"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."

-- The Dalai Lama

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Why Why Law?

I named my blog not as a question as Evan asks, but rather a reminder. I started my blog right after the LSAT. I was such a wreck, and I wanted to remember why I was putting myself through all that LSAT agony. I'm going to law school to better understand how the world works, to learn about complex ideas, and to maybe, just maybe, contribute in some way to making the world a little shinier.

That said, reading Evan's post and some responses made me wonder why people seem to constantly ask each other why they want to be lawyers, or why they are lawyers. Maybe it's just because I am around pre-law and law students almost constantly and other groups of people discuss the same topic regarding their own chosen professions. But, I tend to think this is not true.

For example, J isn't constantly asked, "Why do you want to be a computer scientist?" My mom isn't constantly asked why she is a marketing analyst. When I was leaning towards "Environmental Scientist," I wasn't asked why. Yet, ever since I began the law school application process I have gotten this question from fellow students, friends, professors, parents, etc.

What is it about hearing the words "law school" and "lawyer" that makes people so inquisitive?


sui generis said...

I can't think of a time I was ever asked "why law" (although I'm sure that I have been), but it is something I have to ask myself. I think that I, like you, am trying to pound out my own reasons for choosing law school and remind myself of them. There are lots of hoops to jump through to get a JD, and apart from a pure love for the law, I think it's important to be sure of your motivations before going in. That's been my experience, anyway.

Menagerie said...

The question continues, even after you're almost done! I used to think it was a kind of attack on something I had chosen after a lot of careful though (and I was thus defensive), but now I imagine it's because people see the tremendous amount of work and expense involved. Many of the people who ask have toyed with graduate school and wonder if it's worth it.

It's worth it. Even with student loans approaching the amount of our mortgage. :)

E. McPan said...

Without any irony or sarcasm, my answer would be: to help people. I've been working on a post to this very question for nearly a year now and it's really hard to pin something like that down, especially when I went in so naively (is that a word?) and in three years feel so jaded by it. Which isn't to say that I still don't want to help people. Okay, I'm not sure what I'm trying to say but um, look for the answer to this and other burning questions on my blog? At some future date? :)

Josh said...

I was working on a comment, but it got too big so I just posted it back at the homestead (www.badglacier.com). It might be interesting. Then again...

Narkoleptik said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Narkoleptik said...

Great Post Why Law, I was actually thinking about the whole thing earlier - about how I drew a blank when thinking about Evan's question. I know I want to go to law school and be a lawyer but really no idea why. I assume it's something I'm going to have to figure out at least before any interviews I may have but for now I'm fine just knowing definitely that I want to go to law school.

I do think that the reason people tend to ask why law more than why medicine, why envi, has something to do with the moral ambiguity of the profession and the perception that lawyers don't actually like what they do. If you're going to be a scientist it's apparent that like whatever field you're going into or if you're going to be a doctor, you want to help people. With lawyers, it's like, you're never going to be happy, you're going to be overworked, you're probably going to end up selling your soul...so why you want to do that?

CM said...

Maybe it's because we need to be reminded ourselves, so we like to ask each other -- why are we putting ourselves through this again?

When we're asked by non-lawyers, I sometimes feel defensive too. But I think it's because it's unclear what lawyers do that's of value. Most people picture lawyers either filling out forms (which sounds boring, so why would you choose that?) or arguing in a courtroom (which sounds more glamorous, and I think is more understandable as a career choice).

notguilty said...

I think that people ask why because law is such a vague, nebulous and frequently scary thing to non-lawyers. See, you know what a doctor does or what a computer scientist does, but what does a lawyer do and HOW? I think lots of people are wondering hmmm. . .could I do that? If she can do it, why not me? What is it about her that makes her be a lawyer and not me.

I'm not sure anymore why I practice law, but I think its almost like having brown hair or green eyes. You are a lawyer. It's that simple.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a law student, but thinking about becoming a lawyer. I asked myself, " why do i want to become a lawyer?". The only reason is to proterct my family. I live in Florida (Miami), where they are frivalous lawsiuts everyday or accusations.

But, this is not a good reason to practice law.. i think you must love it.

Still deciding.

sherwin yam said...

As a freshman in law,
I always ask myself this Question.
Especially when attending the boring lecture, with all those Black & White ; dull ; small-printed cases.
But I believe it's something within that makes you want to DO it.
Or else, you can't be that determined all those years if u finally work it out! it's just impossible