Should you go to UConn Law? (Or Any Law School)

April 22, 2012

Maybe.

As Malcolm Gladwell once aptly pointed out, there is no perfect Pepsi, there are only perfect Pepsis. In other words the answer will depend on who you are and what you want to accomplish. If you are working and think that law school will simply be a vehicle for career enhancement in some fashion, I would probably not go. The legal job market is flooded and unless you are in a low paying job it is unlikely that your starting law job will beat it salary wise. Furthermore salary increases will be blunted by the massive student loan payments you will have to make after the fact. UConn Law bucks this trend slightly by offering a competitive in-state tuition and I think it is not a good idea to pay full price for any law school.

The second question turns on the intrinsic value of law school. You will learn many practical skills such as the rules of civil procedure and how to read the tax code. You will learn how to write motions to dismiss, bluebook, and meet with clients. Your reading and analysis skills will reach levels you never could imagine. Arguments, evidence, communication all will function differently afterwards. You will make friends and meet people from many different walks of life. At UConn I’ve met professional athletes, journalists, and marines. I’ve also forged fantastic friendships that I will carry with me into the future.

Finally the question might come up as to whether law school is right for you. If you want to be a lawyer then you really have no other option. If you are looking to pursue a career outside law then the answer becomes opaque. If you are looking to make a lot of money then the answer is definitely no. People looking to make lots of money should go into private equity, banking or entrepreneurship. If you are looking to save the world you should read Ross Garber’s piece on funding for legal aid in Connecticut. Legal aid jobs are few and far between now.

I hope this provides some answers. Law school provides a lot of intrinsic value, and if you are looking for that like I was, then you will be happy at the end. If you are looking for money or think it is the ticket to saving the world, then you might be disappointed at the end. If you just really want to be an attorney there is no question you will be happy at the end (or at least once you finally get your first job).

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This work by Matt Zagaja is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.