Monday, May 4, 2015

Was Law School Worth It?

For some, like my husband, it's an easy answer.  Of course it was worth it!  He's got a great job in a great firm working with great people and he can't complain about his salary.  (Plus, he met yours truly in law school - does it get any better than that?).  

For me, this is a particularly loaded question.  Because it comes with the following undertone:  

Was law school worth it, when now you don't even use your law degree and spend the majority of your time child rearing?  

And, more to the point:  

Wasn't it a waste?  

I've pondered this question from time to time, and it was actually posed to me recently by Annie Little, a blogger and writer for the website, Attorney at Work.  She asked me, as well as nine other lawyers from various different backgrounds, how we subjectively viewed the value of our law degrees.  The result was posted last Friday.  Here's a snippet of my response (to view the entire response, click here and scroll down to #5 - and also check out all of the other responses!):  

"When I graduated from law school back in 2005, a law degree meant money.  I hadn't gone into law school expecting that.  In fact, I had planned on going into public international law (whatever that is). But after three years of school, six digits of debt, and a multitude of offers in a booming economy, I went with the big ticket, big law offer.

But as the cliche goes, money doesn't buy happiness.  And at a certain point, I realized that following the money didn't fit me and what I ultimately wanted in life:  Children.  After six years of firm practice and two children, I quit.  At that point, I wondered if my law degree had any value at all anymore.

What a waste of a degree, I would think.  All that time, hard work, expense... for what?  I certainly didn't need my law degree to be a stay-at-home-mom.  Laundry, cooking, and running after two (and then three) small children didn't require any legal skills.  In fact, when people asked me what I did, I stopped telling them I was a lawyer.  

Or was I?  What makes a lawyer?"

To continue reading, click here.


  1. I too left my career as a lawyer to stay at home and raise my kids. I appreciate your blog, I have asked my self many times if it was worth it. Thanks for sharing your experiences and letting me know that I am not alone in my decision.

  2. Law school was worth it in many more ways than one, and the fact that finding yourself eventually took you on a different path than expected shouldn't contradict that.

  3. Yes, I wonder this too. Ex LSE, London magic circle turned SAHM. All I do know is that I don't miss the Friday afternoon conference call which turns into an all weekend draft a thon !! I love your blog. So much rings true. Keep up the good work!

  4. If I could return it, I would. Everyone says it will pay off in the long run, but I'm not sure. Once the student loans are gone, then maybe I'll feel a bit different about it, but 200k (loans+interest) sure could have put me in a much different place.

    The job I have now is one I could have gotten without a JD, which is good I guess. It's also interesting and challenging and strictly 9-5, but also flexible, so I think I definitely ended up with a much better deal than many people.


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