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  1. #1
    Senior Member Babybop's Avatar
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    Default Should I settle for a paralegal studies degree?

    I am very interested in law and all of its implications. The problem is that I'm an NP.

    I have this dream of becoming a lawyer, an occupation that I was often told I should pursue as a child. The further I go into college, though, the more unrealistic this dream becomes.

    I like to think I'm at least moderately intelligent. Like all NTs, I place high value on logic and often see points and subtleties that others miss. I'm a pretty good writer and a decent (improving) speaker. I've done some practice LSAT questions and they all seemed pretty easy, save the "analytical reasoning" section. That would take some effort.

    The issue with all of this is that I'd have to go to school for EIGHT FRIGGIN YEARS. And that's only if I keep my grades high enough to get into law school, otherwise I'll get stuck with editing and freelance writing. I'm very easily stressed, and I require a lot of "high time" and "chill time" to keep myself from mentally imploding. As I already get bored with real life when I don't have responsibilities, adding constant, varying deadlines and advanced assignments that I don't always understand makes things a little difficult. I've broken down more than a few times this semester from stress. Not to get all feely, but it just sort of makes me want to burrow into a little pillow cave and never come out. This is what I've essentially done for the past week, and my grades are beginning to suffer. I know it's important, but I just can't bring myself to do assignment after assignment on things I suck at (mainly algebra and Spanish).

    I recently discovered that a community college very close to my home has a paralegal studies program with a pretty good employment rate. I was so relieved when I saw the list of required classes, which were basically all writing, communication, and social studies classes. I love those subjects, so I think there's a good chance that I'd have an easier time there. It's a 2-year program as opposed to an 8-year program, which is also great. I'd like to start my career as soon as possible.

    Being a paralegal isn't my dream, though, and I know that someday I'll regret not taking that risk. I'd still be happy, and I'd have time to pursue other goals like starting a business with my significant other, but some part of me will probably wish I hadn't settled.

    So, what do you boops think?
    Previous username: EliaBlack

  2. #2
    breaking out of my cocoon SearchingforPeace's Avatar
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    Law is a bad field right now. Law schools massively over produced graduates and demand declined due to technology. There just are not many jobs and many young lawyers never even get their first job while saddled with massive debt.

    Additionally, law is very little like on TV. If you know any practicing attorneys, ask them about the field. Or even to shadow them for a day.

    If you can get into a top tier law school or have a job lined up, go ahead. Otherwise, it is just disappointment. Most every lawyer I know isn't happy practicing law. Many quit about 10 years in or as soon as they paid off their debt.

    A good paralegal can earn better than many lawyers. Some later go to law school, but it is a very different mindset between paralegal and lawyer. Paralegal is more about procedures and getting things organized and structured. Lawyers are about creatively applying the law and facts and finding a way to win.
    Quote Originally Posted by Archilochus
    The fox knows many things--the hedgehog one big one.
    And I am not a hedgehog......

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    Jesus said "Blessed are the peacemakers" not "blessed are the conflict avoiders.....

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    ― George Orwell, 1984
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  3. #3
    I only wrote the thing! Jacques Le Paul's Avatar
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    I agree with @SearchingforPeace there is a over saturation of lawyers and law is nothing like what it is shown on TV. I also affirm his advice that you should talk to a practicing attorney if you know one. That way you can get an idea of what it is like.

    Though I'm not a lawyer myself, I only know what I have heard about law and law school.
    Always forward, never back!

    "I always love talking to people and hearing their story. People always have a good life story to tell ya know?"



    My blog in regular blogs
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Babybop's Avatar
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    Update: I decided to transfer and I'm really glad I did. This semester is insane. I already dropped algebra and I might have to drop Spanish if I don't improve. I'm smart, I guess, but I'm not cut out for that type of learning. Can't wait until I'm in a 2-year long lawgasm of nothing but social studies and composition.

    When I weighed the pros and cons, it became obvious. I'll be going to literally the cheapest school in my area, with one of the highest employment rates. The degree I'm getting doesn't require math, science, literature, or foreign language (all the things I suck balls at). Finding a job as a paralegal/legal assistant seems pretty much guaranteed, and I should eventually make close to 50k a year. Plus if I decide I really want to go to law school someday, I can just get a four-year degree with no problem.
    Previous username: EliaBlack
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  5. #5
    breaking out of my cocoon SearchingforPeace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EliaBlack View Post
    Update: I decided to transfer and I'm really glad I did. This semester is insane. I already dropped algebra and I might have to drop Spanish if I don't improve. I'm smart, I guess, but I'm not cut out for that type of learning. Can't wait until I'm in a 2-year long lawgasm of nothing but social studies and composition.

    When I weighed the pros and cons, it became obvious. I'll be going to literally the cheapest school in my area, with one of the highest employment rates. The degree I'm getting doesn't require math, science, literature, or foreign language (all the things I suck balls at). Finding a job as a paralegal/legal assistant seems pretty much guaranteed, and I should eventually make close to 50k a year. Plus if I decide I really want to go to law school someday, I can just get a four-year degree with no problem.
    I like your decision. Top notch paralegals are much more valuable than many attorneys and are often paid better than the average attorney in their area when they work in certain specialized fields.

    Just one note, while it is very possible to move from paralegal to attorney, it is often impractical. They are two different jobs and require two different mindsets. From my experience, paralegals who move over to attorney struggle greatly to change. As such, they rarely progress as attorneys and would have been better maxing out their paralegal career (and getting very well compensated for it) than spending years in school for a demotion.....
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Babybop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SearchingforPeace View Post
    I like your decision. Top notch paralegals are much more valuable than many attorneys and are often paid better than the average attorney in their area when they work in certain specialized fields.

    Just one note, while it is very possible to move from paralegal to attorney, it is often impractical. They are two different jobs and require two different mindsets. From my experience, paralegals who move over to attorney struggle greatly to change. As such, they rarely progress as attorneys and would have been better maxing out their paralegal career (and getting very well compensated for it) than spending years in school for a demotion.....
    You're probably right about it being impractical to switch from paralegal to attorney, but there is this part of me that will probably never let that ambition go. I don't want to be insignificant forever. Paralegal and legal assistant are just office jobs that require an Associate's degree and have an *average* average salary. I want to be something more than that. Do you know what I mean? I want to be memorable.

    I think I definitely made the right choice, though. I'll be able to start my career in less than 2 years, and I won't go into debt. I guess I'll see where life takes me.
    Previous username: EliaBlack
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