Today is decision day for all law aspirants. Why would anyone venture into a high-risk enterprise like the practice of law without first weighing in on the different sides of the same coin? Neglecting to do so would be going out on a huge limb. So here are 7 the pros and cons of becoming a lawyer.
(1) It pays to be lawyer
Lawyers are very familiar with the concept of pursuing a hopeless case or an academic exercise. But the practice of law can hardly be spoken of in that same breath. It certainly does yield huge financial benefits to all those willing to wade into its murky waters.
(2) It broadens your skill set
Lawyers are lauded for their mastery of a repertoire of skills. Skills that not only enhance the lawyer’s relevance to society but help the lawyer secure productivity for their clients. Among these awe-inspiring lists of skills are, general research, analytical and communication skills and excellent writing skills.
(3) It equates social impact
Lawyers have always been at the helm of social change. Whether it is a guerrilla revolution or a totalitarian regime. When laws are to be suspended or modified under such regimes, lawyers are often charged with the responsibility of charting newer courses for such regimes. That is looking at it from the negative. But on the positives, lawyers have always been champions and defenders of evolutionary human rights. Treaties like the African Charter on Human Rights speak volumes of the impact lawyers can have on the evolution of society.
(4) It is inter-disciplinary
The standard law undergraduate curriculum comprises of not only formal law subjects but includes subject areas from other disciplines. Thus, the lawyer becomes someone knowledgeable about many non-law subjects (he knows a bit of everything). The result is a well-rounded professional who can draw on his vast multi-disciplinary knowledge base in advising clients.
(5) It equals status
Forget all the derogatory jibes you hear about lawyers. Being a lawyer translates to one thing and that is status. Lawyers are among the prestigious and most respected professionals. If you are in Nigeria and the police man waives you down on the road just tell him “I’m a lawyer” and watch his reaction. It would delight you no end.
(6) You will know your legal rights
Being a lawyer means you can always tell the legal consequences of an act and while that may you help to stay out of trouble, it can also help you know when your rights are being violated and to take prompt legal action. Nobody messes with a lawyer surely!
(7) You will be self-confident
Lawyers are trained to always take the initiative, to speak up when no one else will, and act accordingly where no one could. Where ever lawyers are, they’ve been known to be outspoken. There’s a lot that can do to your attitude. You’ll be self-confident!
(1) The legal market is over-saturated
Considering the state of the legal market, a law degree is a little over-priced. There are gluts of lawyers and law schools are busy building larger faculties to pump more graduates to a job market that is well-nigh breaking point.
(2) Legal education is expensive
One of the reasons why lawyers charge such high legal fees from clients is because of the debts they’ve run up in getting their degrees (In the US, law students run up debts of around $200,000 (#60 million Naira) in getting a JD. Legal education will cost you a king’s ransom. Add tuition, course materials and if you are in Nigeria, the mammoth sum you pay to go law school and you are already looking at the cost of a tear rubber car (a brand new car)
(3) There’s a negative public perception of lawyers
Lawyers are seen as liars, obstructionist and their legal advice comes under scrutiny. Even here in Nigeria, they say lawyers are all “charge and bail”. Whenever a lawyer defends an accused, people ask “how can you defend a guilty person”.
(4) Law practice is expensive
As a lawyer in practice you’ll always have bills to sort out. You’ll have to pay your office rent assuming you hang a shingle, your electricity bills and the other corollary. You must invest in books and own a mini library of your own and that will rip a hole through your finances.
(5) It can be depressing
It’s on record that lawyers are the most likely of professionals to get depressed. This often springs from the cumbersome nature of the adversarial system of justice where lawyers meet other lawyers who have lost their joy, are barely pleasant and out to get the other lawyer and his client. The tedious nature of the lawyers work and the endless juggling of balls makes it hard for lawyers to unplug from work.
(6) The rise of technology
Technological advancements in society have doubled the lawyer’s effectiveness and tripled his troubles. The rise of legal forms websites are disrupting the market. Legal software’s can now do a chunk of the lawyers work. And on the job front, the rise of the internet has made it way too easy for clients to either outsource for cheaper services elsewhere in the world or access the needed information from legal websites.
A youngish lawyer with penetrating insight, Patrick Herbert is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of Lawstudenthub, a site dedicated to helping new wigs find their footing in a trickily slippery legal profession and stay current with emerging developments in the legal industry. He holds an LLB from the University of Benin and a BL from the Nigerian Law School, Abuja. In his spare time, Patrick doubles as a professional writer and copyeditor.
If you have any urgent enquiries, you can email him @[email protected]