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Author: jeffbrig Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 310325  
Subject: Re: Income: How much is high? Date: 7/20/2006 4:35 PM
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On a serious note, I've been considering whether I want to go the lawyer route - I've got an engineering background and an analytical mind (also, I enjoy a good fight), but I want to get a better idea of what awaits me before making that sort of commitment.

My advice is - don't do it. I'm an engineer, DW is an attorney. I've always been fascinated by law (and enjoy talking about her work), and growing up I always said I wanted to be a lawyer. After DW finished, I seriously thought about going to law school, but decided not to. Why?

The cost of law school is substantial. You can either keep working and spend 4+ years doing law school at night (ugh), or you can quit your day job and do it in 2.5 years if you do summers. The problem is, you either kill yourself for 4 years, or you give up a ton of earnings to finish faster.

Once you get out, odds are pretty high that you'll start your legal career making less than you did as an engineer. You'll also work more hours (DW's firm sets a target of 200 billable hours each month - ridiculous, IMO). You may plug away for 5 years for a firm, then get tossed because you're not bringing in new clients.

You may have the potential to make more long-term, but there's a lot of risk in that. Meanwhile, you're just making a lot of money for the partners. Want to hang your own shingle? Very difficult without prior experience, odds of failure are probably similar to any other type of business.

Reminds me of something someone told me a long time ago: When lawyers eat, they eat well. But engineers always eat.

Anyhow, I decided I have a good thing in enginering - flexible hours, a lot of autonomy, nobody breathing down my neck every day. Pay is pretty darn good too. It just doesn't make sense to give this up for law school.

On the other hand, if I was suddenly laid off....
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