I'd like to share my experience with law school, including my motives, why I didn't quit, and why I'm not practicing law.
People often forget that I went to law school. I tend to describe the experience as pretty negative, and I frequently give the impression that I think it's a universally bad choice. That's definitely not my view, but I do think that mine is a cautionary tale.
A lot of people come out of law school disillusioned, and more still enter the legal profession only to end up being extremely dissatisfied and often turning to drugs and alcohol to numb the psychological toll practicing law can take.
Emphatically, I don't believe that law is a bad career path for everyone; much depends on one's expectations and motives going in, what area one practices in, and many other personal factors.
There are a few things connected to my having gone to law school that I want to write about, including
- my good motives (application of my interest in philosophy)
- my badly informed expectations (TV and movies; others' praise: "You're so good at writing and arguing; you'd make a great lawyer!")
- the philosophical problems with our legal system
- pretense at induction
- the intellectually respectable-sounding word "precedent", which really means "that's how we've always done it"
- the subject of the law being violative of fundamental principles of ethics and politics (individual rights)
- fixation on / dogmatism about certain types of formalism
- disappointment at what passes for intellectual rigor (especially compared to my undergraduate career in mathematics)
- law school versus the bar exam
- the "I am not a quitter" fallacy
- my conflict aversion; not wanting to be in a field where people feel compelled to engage my services