The other night I was having dinner with some relatives I don't see often. Inevitably the question "so where are you working now?" comes up, and I tell them I'm still working as a paralegal, albeit at a different firm. Even MORE inevitably, they ask "so when are you going to law school?". Not even "are you thinking of going", which is more commonly asked. They just assumed, which I can only sum up by saying...
I've covered this before to some extent, but now I'll go into the same level of detail that I did with my relatives, just to definitively answer the question once and for all.
NO. I. AM. NOT. GOING. TO. LAW. SCHOOL. Ever. Never ever. Period.
Here's the list of things I would need to do:
1. Take the LSAT.
2. Apply to Law Schools.
3. Assuming I get in, spend 3 years attending and graduating Law School, while finding a way to pay upwards of $25k tuition per year at the same time I still have a mortgage, car loan, the need to feed myself and buy kibble for Stupid the Cat.
4. Take and pass the Bar Exam.
5. Find a job.
By the time I finish all five steps, assuming that I can, I'll be in my mid-40's, competing with other law school grads nearly half my age, who are in much better shape to handle the 20-hour days without suffering a heart attack or stroke.
Then factor in that making Partner often takes another decade or so even under ideal circumstances, which puts me in my mid 50's. Becoming an Equity Partner takes even longer.
Granted, this set of circumstances is based on my age and situation. Individual mileage may vary. If you are a Paralegal still in your 20's, then it makes a lot more sense to go to law school if you want to. It's just that by the time you hit my age and experience level, it's a much more difficult proposition.
Also, there are a few advantages I have, such as a far better working knowledge of the law than most new Associates. Clients, Courts and other Firms are already familiar with me in this city, so I have a greater degree of name recognition. There's a better chance of being hired by one of my old firms because they already know my work quality and strengths.
Still, it's annoying for the same person to ask me the question more than once. If I said "No, I'm not going to Law School" 5 years ago, what would make me want to now? The economy has collapsed, there's fewer jobs in our industry for law school grads, and I am also five freakin' years older now. I can comfortably support myself and plan for retirement as things stand right now. Why rock that boat? I'm not that big of a risk-taker.