If you are interested in a career in law or politics, the first leg of your journey may be completing law school. For most students, law school begins with earning a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). This is typically a three-year program that is academically rigorous and requires logical thinking and reasoning.
To enter a J.D. program, you will first take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). This test shows if you are ready for the challenge of studying law. You will then apply and get accepted before launching your training. The first year can be the most challenging, and you will study foundational law classes and case studies to learn about these laws. In this first year, your professors will use a teaching strategy called Socratic method. This strategy requires you to use your reasoning skills in the classroom daily.
As you move into your second year, you will focus on the classes in the area you wish to specialize. Classes tend to have quite a bit of discussion in this second year, and you will be able to learn from your fellow students as well as your instructors.
Finally, in the third year, you will take seminar classes and potentially participate in a legal clinic where you start actually working with clients. Once you complete your training, you will take the Bar exam in your state so you can legally practice law.
This is a lengthy and rigorous process, and you may wonder if it is the right choice. Is a law degree worth it? The answer will depend on your career goals and academic abilities, but there are many compelling reasons to consider enrolling in law school. Here are eight of them.
Make a Difference
With a law degree, you can help people at some of the most difficult times in their lives. Some law school graduates work as public defenders or provide pro bono services to people who cannot afford a lawyer. Whether you focus your entire career on helping those in need or choose to help as a side job to your primary work in law, you will feel fulfilled knowing you are making a difference.
Expand Your Career Opportunities
Getting a degree in law can help you expand your career opportunities. A law degree is the starting point if you are looking to work as a lawyer whether you follow a more traditional route or use the degree in other ways.
There are many non-legal careers where a law degree can help you stand out. You may find work in politics, in consulting, as an entrepreneur, in counseling, in auditing and compliance, or even as a journalist. While most people who attend law school do so to become a lawyer, you can enter a wide range of careers with this knowledge, so your career opportunities will expand.
Increase Your Earning Potential
It is no secret that legal work pays well in most instances. Even entry-level attorneys who sign with large law firms can earn six figures in their first year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates a 2021 median salary of $127,990 a year for attorneys, and those in the top 10 percent earn over $200,000 on average. If you do not want to work in a science-heavy field, but want high-income potential, then working as an attorney is a good choice.
Be Intellectually Challenged
If you enjoy an intellectual challenge, earning a law degree will give it to you. Law school requires a lot of reading and writing, and you must put your critical thinking to good use to succeed. The academics are rigorous, and this draws many people to the field.
For example, in law school, you may have a professor that asks you to participate in a Socratic debate. Your professor will ask a question on a challenging topic, and you will need to provide an answer backed by reasons pulled from your knowledge of the law. Then, your professor will use more questions to challenge your answer. The entire process teaches you how to think about the law and provides practice for what may eventually occur in the courtroom.
Gain Professional Influence and Prestige
Lawyers are trusted in the community as knowledgeable professionals. Law school graduates have a significant amount of prestige, even if they do not choose a legal career. If you want professional influence and the respect of your community, then law school could be a way to earn it. When you put a law degree on your resume, potential employers know you are tenacious, intellectually skilled, and deserving of respect.
Gain Job and Financial Stability
Lawyers are well-paid, and a legal career provides job stability. Law students will always be in demand, as people continually need the services of those trained in law to help with their civil and criminal legal concerns. The BLS indicates a faster-than-average increase in the demand for new lawyers between 2021 and 2031, with over 80,000 new positions coming into the job market.
Once you work as a lawyer, as long as you do your job well and follow the law, you have job stability. Massive layoffs and job losses are uncommon in this field, and technology will not take the place of skilled workers any time soon.
Earn a Way into Public Service
If you are interested in working in public service, such as becoming part of the government, then a law degree could be a starting point. According to Bloomberg Law, 40 percent of Congress members in 2019, including 54 percent of senators and 37 percent of House of Representatives members, had attended law school. While not all were graduates, the knowledge and skills they learned as law students set the stage for a career in politics.
To Have a Positive Impact on the Legal Industry
Finally, one of the best reasons to go to law school is to positively impact the legal industry. You can bring new insight, passion, and knowledge to an important field that has a vital role to play in both people's personal lives and the public interest. Like most established career fields, the field of law is constantly looking for new, energetic professionals to help develop and grow the field for the next generation. Partnering with an established law firm can help you bring new energy and knowledge to the group, or starting your own business can help you add something positive to the industry within your community.
Start Your Law Degree Training Today
Is going to law school worth it? If you resonated with any of these eight reasons, then yes, you should be someone who considers law school. Texas A&M Law’s J.D. program is currently ranked #46 overall among law schools nationally by US News & World Report, with several specialty programs ranked in the top 10 and top 25. Texas A&M Law also offers a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree, which is an advanced law degree designed for those who already have their J.D. This one-year program will help you specialize in a particular field of law or prepare you to take the Texas Bar Exam if you have a law degree from outside the United States. Either way, the robust academics and knowledgeable professors will provide an excellent foundation for a career in law. Reach out to our JD admissions or graduate program admissions team today to learn more about Texas A&M law and our law school degree programs.