Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Why Didn't I Stay in Law School?

When I was in 9th grade, one of my teachers told my mom that I would never be happy in a 9-to-5 job. I find this interesting, because over the years I have tried to get one of these elusive 9-to-5 jobs, but to no avail. Were these words of a 9th grade teacher prophetic? (see this post for more on that)

Who knows. All I do know is that sometimes I long for a 9-to-5 job right now. My wife says that I idealize it, but think about it... peace and quiet, drinking a cup of coffee, checking email, perhaps chatting with the co-workers (who are all adults, by the way) at the proverbial water cooler.

So, the question is, why didn't I stay in law school? Being a lawyer most of the time isn't a 9-to-5 job, but close enough, I guess. But I know why I left. I couldn't stand it. During Orientation, I knew it just wasn't for me. It was just so... rule-oriented... and research-y, and... they just loved their policies. These things may seem petty to you, Blog Reader, but unless you've gone to law school, you have no idea.

Being a lawyer is decidedly NOT like any one of the three thousand lawyer TV shows. And the professors said, if you don't like law school, you won't like being a lawyer. 

And many of my fellow law students, they were just, as my wife would say, "obnoxious" (if you've been around her much, you know this is her favorite word of description). There were some really great people as well, so I'm not judging everyone who's gone to law school.

I tried for a semester to make it work. I did several things. First, I thought, maybe it was just my attitude, so I worked on that. I even changed my clothing, started dressing up (tie, dress pants, etc.). That didn't really work. Then, I just gave myself into it, reading and writing and studying, going to the Law Library. I even tried to sort of "rebel" against it, like if I dressed how I wanted to and bleached my hair, I would feel like I was still myself and then be okay with not liking my school/career choice. I talked to my professors; I prayed about it, I debated what I should do. 

Basically, I knew that being a lawyer wasn't for me.

Were those words my teacher prophetic? Or maybe just observational? I'd like to contact her sometime to see why she would have said that about me. But meanwhile, here I am, over 20 years later, not working a 9-to-5 job. And, I have to say, I'm okay with that.

Interestingly enough, I came across this article last night from Huffington Post about reasons you shouldn't go to law school. I had already written this, and then when I read the article, I have to say that I mostly agreed with it. You should read it (especially if you think you may want to go to law school).


  1. I was a paralegal for 15 years before I felt called to work in the church. I often spent hours, days even, in the law library looking for case law, researching, going over testimonies hoping to find that one glich. I spent many weekends flying to NYC and when I wasn't in NY the weekends would be eaten up in depositions, and meetings and brainstorming and writing motions (that's where I first discovered my love for writing by the way). I remember a judge saying to my boss (the actual lawyer) that he loved reading my motions because they were always so flowery, accurate and full of emotion. (May I just say I never had one of my motions denied. lol). I did however, spend endless hours reviewing cases and writing those motions - especially when I realized how much I loved it. Then, I had children, and my husband got a three year job in CT. Well, being a very busy paralegal and a single mom didn't quite work out. So I had been feeling a tug at my heart about working in ministry somehow. Then I received a random call from the pastor who asked me if I would like to come and work for him. Everyone thought I was out of my mind because of the pay cut that I took. But I have to say, that was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. Whew. All that to say - follow your dreams, do what God says - rich or poor - we are always rich when we are doing what we are called to do. After all, what's life without passion?

    1. Exactly! What is life without passion? If you're not doing what you were made or meant to do, life can feel like a real burden sometimes.