Post Authored By: Hannah Werner

When I was considering going to law school, I kept hearing from attorneys not to attend until I was 100% certain I wanted to be an attorney. I had some reasonable doubt that this was the career for me, but I still decided to apply and move forward anyways.

To make the most educated decision, it’s important to weigh the costs and benefits of continuing your education: law school tuition and expenses, lost income from the job you would be working if you weren’t in law school, and the salary options you will have after receiving your law degree.

Before taking the plunge, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do you want your life to look like three years from now? Ten years?
  • Are you okay with a less active social life because you are busy with school?
  • Will your family and friends understand if you have to skip or raincheck an event to write a brief or read your assignment for tomorrow?
  • Why do you want to earn your Juris Doctor degree? Is it for the prestige or money? Or are you passionate about the law? Is it because you don’t know what else to do with your life and this is the fallback plan?
  • Do you actually want to be a lawyer or do you just want to tell people that you are a lawyer?

After answering these questions, you’ll likely need a glass of wine (if legal) and a mind-numbing TV show to drown out these deep life questions. That’s to be expected. Also to be expected? Not being able to answer one of these questions! As a 22-year-old fresh out of college, I wasn’t sure if I would be okay with giving up my social life to get a degree I wasn’t sure I would use. Taking the plunge to apply for law school was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done but I don’t regret it (despite the excessive reading assignments).

The truth is, it’s okay if you’re not 1000% sure this is the career for you. It’s very rare people know with so much certainty that this is what they want to do for the next 40+ years. Taking some time for self-reflection and finding your true intentions can really help make this big decision….that and a glass of wine.

About the Author:

In May of 2020, Hannah graduated with a B.A. in Public Relations and a B.A. in Psychology from Auburn University. After working at Ankin Law Office for almost a year, Hannah discovered an interest in law and joined the Chicago-Kent community. Hannah is currently a 2L representative for the Society of Women in Law, as well as a member of various organizations matching her passions, such as the First-Generation Law Student Association and the Chicago Kent Animal Legal Defense Fund. Following graduation, Hannah looks forward to a career in estate planning, real estate, or business law.