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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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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