How to REALLY Succeed In Law School: Do Not to Make Mistake of Your Life…

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.

A no BS honest view from personal experience

In this article I will try to discourage you from going to law school and from becoming a lawyer. Shall you still decide to pursue law school, in my other articles on this blog I tried to give tons of information on the basis of my personal experience.


In this blog I am revealing the true nature of law school and legal industry environment, reveal many tested and proven methods to beat your law school competition and obtain better grades to successfully go through your legal education.


I also give quite a bits of tips for getting into better law school to jump start your career from the higher ground right after graduation. So, after you read this one – check my other articles.


All I talk about is what I went through myself when I was in law school and worked (and still work) for law firms. You can easily succeed if that is what you want and if you do it right. Its a game and like any game you need to now tricks. I am sharing my own law school personal experience – the experience I gained through hard work.

Why you should not go to law school and why law school is a bad idea

First of all – do NOT go to law school. Seriously. Law school is a terrible idea. You will waste your time and will screw up your life. I always advise not to do it. A law career is not glamorous. It is not like on TV – not at all. 


It is mundane, difficult and often very boring meaningless work. But, importantly, graduates are facing a horrible job market and many other established and young lawyers are unpleasant people to deal with. 


Many law school graduates take non-attorney jobs after graduation. Some numbers suggest almost one-third of law graduates go into other fields. That is a lot. And quite a waste of time and money. 


In my opinion, there are too many law schools in existence. Juris Doctor degree or even attorney license is no guarantee of financial and professional success and happiness. 


First, think about student loans. They are quite substantial after law school. Is law school worth this money? Many lawyers do not make big money. But, some make BIG money in the long term by becoming partners or opening own law office handling own clients.  


Not everyone can enjoy attorney work. A fair warning? Can you handle attorney work day-to-day, year-after-year? You decide for yourself.


But, if you still determined to become a lawyer – forget half of the silly advice you hear. Much of the advice out there is total generic politically correct cliché BS.


Well, law school would be the first and major step in becoming a lawyer. You can do it and it is not too complicated. However, there are a few serious issues involved. 


Major Note: you should go to law school ONLY if you want to become a practicing attorney. Any other reason is a flawed reason. Unless it is top 14 law schools – they may open doors in other professional capacities.


Is it possible to succeed as attorney these days? Yes, it is. New industries are appearing – blockchain is one example.

Is it possible to have interesting and fulfilling career as a lawyer? Yes, it is possible. Can you make good money as attorney? Yes,you can.  In fact, some even non-top law school graduates make hundreds of thousands per year if they find good niche and establish themselves in business. But, you succeed only if you really want it. Because it is not easy in the legal profession, it is more difficult and way more competitive than in other professions. Plus, you deal with a-holes quite often. With human ugly problems. 

Want to ace law school? Law is about being a shark. It is about results and achievement at a great cost. Gotta be a shark. Smart and shrewd shark. 


Walk around the rules, without breaking them. If you blindly follow the rules – you will be at the bottom of the food chain. Unfortunately, the law is about shrewdness, not about integrity. And legal ethics is about maintaining appearance of legal ethics, not about sticking to well-established moral values. That is a fact. 

Why you should not become a lawyer - the reality of being a lawyer

Curious to become a lawyer? Thinking about being a lawyer? 


I had enough paralegal experience before law school to figure out whether I can do it or not. I was pretty good in some areas and was valued by law firm’s partners. What I could not figure out timely is whether I wanted to do it or not. 


At this point, I spent 13-15 years doing real legal work for various firms across the globe and I am still not sure if I like it or I hate it. I keep getting calls from a couple of firms asking me to do legal work because I always try to do it best I can. I am doing good work. Now I am doing work related to law – consulting and review work, from my home, on my time, using my own team that I hired and trained, making decent money. But I am not excited about this line of work anymore. I would not do it again if I had a choice. 


I love to manage though – I learned that I can build a solid process and know how to shuffle human resources and exploit their potential. Working for law firm reviewing legal cases and writing appeals all day long will not give me possibility to reveal my true potential. It is just me – many other people excel in legal capacities and become so indispensable at work that they become managers and partners there.  


I was surprised to see how many law students had no idea what they were getting themselves into when they applied to law schools. They had multiple misconceptions about law school and the practice of law. 


Before you invest 80K – 150K into legal education, it would be a good idea to do some research and know what is it about. Whether you are just curious about the possibility of becoming a lawyer or plan to make this very important step in your life, you need the information to help you make a decision. It is kind of naïve to judge the attorney profession based on TV shows or even John Grisham books.


By the way, in his book the Pelican Brief he mentions the drudge of legal work and how many attorneys dream about breaking out doing something else. But, once you start making good money and legal work will become almost automated process for you – after years of doing it – you will not be able to break out because it will comfortably suck you in. And, you may lead a happy good life making a good living in a nice house with great family. It is all individual.


But remember – as attorney, you will be solving someone else’s problems 24/7. Attorney is a problem solver. Because people usually do not come to attorneys before crap happens – they come after they already screwed up. And, you will have to anticipate problems and ensure your clients do not get into them – and bear responsibility if you screw up with your advice. 


Also, the cost of law school is the amount of student debt plus opportunity cost, lack of opportunities after graduation, limited transferable skills if you decide to switch to another profession. Importantly, everyone is afraid to hire you because you are LAWYER. Forget about entry-level positions in other professions – they will view you as OVERQUALIFIED and LAWYER.


You will need to be on the edge, all the time – never relax. Seriously, lawyers never really relax. Most lawyers are in the state of mental war 24/7. Drugs and alcohol do not count as relaxation. 


Lawyers are like plumbers who specialize exclusively in toilets, dealing with human crap. But that is just me. That is how I feel. Honestly. Still did not convince you not to become a lawyer? OK, let’s go on. 

What is like to be a lawyer?

If you want a sneak peek into what does it mean to be a lawyer, you should talk to a real attorney, or work for a law firm personally helping him or her. You can also search for opinions from many other lawyers. Still, you will not be able to feel all the pressure he or she has in the mind throughout the day. 

Or, can read one of the books below (or read my articles on this blog – I talk often about realities of legal work and bash and badmouth industry as much as I feel like).

Your life will become apportioned into two periods: before law school and after law school. Law school does serious brainwashing – I became different person after law school. More cynical but a bit more practical and selfish.

The realities of working in law, whether an attorney or not, include: difficult grueling work, long hours, not much satisfaction, dealing with assholes all the time, fighting other dirty lawyers who play dirty.

It often also involves making less money as you may think lawyers or legal professionals make, continuous worries, stress all the time even after work, deadlines, rules and their application are never clear enough, especially, in litigation, and never ending problems, problems, problems…

Legal work is not fun, because it involves human problems. It may be interesting, challenging, it develops critical thinking skills, but it is certainly not fun. Majority of lawyers or attorneys (yes, there is a difference worldwide) end up doing crappy cases, few interesting ones in their careers, but that’s about it.

If you are very good, you may end up in the position where you select cases that you like, but it takes years to get there. Also, only 3%-4% of cases got to court – most are settled after lots of paper shuffling and negotiations. And, dealing with technicalities all the time.

Trying to obtain your clients who can pay is a daunting time-consuming task. Working as a legal assistant or paralegal does not reveal all peculiarities of being an attorney – only a limited sneak peek. 

There is no justice in law – law is very unjust, and the legal profession is an unjust and legal system often is unjust. It is not about justice or morals – it is about winning and reaching the goal at all possibly allowed costs.

You will become skeptical and a cynical heartless human being – there is no way to be in the legal profession and remain a nice and fluffy. You will realize that some lawyers and even judges break the law often and get away with it. And there is nothing you can do about it. 

A quarter of the ethical norms imposed by ABA and state bars’ rules are often broken anyway, another quarter is simply restricting profession for no good reason, and many rules still do not protect clients who come to you for help. You will have to deal with a lot of other quite sleazy lawyers. 

Do not become an attorney just for money. There is a huge number of attorneys – total oversupply. It is increasingly difficult to make money as an attorney, unless you are in some very specific niche with some unusual and superb skills. For example, a former engineer turned patent attorney. 

Or, have a good pull on ethnic communities around the world and can become an immigration attorney. Or, can write motions in volumes of 50-100 pages per day of solid good material, and love litigation. 

Otherwise, it is hard to make a buck for attorneys these days. People do not want to or cannot pay lawyers. Why should they?

By the way, attorneys get sued too. And attorneys have to pay for malpractice insurance, practice guides, overhead, fees, etc., etc., etc. 

Another thing – law is not interesting. It is boring. It is very technical. It is not creative – very conservative. Judges make mistakes often. Try reading US Code on some technical legal staff like taxation, or mortgage dual tracking regulations. You will see what I mean. Or, even bankruptcy. After you go through 50 exceptions to previous 100 exceptions, you will forget where you started.

Law is never-ending boring glue that ties you to your work chair and keeps you at work well into midnight and on weekends. This legal slime just never ends. 

I have not convinced you and you still want to do law?

Tell yourself – “I want to be a lawyer because…”, and think through the answers.

The only and only reason you should go to law school is if you want to practice law. On the other hand, how would you know what law practice is until you practice law? Catch 22. 

Any other reason like intent to go into politics, or desire to go and help social justice, poor people or save small kittens from abuse is total bs. Well, except, maybe for political aspiration. Even then, unless you go to a top famous school it is hard to imagine how law degree can help you get into politics. 

Said that I do have two classmates from Rutgers School of Law who went into state politics and got into elected positions. Law school was just one of many factors in their background.

If you want to be anyone else other than an attorney – do not go to law school. Do not take this strange detour. Go straight for your dream and make sure what you do is meaningful and important to you. Make sure your dream pays your bills. 

Law school does NOT benefit the non-legal profession. Well, yes, I now know how to write wordy 3500-word blog posts in a day or two, but I could learn that on my own, without law school. Yes, sharpened critical thinking and analytical skills developed in law become an asset, but are not worth the student debt.

Yes, I can read and analyze people and events much better, but was it worth the trouble? Well, if not for student debt, I would say I do not regret having law school and legal experience. It is really helpful in some life aspects and in professional life too. 

I learned a lot about discipline and a bit about myself and my abilities and potential. But I would rather do something else unless I could go again to law school practically for free. Still, I would rather go into science or tech – that is where the future still lies. Just my thing.

Read a lot

I suggest reading one or two books below. Some are politically correct but may help you to figure out whether you should be a lawyer. 


Warning – every book is someone’s personal opinion, just like this blog is mine. 


Do not take everything written close to heart but pick up as much practical information as possible. Being a lawyer is about making your own decisions against the opinions of those who oppose you. It is also about reading between and behind the lines because much of written staff is written to influence mind of the reader.


To find out more about each book and price, you may visit a link to each of the books. Those might be affiliate links and if you purchase any of these books, I may get a small commission. 


If you want fun, light reading – fiction books by John Grisham are still good.  But, they are just that – fiction, with legal flavor. He used to be attorney. 


If not, skip this section for now and read further. But here is an honest hint: if you are too lazy to read book or two even in the fiction department, then the law is not your path. Law school is a very reading-intensive program. Lawyers must read a lot of difficult and boring legal material every single day. 


If you do not want to read (or write) at least 20-50 pages a day of difficult material for work – do not even bother to apply for law school, or train yourself to read and process plenty of information. At least, If you cannot finish one or two of these books over the 2-3 months – think again whether you should apply to law school at all.


Also, here is another hint about books, videos, blogs, blogs, etc. Most of them are designed to sell you some sort of course or a product. My blog is no exception. But choose to buy from those who want to tell you the truth, who want to educate you, who tell things like it is and does not sugar coat.


Because we are talking about a very significant investment of time, money and effort here. Law school and law careers are not easy by any means. 

Recommended reading and Books

Learn about the law and legal profession as much as you can. Read books, read blogs (my blog – shameless plug!), articles, look for YouTube videos. I suggest to not sugar coat your dreams but look for as much negative information as possible – to learn the truth first. 


If there is anything positive – it will come your way anyway when you become a lawyer. But you need to be aware of the dark sides of a profession before you jump into it.


And yes, nooks. Books are written for a reason.


Books about being a lawyer:

1. Running from the Law: Why Good Lawyers Are Getting Out of the Legal Profession


 Another book describing how good and a successful lawyers can be miserable in their pursuit of professional success. Books also describe ways out of the profession and ways to cope and adjust to being a lawyer. Decent reading before law school as it is based on the author’s personal experience. She is head of her consulting agency which helps attorneys transitioning to other careers.


2. The Unhappy Lawyer: A Roadmap to Finding Meaningful Work Outside of the Law

 One last book by a former Harvard Law grad who realized that law practice was less attractive than doing something alternative and law-related. Large book – 240 pages, but full of testimonials by lawyers why they are unhappy with being attorneys.


 3. Should You Be A Lawyer?: The Guide To Smart Career Choices Before, During & After Law School


You should read this book before any other. This is a starter guide for anyone who considers applying to law school. It will make you ask yourself questions about why you think you want to become a lawyer. Written by the former editor in chief of ESPN The Magazine, is president of Elland Road Partners in New York City. Ratings are 3.5 out of 5. 


4. Law School Confidential: A Complete Guide to the Law School Experience: By Students, for Students


Although getting a little bit outdated, this is still a classic useful book for aspiring law students. 


5. Tomorrow’s Lawyers: An Introduction To Your Future


 If you want to read something more exciting about the legal profession and its development – you can read this book. It is more like cheerleading for the future of the legal profession and is written by a lawyer and professor of law from Great Britain. Having said that – being a professor is quite different from being a practicing attorney. 


6. Letters to a Young Lawyer (Art of Mentoring)


 Oldie but a goodie. This is a really good book that describes the difficult side of being a lawyer – a complicated professional ethical issues involved, if you think you can handle that – you can go ahead and pack for law school.



Here is a deal. If you want to read at least one or two books – read one of then two from the top of this list, and then read Law School Confidential. 


There are many ways to train and prepare yourself for law school. It is not true that one cannot prepare – in fact, it is a misconception. But you need to know facts to prepare for the future. You can train yourself to pass LSAT with a better score. You can train your self to read and understand legal material better, including legal opinions – an essential skill for law school. 


You can also prepare for law school exams, learn and prepare to use helpful and essential materials and resources to study and obtain better grades. Also, how to spent time wisely and law school and start preparing for the bar exam from your first day of law school.

Author’s bio:

Max Feo, JD, MBA, Tax LLM.

Formerly UCLA-trained paralegal, Max obtained his Juris Doctor degree from Rutgers School of Law, Camden, New Jersey. Then, he went on to obtain his LLM in Taxation degree from Loyola School of Law Los Angeles, California. Prior to legal career Max obtained his LLB in International law and relations and an MBA. Max has been working in business and law in the United States and abroad, including performing consulting work for international law firms.