Perception vs. Reality of the Legal Profession

It seems that the perception of some regarding their future in the legal profession is a bit skewed. This is especially strong among a certain population of law school students, but it also exists among some law school graduates (and even a few with bar licenses).

Here’s the way many perceive their future in the legal profession:

Those of us who represent clients regularly know this perception is incorrect.

The reality is as follows:

See the second chart? We all figured you knew this before starting law school. It just makes sense. We like to think that 12 years of formal preliminary education followed by at least a Baccalaureate degree gave you the insight necessary to realize that success only comes from hard work and perseverance. Getting a law degree just gives you a ticket to attend the game. It does not guarantee a court-side seat.

There is no such thing as a free lunch, especially in the legal profession. Get off your ass and do something remarkable for a client. They need a good lawyer. Really.

And, those clients are going to make you, but not overnight. It’s something you earn over time. Client after client. Year after year. Through both uplifting successes and depressing failures.


17 thoughts on “Perception vs. Reality of the Legal Profession

  1. But it’s soooo haaarrrrd. And they said I was soooo smaaaaarrrrt. And I really want to be successful nooooooooooow. And hard work gets in the way of doing what I waaaaaannnnnnnt.

    • I love you, too, Dan.

      shg: I’m enthusiastically heterosexual. I suspect Dan is, too. If not, Parker Posey may be horribly disappointed.

      As for the Boy Scouts, I already have a future post planned for them. It may not happen until Summer, though. Great program, deplorable organization.

  2. Let’s clear the air: “Mongo straight”. Some Eagle Scouts, too. Five or six of us, maybe. Note: I’m a leading heterosexual in several Western nations. Even have age of majority law updates for Americas, Europe and Asia on computer.

  3. A friend of a friend (non-law student) linked me (about to take the July CA bar) over to this. It’s great. Do you mind if I reblog the two charts on my site?


  4. There’s another path as well – the one where you use technology to solve all your problems, perform the mundane and difficult tasks, and get on the road to success without dealing with all that drudgery and hard work.

    • I know, Gid. The legal world rejoices. CJ Marshall is smiling down. My understanding is that your birth into the legal world was by immaculate conception, and the chronicles of your wonderful acts on earth will be inscribed in reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics on gold plates and buried in Palmyra, NY for aliens to find in thousands of years.

      I might be wrong, but I also don’t think I’m too far off.

      • Nah. It’s not that. Haven’t you heard of – and envied – those people who never have to work hard and who still manage to shine and do so well? Well, I’m one of them. My “winging it” is 100 times better than most people’s “burning the midnight oil”.

        What can I say? Rain man ain’t got shit on me. That’s what I can say.

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