Would you still become a lawyer?

April 13, 2010
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Reporter Michael W. Hoskins wrote this post.

Some within the Indiana legal community say they wouldn’t become an attorney if they could go back in time to change that decision.

An Indiana Lawyer survey shows that more people offered a NO than a YES when responding to the question of: “If you could go back in time, would you still go to law school and become a lawyer?”

Fifty-five out of 91 responses. That’s a little more than 60 percent. Meaning that only 36 people said they’d still go to law school and become an attorney. The survey has been available online for nearly two weeks.

Wow. What does this say about the profession if so many of those who’ve taken the bar exam and the attorney oath feel they wouldn’t do the same thing again? I wonder if that sentiment is tied to the economy, as so many lawyers and law firms are seeing tough times because of their clients’ struggles? Or is it more specific, tied to something like the billable hours game, where young attorneys must constantly sprint to garner more client time and manage their schedules? Does the rising cost of law school factor into this?

Those answering with a YES might offer reasons such as they enjoy making a difference, helping individual clients – whether that’s a person or business – being able to work out resolutions to disputes. Maybe it depends on experience or type of attorney, or even whether someone practices at a big firm or by himself or herself as a solo practitioner.

Maybe it comes down to a difference in perspectives: Either you’re always battling issues out in courts and conference rooms and it always seems like a fight from opposing sides, or you are working to get people to agree and resolve their differences, based on what the law of the land says.

Sometimes, people find themselves looking back and wondering if they’d do things differently if given the chance. If you had that chance to fire up a flux capacitor and time machine, would this be where you wanted to end up? Why or why not?

We want to hear from you on this, possibly for a larger story in the print edition of Indiana Lawyer. Let us know what you think. Put “lawyer survey” in the subject line and e-mail us at indlaw@ibj.com.
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  • As a follow-up question ask: if given the opportunity, would you skip law school but become a lawyer if you pass the bar exam?

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