in fact to some people, they are more of a negative people than the positive side. Of course, a lot of people approach lawyers for advocacy whether guilty or right with the aim of getting good legal backing. Consequently, it almost seem impossible for people in this field to be accurately true.

However, many still consider the option of studying law despite the criticism and numerous challenges in ahead of them. Here are some of the reasons for enrolment in law program:

  • They get to help other people: innocently, some consider their chances of contributing to humanity and fighting for the right course of people. In so many ways, law graduates stand a chance of protecting and helping people, animals and even environments by implementing strict environmental laws governing the way our environment is being used and maintained.  With the law profession, a lot of kind gestures can be extended to people by lending them a voice to speak and fight for their human rights.
  • Ease of operation: strangely, many consider then profession for the ease of carrying out their duties. Due to the level of flexibility offered by the profession, people in this field can choose to work with a specific type of clients or may even work at their own comfort. This flexibility offers the ability to set their own fees, choose their hours, and select the clients they want to work with. Furthermore, the industry has many specialised areas to work in, keeping the options open to the lawyer’s interest.
  • Income: a lot of people signed up for Law on the basis of making a big fortune out of it. Although, it is quite a lucrative profession it is somewhat tricky. In order to earn a very high wage, there may be reasons to climb up the ladder just like every other profession. Lawyers who are the top paid are generally living and practising in major cities and most likely with some of the best firms.

10 Things You’d Wish You Knew Before Becoming a Law Student

As a high school student who just graduated, I had big dreams to further my education in the law, go to law school after getting a bachelor’s degree and then become a professional in this field. Although, the law is a very good field of study there are some many things I wished I had done rightly or known how to do better before becoming a law student. I hope that these ten things that I would like to discuss below will be very useful to those students fresh from high school and considering a law degree and also for the current law students to relate to them.

  1. You have to wear a uniform often: before going into the college for a law degree, I never knew I have to wear a uniform with my colleagues and so I found it very different and difficult to cope with that. Also after graduation, what you wear to work will depend on the formality of your workplace and most law firms fo not wear flashy colours of clothes to work, so you have to put that in mind. For female lawyers, they usually express frustration about building an appropriate work wardrobe and how to get the appropriate dresses and clothes to wear to work or school. After a few years of struggling with school clothes, I have now turned my entire wardrobe down to mostly black and grey skirts and lots of neutral colour blouses.
  2. Studying law does not make you get rich: as opposed to what other people think, that lawyers are very rich, that is not always the case. You probably won’t be rich as you expect after graduating and working. Although this does not mean that lawyers are always poor, there are rich lawyers too but I would say they are the ones at the top level of their career. A lawyer job would get you the necessary things you need to survive as you work and probably make a fortune out of it after a few years of hard work. If you become a lawyer because you think it will make you wealthy, you may find yourself very disappointed, especially if you could have made an equivalent salary at a job that you would have enjoyed more.
  3. Law school is very intense: only if I had known that going to law school is as intense as every other job or field. In law school, you are always on your toes and you have to compete against your fellow students for the best grades throughout your study. There is so much to learn while in school and some Universities make you study all the aspects of law in your first and second year, but you are then assigned to your various level of expertise before you graduate. You see, studying law can be very hectic and serious. So if you intend going in for a law degree, prepare yourself and your mind for a whole lot of work.
  4. Law books cost a fortune: this is another thing, I wished I had known before venturing into law school or going in for a law program. Just as medical books are very expensive, so also are law books too. I remember a time, I had to buy a law textbook almost as expensive as my school tuition fee. If you want to study law, you also have to get your pockets ready as you get yourself also ready. Studying law requires a lot of books and therefore, you would spend a lot too.
  5. You have to take a lot of notes: there is no field of study where you don’t have to take down notes, but the law degree is a bit different because you would have to take notes at every opportunity you get. Everything may not be taught you in class, so therefore when you go out on field trips and other career trips, take as many jotters and pens as possible in order to write and take so many notes. I once went on a school field trip with just my clothes and no writing materials, I had to start begging my colleagues for a few sheets and had to share a pen. It was very distracting and frustrating. As a law student too, you will have to remember a lot of details and some may be too hard to remember, therefore, taking down of notes becomes very necessary.
  6. No courtroom appearance: After graduating from law school, you probably won’t spend much time in court and in fact, you might never see a courtroom until a very long time. Lawyering in real life seldom resembles what is depicted in movies and TV shows. Most lawyers are not in court delivering soaring speeches in front of juries every week, but in reality not all law students who graduate are able to visit a courtroom by handling a case. All you may be allowed to do is to assist a lawyer from your firm in the courtroom or be there just to learn court proceedings.
  7. Graduating from law school may not guaranty you know it all: You may have just graduated from law school, but you know nothing. That’s the way I felt the first time I went on to assist a lawyer from my firm in court, the whole process was kind of different from what we have being taught while in school and this experience made me feel like a total dullard. Law school doesn’t really teach you how to practice law. In the beginning, it may seem like nearly every time you are assigned a task, it’s something that you have never done before. Therefore, after school you still have to teach yourself and learn how to really practice law, no institution would teach you all of that.
  8. Working overtime: there is no limit to the work time frame of lawyers, as sometimes you have a large series of cases to handle and write a report on. In times like this, lawyers literary forget the existence of time. The long hours of work encroach into personal agendas and schedules making lawyers almost unavailable for personal affairs. It’s not only how lawyers are being portrayed in movies and TV shows, there are so much tasking duties behind all of that.
  9. Competitive labour market: as more and more people graduate from the law profession, it becomes even tougher to secure a suitable job in this field. Most people have it at the back of their minds that, since the law is a professional field you would find it easy in getting a job. I won’t say it’s not totally true but it is just like every other career field in getting a job placement after school. Technology is another factor reducing the demand for more lawyers as some of their roles are being technologically replaced.
  10. Lack of willingness to seek legal adviser: in time past, lawyers were considered big men and women and they were highly regarded. However, over time people began to think less of their relevance as many clients are reluctant to spend a ton of money on legal advises and services. People now consider new technologies online as an alternative to legal services. Therefore, the demand for lawyers is gradually diminishing. While it is competitive to secure clients, it is also important not to lower the cost but raise the bar by providing values that competitors cannot get at cheap cost.

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Although Law degree comes with a lot of prestige and recognition, it is also fair enough to consider some of the stumbling blocks and hurdles on your path to becoming a successful lawyer. Just like every profession, there are quite a number of challenges, but it is also fair enough to consider your passion before taking a step further.

This post was last modified on August 10, 2020 1:51 pm