“As an average student choosing to do a law degree, I wish I’d have been better informed about what it’s really like to be a law student. I was young, naive and full of false expectations.”, my friend explained.
This is when I realised how lucrative and flashy this field seems from outside and how often many students fall in the trap. Not saying this field isn’t any good. As a law student myself, I don’t think I chose the wrong field because mine was an informed decision.
But this isn’t the case with all the students who end up choosing law. This article is especially for such students out there. There’s a lot more to law than just black and white formals and good oratory.
Here, have a look at life in a law school and then decide whether you want to go to one or not:
1. Career prospects
Law is a well-respected degree but its graduate prospects are not as good as the universities like to boast. Litigation firms and chambers have been reducing the number of training contracts and pupillages, with some firms cancelling their next trainee intake.
Furthermore, a litigation degree does not guarantee riches. There is a stark contrast between the high earnings people think lawyers are paid and what they are actually paid!
2. There’s so much reading
Before joining law school, I had some idea that there would be a lot of reading. But I had no idea that horror stories of law students spending all day in the library were actually true.
There is a LOT of reading. Be prepared to read for long hours as a litigation student! (No, shit!)
3. Everyone will try to pawn free legal advice from you
If I had a pound for every time a friend has asked a legal question, I’d definitely be rich! For some reason, people think that law students are overflowing fountains of legal knowledge to be tested at will. This is simply not the case.
No, I do not know about the legal intricacies of internet libel law. No, I can’t help you get out of your mobile phone contract. No, I can’t help you if you’ve killed a man!
And even if you do give advice, be sure to add disclaimers!
4. Law school is intense
In your law school, you are always competing against your fellow students for good grades. Amidst this, some students become extremely defensive and do everything they can purely for personal gain at the expense of others.
Though this is rare but law school can be a bit like being on “The Apprentice” competing against others in a high pressure environment (Moots, PSDAs, ADRs, Trial Advocacy and what not?). And yes, there is backstabbing and drama!
5. Law books cost a fortune
I remember being shell-shocked at having spent over Rs 3-4,000 on “essential textbooks” in my first semester. (Later, I did get to know hacks on how not to spend all my pocket money on law books!)
But still even to this day, the expense of legal textbooks hurt.
6. Did I really choose the right degree?
At some point during their degrees when motivation levels are low and the mountain of cases to read high, students here do question their choice. A litigation degree will stretch you to your limits and test your commitment.
I have seen many students dropping out of litigation degrees unable to cope with the intensity. Don’t make the decision over the choice of degree lightly. A litigation degree is a very expensive investment. In fact, some may be better off choosing a degree they enjoy at universities like DU etc. than come here.
7. Social stereotypes of law students
Finally, a series of phrases you will have to get used to hearing. Get thinking of good responses.
“Oh, you’re studying litigation? Maybe you can help me out someday if I get into trouble.”
“Well, I see you’ve sold your soul to the devil for riches.”
“How can you defend someone you know to be guilty? You lawyers are heartless and cold-blooded.”
Having said all this, in Monica’s voice: “Welcome to the real world. It sucks. You’re gonna love it.”