Things law students wish you would stop saying:
- "What made you want to go to law school?" or “Why do you want to be a lawyer?”
95% of people who find out I’m in law school will ask this. I am so fucking sick of it. On the surface, it might seem like a harmless attempt to try to get to know me better, and while 5% of the time it is, 95% of the time it’s a nice way to say, Oh my God, you’re going to be a lawyer? Why would you want to be someone that 1. is a greedy horrible monster, 2. everyone hates, 3. is overworked, or 4. hates their life?
Do you ask nurses why they became nurses? engineers? photographers? managers? Probably not.
It’s annoying. It’s a hard question to answer, and rather existential. Like any profession, there’s a lot of reasons why someone becomes a lawyer. For most people, it’s probably a natural choice based on their skills and interests. That’s what it was for me. There wasn’t anything else I could imagine doing. It felt right.
- Anything implying that I will be rich once I’m a lawyer.
These statements are rude, offensive, awkward, and make you sound like an ignorant ass.
It is so rude to discuss other people’s finances.
Also, you sound like an idiot. You’re pretty much telling me that the only thing you know about lawyers is what you see on TV. Most lawyers are not incredibly wealthy. Today, most law students graduate with over $100k in debt and start out making around $70k.
It’s also offensive. Rich lawyers are the exception and not the rule. Whether intentionally or not, these “you’re going to be rich” statements are accompanied by “you’re selling your soul.” Being a lawyer doesn’t mean I’m going to be in-house counsel for Wells Fargo or BP.
You’re also implying I chose this profession for the money. There are way easier ways to get rich than spending three prime years of my life pent up in a library, enduring anxiety attacks, never seeing my friends, and taking out $30k in loans each year.
- "I need some legal advice."
I can’t really do this for a few reasons. 1. There’s not much I can say before I owe a legal duty to you. 2. I’m a student, I don’t know enough.
Also, please note that once I am a lawyer, I won’t be able to help you either, even if by some chance I work in the same area of law that governs your problem.
Why not? Well, no legal question has a simple answer, and I don’t work for free. I provide a service. Just because it isn’t tangible, doesn’t mean I’m not giving you anything.
But I’m your friend! Can’t you do me a favor? In order to answer your question, I’ll probably have to do research, which isn’t free or cheap. Check out Lexis or WestLaw’s pricing guides if you don’t believe me.
- "Did you read that article in the New York Times?”
Yes, I fucking read it. I’ve read every article about the costs of law school and the saturated market. I either found them during one of my anxiety attacks, or a relative sent them to me.
Please don’t ask me this because I am ready and willing to dispel all your assumptions and fears, and this party is not the place to have that conversation. Also, why are you getting so personal? I don’t even know what you do yet!
- "I hate lawyers."
Fuck you. How many lawyers do you even know? Probably none.
No, I’ve been to court! I was in a lawsuit once!
Oh hey, guess the fuck what? For every prosecutor or plaintiff, there’s also a defense. So when you were in court for your DUI, there was someone representing you.
Guess what else? It’s still up to a judge or jury to decide the case. Lawyers aren’t magicians. If you’re guilty/liable, you’re probably not going to win.
AND FINALLY… If you had a shitty lawyer, he/she can be sued for malpractice and can also be disbarred. That’s right! Just like doctors, lawyers can lose their jobs if they suck.
Without lawyers, there would be no justice and the person who knows the law better would probably always win.
But lawyers charge so much money! They’re greedy!
Doctors are expensive too, when you don’t have health insurance.
If law school didn’t cost around $100k, maybe lawyers could charge less.
I implore you to take these to heart and STFU.
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