Hopefully this gets some response this time 😅
I’m 22F and I currently work as a legal assistant at a pretty large defense firm. I currently am unbelievably unsatisfied with my job as I essentially get paid $65k to sit on my phone. I have completed literally all of my “busy work” so there’s nothing even little to waste my time on. All this to say, my goal is to have a career that is meaningful and somewhat involved.
I graduated last year with a BA in Legal Studies, Sociology, and Russian, so pretty much useless (except Russian I guess). I wanted to complete my undergrad in as little time as possible as I was always intending on attending law school after. So, I was okay with majoring in not-so-important majors as I knew the JD was what really mattered. I took the LSAT last month and got a 169, so I am relatively confident I will be able to get into law school when I decide to pull the trigger.
This is where my dilemma comes in. I truly believe I would be a very successful attorney due to my drive/personality, etc. As an assistant to 6 attorneys, I want to be the one in their shoes, contacting clients, finding creative solutions to alleviate liability, go before the judge and argue my case, and so forth. While their jobs are infinitely more interesting than mine, most of them (the associates, at least) are on the brink of quitting due to stress, constant fires needing to be put out, taking flak constantly from unsatisfied clients, and so on. That’s really disheartening because that’s the career I’m looking at. I can’t tell if their heads are spinning because they’re not good at prioritizing tasks or if it’s just the nature of the job regardless. If I were to pursue law, I would avoid civil defense at all costs due to their experiences, but I am not sure if I’m damning myself for all eternity by going into any sect of law whatsoever.
Additionally, I interned for the Wisconsin Public Defender’s Office (shoutout Chandler Halderson for taking up 90% of that experience) sophomore year, and I loved it. Unfortunately, I didn’t love the pay. I worked with the investigation unit, so I was actually able to contact the clients and would report back to the attorneys. I was interested in the material and how it transpired in the courtroom (again, shoutout Chandler). However, I think I would fit better on the prosecution side. Criminal defense, from my experience, is absolutely draining and frankly depressing. Each case I worked on, though not always worst case scenario, ended poorly, which is defeating considering the amount of effort you put in. Also, every single case I was assigned to was awful. It was hard trying to find supportive evidence to make the client look good when they were convicted of rape, murder, dismemberment, horrific and repeated domestic assault, etc. Awful, awful people.
To sum it up, I want to be financially successful (ideally starting my career around 150k), not be stuck in an office until 11pm every single night, be somewhat fulfilled in my career, and still have a semblance of a work-life balance. At this point, I feel like my future is grim. I’m really considering jumping ship on the law school route, and picking up something completely different, like something with coding. Originally, I wanted to go into cybersecurity, but thought it wouldn’t be mentally stimulating enough. Now I’m thinking I might’ve been better off going that route. To add one more layer, it feels like going down the law path, I will always be confined to a large city as that’s where most large firms are located. I despise traffic (currently in Atlanta) and would love to be a little further out, job permitting. I am able to WFH one day a week, and it’s bliss. If I could be in the office 3 days, home 2, it would be perfect. I do like the hybrid schedule, as I hated doing everything online during covid.
I just don’t know. If you have any advice as to whether I’m shooting myself in the foot for pursuing law school, or if it might be worth it depending on what I choose to do post-graduation, I’d love to hear it. On the flip side, if you have any advice as to what careers that are out there that are aligned with the aforementioned (i.e., legal-esque, maybe technology related, NOT teaching Russian, so forth), and how I might get into it (starting points, certifications, yada yada), please share your two cents. As the days go by, I feel less and less certain of my success and it’s really starting to weigh on me. Thanks so much for reading my essay on my sense of being lost in space