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Saturday, August 14, 2004


I've just added Stay of Execution to my blogroll. Most of my blogroll links out to other pre-law and law students, but since I've got Anonymous Lawyer on there, I thought I could add an alternative opinion.

One of the reasons I like Stay of Execution is that I think she is the sort of lawyer I'd like to be. Her posts are not uniformly about being a lawyer; she obviously has other interests besides her job (or looking for a job, or enjoying a summer hiatus, as it were); and she thinks. I fear the law I read about on Anonymous Lawyer. Particularly one of his more recent posts. Is it unrealistic to expect that young law students who are unsure about what they'll want to do professionaly might clerk in a BigLaw firm just to see what it's about, without automatically accepting end-of-summer offers? I expect a lot of them accept the offers because the money is so damn good. And that is sad.

I've been talking a lot about why I want to be lawyer, particularly in reference to writing my personal statement. One thing I can say, without equivocation, is that the money has very little to do with it. I currently work for a large, public institution, and I know that someone with my job in the private sector could easily be making 30% more than I do. I work where I work because, in some ways, it is rewarding, not because I want to make a lot of cash. ("In some ways rewarding" because I am obviously looking for something more, else I wouldn't be planning to go to law school.)

Financial stability is important, if only so you can provide for your children and not starve. But I wore shoes from Payless and clothes from Marshall's when I was a kid, and, while I wasn't the best-dressed kid at my school, I was never naked and barefoot. I never went hungry.

I hope that when I am a law student, and preparing to be a practicing lawyer, I have the courage to seek out jobs where my values are appreciated. I have a suspicion that many law students are swayed by the prospect of six-figure salaries right out of school, the work environment be damned.

I guess I have enough work experience to know that where you work is at least as important as how much you are paid. And, at least for me, I know that six-figures will not be enough to convince me to work ungodly hours away from my family. Nor will it be enough to allow myself to be treated badly or taken advantage of. That said, I wouldn't turn my back on a firm where I am valued and respected and treated fairly just because of the reputation of BigLaw.