I promised more detail about why the jobs that one might expect after law school aren't anything to look forward to.
Well worth reading. I'm glad I went to law school and I enjoy my life, but "Lawyers suffer from depression, anxiety, hostility, paranoia, social alienation and isolation, obsessive-compulsiveness, and interpersonal sensitivity at alarming rates."
Read the comments too: http://www.haloscan.com/comments/bellelettre/757951081830600967/
2) My experience of law, both in school and with those in practice, is that there is not really a higher percentage of arrogant, picky, petty jerks in the law than in other professions with highly educated individuals. I see you are training to enter academia...wait until you see the amount of sheer pettiness, backstabbing, and arrogance that goes on in the ivory tower. My acquaintances in the medical field have similar experiences.For comparison, visit: The PhD Project: Business doctoral programs
3) Any client driven position is going to involve dealing with a public that at times can be bitter, petty, and unpleasant to work with. I actually have some experience working with public interest lawyers, apart from my other work experience. Was the pay low? Yes... Were the offices a dump? Yes.... Were the clients at times petty and frustrating? Yes...but no more than people see with any customer service job. The lawyers I worked with went home pretty happy at night, regardless of the fact that some of their clients were angry jerks.
4) Your advice is still sound for the most part; college students should not use law school as the default "don't know what else to do; guess I'll go to law school" option...it is way too expensive for that. However, tough work conditions and demanding clients (let me tell you, students can be pretty demanding at times!) exist in most professions, as do ambiguous moral situations (just ask investigative journalists who find their stories and investigation driven by bottom-line management requirements). People should realize that no career is a bed of roses when it comes to moral conflict and ambiguity, stress, arrogant colleagues, and problematic payscales.
I am curious about how people feel about the choices they made and the directions they took, both as to how those worked for them (I'm pleased with my choices and how they have worked out) and as to how they would recommend others think about them (I just suggested a PhD in business to another relative).