I love being a lawyer. I truly enjoy my job. The hours, days, weeks and years seem to past by in the blink of an eye because I am having fun. I often happily think, “Maybe I’ll never retire.” There are even times when I find myself telling people, “You should go to law school.” However, whenever someone is seriously considering law school, I find that I am compelled to warn people that law school is a horrible investment.
Whenever someone asks about my decision to attend law school I tell two stories. First, I tell people that I have wanted to be a lawyer since I was a freshman in high school. My high school science teacher, Mrs. Luehmann, was exhausted from debating with me about whether I should get credit for test questions that I had gotten “wrong” that I contended were bad questions for one reason or another, and she remarked in frustration, “you should be a lawyer.” It was not a compliment, and she was not the first person to say this to me. However, that conversation is what stands out, as when I thought, “Maybe they are right. I should be a lawyer.”
Second, I tell people that the signs that I should be a lawyer were present long before high school. In law school, I learned about “legalistic thinking” with the story of a very unhappy rich man who took a vow to the effect of, “If my life ever changes and I become a happy person I will sell my million dollar house and give the proceeds to charity.” Years passed by, the man became truly happy, and someone asked him, “Are you going to live up to your vow?” “Yes,” replied the man. The next day the man sold his house for a dollar and gave the dollar to charity. However, he also required the purchaser to buy his cat, which he sold for $999,999. That’s legalistic thinking.
When I was in fifth grade my teacher, Mrs. Terbilcock, gave my class a vocabulary assignment every day. We had to look up the assigned word in the dictionary, write out the definition on an index card, and then “use the word in a sentence”, which was also written on the index card. The cards were not checked very often or closely (or at least I believed that) and, whenever I was feeling lazy, my sentence was always substantively the same. If, for example, the word was “monotonous”, then my sentence would be, “Brandon looked up monotonous in the dictionary.” If you know a smart ass like me, maybe he or she would also enjoy being a lawyer.
However, I must admit that I was also attracted to law because I believed it was a good way to make a lot of money. If you’re a lawyer or you otherwise understand the realities of the law school investment and are laughing at that thought, understand that I began law school around twelve years ago before law school was widely known to be a bad investment. You can make a lot of money as an attorney. You can also make a lot of money as a musician. That does not mean borrowing over $100,000 for law school is a wise decision today. I won’t say don’t do it because I don’t regret it now. But I will say don’t do it for the money because there are better ways to make money. That is, from a financial perspective, there are more certain investments.
Whenever someone says, “you seem to be doing okay.” I say, “That’s true. However, it was a long road getting to where I am today, there were many jobs, many bosses, sleepless nights, and the most important thing… I married well.”
That’s My Argument, and I love you honey!
© October 2014 Brandon J. Evans