There is a never-ending flow of advice about law school (hello, exhibit A is this blog). But a lot of the advice, as we’ve shared, often fails to take into account the circumstances that many Latinas experience that make their decision to go to law school the right step for them. We’ve shared before why it’s important to ignore bad advice, why you have the skills to be a lawyer, but what else should you be asking yourself before you take the big leap?
One. What’s my motivation? I am one of the weird zealots in the profession that feel being a lawyer is a calling. We should be called to justice. Now, of course the justice system isn’t just, but we should innately feel a call to making things right. Do you feel that way? Are there certain factors that are pushing you to pursue this career? It’s important that you feel passionate about becoming an attorney and that you know your why because that motivation is what’s going to keep you going during the stressful times.
Two. What is my plan? Is there some issue that interested you specifically about the law. Is there some incident in life that happened to you or your family or community that pushes you to consider this degree. Sometimes it’s not super obvious. I wanted to be a lawyer since I was a young child so it was a goal I was always pursuing, but it wasn’t until college that I realized I wanted to use my degree to advance racial justice. And honestly your plan for your degree can be as fuzzy as that because once you’re exposed to the realities of the profession, your interest in practice areas may change So while you should go into law school with an open mind, you should still go in with some general idea about what you’d like to do with your degree. If you’re reading this and thinking, hmm I’m not really sure what I’d do. Then this is a good time to assess what your passions are and how the law intersects with them.
Three. Am I willing to make sacrifices? The law school process is tough. And it starts way before orientation. To get admitted you have to do a lot of work, but once you’re in it, law school takes so much of your time and energy; not to mention the stress it causes and the financial strain you may feel those first few semesters. It is tough but you can get through it—even successfully—but only if you are in a place in life where you can dedicate the time and effort needed. This is often the hardest part—while the process shouldn’t ask so much from us, the reality is that it does. Are you in a space where you feel confident you can put in the time and effort needed? Of course we won’t always feel 100% ready but you should go in knowing that you have a plan to study, to network, to prescribe to a strict schedule of classes. If you’re not in that space yet then what can you do to get there? And I’ll be blunt this includes having a network of support around you. If there are debbie downers in your life that only discourage or try to bring you down then cut them out of your life—not just for law school, but for your own sake. We all deserve cheerleaders in our corners when we’re considering major life shifts.
If you know you’re reason for becoming a lawyer; you can envision some future as a lawyer; and are in a time in life where you can put in the effort needed, then the time is right to start the application process. And one last note, the time to go to law school is never too late! We all reach a realization of these questions at different times in our life but just because you’re not “young” *whatever that means* doesn’t mean you should exclude yourself from this opportunity.