Title

THINKING ABOUT LAW SCHOOL: SPEAKING WITH ATTORNEYS TO GAIN INSIGHT ON THE LEGAL PROFESSION

Presenter Information

Brittany Harris

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

College students interested in legal careers have few opportunities for structured career guidance. What information would be for helpful to potential law school candidates? My research was designed to answer questions that pre-law students at the University of Montana might have about practicing law. I interviewed eight lawyers practicing in the Northwest. The questions focused particularly on why they decided to pursue a legal career and whether their experience after law school had been personally rewarding. Analysis of these interviews yielded the lawyers’ own explanations of their motivations and experiences. Their answers complicated and challenged my assumptions about the legal profession. For example, although several lawyers interviewed were very successful financially, no lawyer expressed wanting to practice law for purely monetary reasons. I also expected individuals who entered law with a clear understanding about why they wanted to practice law to be more satisfied than those with unclear goals. Yet only one lawyer I interviewed knew exactly why he wanted to practice law when entering law school. Prospective law school students will gain insight from these interviews. These interviews provide a clearer picture of what being a lawyer entails, what to expect from three years in law school, and examples of jobs they might expect after graduation.

Category

Social Sciences

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THINKING ABOUT LAW SCHOOL: SPEAKING WITH ATTORNEYS TO GAIN INSIGHT ON THE LEGAL PROFESSION

UC 332

College students interested in legal careers have few opportunities for structured career guidance. What information would be for helpful to potential law school candidates? My research was designed to answer questions that pre-law students at the University of Montana might have about practicing law. I interviewed eight lawyers practicing in the Northwest. The questions focused particularly on why they decided to pursue a legal career and whether their experience after law school had been personally rewarding. Analysis of these interviews yielded the lawyers’ own explanations of their motivations and experiences. Their answers complicated and challenged my assumptions about the legal profession. For example, although several lawyers interviewed were very successful financially, no lawyer expressed wanting to practice law for purely monetary reasons. I also expected individuals who entered law with a clear understanding about why they wanted to practice law to be more satisfied than those with unclear goals. Yet only one lawyer I interviewed knew exactly why he wanted to practice law when entering law school. Prospective law school students will gain insight from these interviews. These interviews provide a clearer picture of what being a lawyer entails, what to expect from three years in law school, and examples of jobs they might expect after graduation.