You can handle the truth. The legal profession is one of the most challenging, prestigious, and well rewarded around. You make a difference to society, defending the innocent and prosecuting the guilty. Lawyers are the frontline soldiers of the justice system, making sure their client's rights are heard.
This includes defending and advancing corporate interests, providing fair representation for the accused no matter their crime, and help any individual broker disputes with another. The legal profession encapsulates the rich tapestry of society — from its darkest corners to its most virtuous stages — with the guiding light of the law helping you navigate through the halls of justice.
If you want to become a lawyer, there are so many fantastic reasons to do so. Here, I'll tell you eight reasons to study law at college, get a law degree and become a lawyer.
1. Make a Difference
The law is the agent and repository of change in society. As a lawyer, you argue your case using the precepts of the law. All the day to day society you experience is a result of us all operating together under a code of laws. Ever since Hammurabi of Babylonia conceived of a legal system (and probably before), human beings have lived by the law of land.
But those laws can change, they can be crossed, they can be implemented unfairly. As a lawyer, your job is to defend the rights of the population against malign interests. If a landlord is squeezing his tenants and not maintaining the property, a member of a minority is discriminated against, or a retail store engages in sharp practice, then it is lawyers who bring the case in front of the judge.
It's not always so high-octane. Efficient, competent adherence to the varied and sprawling legal requirements that change from state to state and over time is an immensely valuable skill. Studying law gives you the tools to oil the legal wheels of some massive organizations and ensure they are acting both within and in service of the law.
By working on your terms and taking the cases you want, you can make a difference and uphold the rights of your plaintiffs or even create a new precedent as a result of successfully winning a landmark case.
2. Receive Exceptional Remuneration
It's all about the money, money, money. A lawyer is a famously well-paid profession. They work long hours for a reason. The extreme specialist knowledge that lawyers possess means they can command high fees when operating as an individual. If you work for a law firm, average salaries are far, far higher than the median, with the U.S average salary for lawyers currently at $144, 230, which varies by state. For example, a New York lawyer's average salary is $167, 110. The potential on the upside increasing exponentially as you become a name people trust. Even law professors earn a great salary, earning between $105,000 and $200,000 a year.
So, if you want to get a degree that gives you the opportunity for incredible earning potential straight out of college, then a law degree is a solid choice. It's not an easy one, but the reward at the end makes it worth it.
3. Gain Status and Prestige
Barack Obama and Mahatma Gandhi are both world leaders that studied law. Namedropping Latham & Watkins, Jones Day, or Sullivan & Crowell in a conversation is bound to get ears to prick up. There are a ton of movies and tv series, like Suits, The Rainmaker, and the film responsible for this article's opening quote, that glamorize the legal profession and show how exciting a world it can be. Everyone knows being a lawyer is hard and requires a ton of intellect, skill, and fortitude. As such, the job comes with a hefty amount of prestige attached.
Whether it's riding out to battle for a huge law firm representing the biggest international clients, or being a part of the highest-profile cases on the news, being a lawyer is replete with prestige and status. If you want people to respect you before they even know your name, studying law is a great way to achieve that.
4. It's Challenging and Rewarding
Justice. Money. Power. The rewards of a legal career seem endless, and that's because if you excel in the career — they are. So, what's the catch? The catch is the law is a notoriously difficult career, with a day-to-day job that frequently combines high-stress deadlines, mountains of reading (that must be retained), and the ability to be at your mental peak through gruelling hours, and never skipping a beat the whole time.
So, if you're someone who enjoys a challenge, and who feels they embrace intensity rather than shy from it, then studying law is an excellent choice. Yes, large law firms demand regular 12-hour days as you manage the sprawling international portfolios of conglomerates. As a private attorney, you may be up at all hours preparing for a winner-takes-all case — and you're making the opening speech. Yet through all this adversity comes the thrill of doing something that is genuinely challenging, of pushing your own abilities and endurance to their limits while making a difference to the world around you.
5. Have Complete Job Security
Lawyers are integral to the function of society. Like teachers, nurses, and plumbers. If you're good at your job, you'll only not have any work if society itself ceases to function. Thankfully, it's your daily job to ensure it doesn't. All this means that studying law is a great way to get into a recession-proof career.
Even if the economy tanks, the need for lawyers does not. Indeed, areas of law such as civil litigation, bankruptcy, and labor law naturally increase as more of society has to go through these proceedings. Even in the face of the recent pandemic, lawyers have been able to work from home with few problems. The judiciary must function, and the justice system must continue to work at all times, so if you study law and do well, you'll never have to worry about not being in demand — whether that it's the legal profession itself or within the wider business community.
6. Knowledge of the Law Can Protect You
By studying law, it means you have knowledge of how the cogs of society turn. By reading the rulebook, you'll get a better understanding how to play the game of life, you can understand when your rights are infringed upon, or the lifehacks to get out of sticky situations. You'll know when you are truly "in the right". It serves as a passive protection against the situations you encounter in everyday life. It also has the chance to save you a ton of money on legal advice, as you'll often know the answers yourself from the learning in your degree.
Of course, you can also share this knowledge with those you love around you. Help them understand where they might be in a given scenario, let them know where they stand, and what they can do to help themselves. Best of all, you won't have to write IANAL on Reddit when randomly dispensing advice.
7. Explore The Frontiers of Law
When a judge rules on a legal case that isn't adequately covered by the law, it sets a precedent. This precedent is then used in determining and creating new laws. By studying law and becoming a lawyer, you will argue these cases in front of the judge and push the needle towards the outcome you think it should be. As society evolves, the law goes with it, and new frontiers of law are being explored all the time, both in law schools and the courtroom itself.
For example, technology is evolving at a geometric rate. As new digital landscapes develop, the law is evolving as rapidly as it tries to keep up. The current legal landscape consists of YouTube defamation cases, outrageous tweets — historical or otherwise -and the dramas of Tati Westbrooke and James Charles played out through social media. As such, the law is currently being sculpted in reaction to these events. By studying the law, you can be at the forefront of the new legal frameworks currently being established in cyberspace. That's not to mention A.I.s and machining learning. If we create artificial sentience, then what rights does it have? You'll be the one finding out.
If you like the idea of making an argument that sets precedents, and you want to stress-test new laws you think are unfair in the court of law, then studying law is the first step.
8. Learn Transferable Skills
Okay, so being a lawyer is amazing. Yet what if you change your mind? What if, after going through law school, you decide you'd much rather own a business rather than defend one? A law degree teaches a huge range of transferable skills. Law students learn to analyze texts in high-resolution detail, work through logic problems at a rattling pace, and present themselves in the best possible way. If a law student's ability to read, write and talk aren't already high going in, they'll be world-class coming out.
These skills, plus the knowledge of the law and an insight into the mechanics of society, mean that a law graduate is highly employable and naturally capable. If you want to get a job at a big company, then a law degree can be a surprisingly good place to start. One of the main reasons for this is everyone knows how flippin' hard the degree is. If you're someone who can show the motivation, perseverance, and raw skill to pass a law degree, then you're going to be of interest to employers before you've even walked in for an interview.
9. Find a Network of Like-Minded Peers
Studying law and working at a law firm means you will, throughout, be surrounded by like-minded peers. Your fellow students at university will have a chance to reflect on the law and engage with each other, not to mention enjoying facing off against each other in the famous "moot courts" — the mock trials in law schools where students practice presentation skills.
At a law firm, as a first-year associate, you'll be surrounded by other associates who are all on the same track as you. Yes, there is competition, but there is also comradery as you and your team take on cases for industry giants. Although you will be spending a lot of time working alone, the profession is not as lonely as it is sometimes portrayed.
10. Gain Self-Confidence
You may have been reading this article thinking, "all of this sounds great, but I can't do that." Firstly, yes, you can. Secondly, a law degree — although tough to get into — doesn't demand all the skills before you get in; it teaches them. All law schools want are high-potential candidates who are willing to work hard. Law teaching is top-notch, and it is designed to arm you with the skills you need to become a lawyer.
If you lack confidence but have the ability, then by the end of law school, you'll realize just how great your abilities are. You'll hold yourself better, speak more confidently about what you believe, and have the know-how to get your point across. What's more, not all legal professions are shouty, combative dramas — some of them work through the quiet and measured mill of paperwork that circulates around offices around the globe. So don't feel the need to be a garrulous people-person to make it in law. In fact, the opposite is just as likely to be true.
You Are the Law
Studying law is replete with challenges. It's also a profession that offers some of the greatest rewards in society. Those rewards are financial, social, and personal. A law degree is a fantastic way to stamp your ticket into near-guaranteed work — and not even have to be a lawyer at the end of it. It's a degree that will stretch your limits, but it will give you mountains of confidence and a host of top-notch skills by the end. By knowing the law, you'll have gained one of life's most useful, and sellable, skills.
[Remember, to apply for most law schools, you'll need to sit the LSAT. The LSAT is a famously tough exam, but Testmaxprep has plenty of resources for you to take a look at to help you on your way.]