I Hate What I Am Doing, I Hate Where I Am In Life

Q: I am 22 years old and I am a second year law student. Although, I love the study of law, I am very dissatisfied with the practice of law. Basically I hate what I am doing, I hate where I am in life, but I am in so much debt I cannot see straight. I know I don't want to be a lawyer. Whenever I tell people that I don't want to be a lawyer they proclaim don't worry, a law degree is so marketable. However, no one can tell me what else I can do. I read the book What You Can Do With A Law Degree but all the careers mentioned either do not interest me, will not cover my debt, or require more education thus more money which equals more debt. I feel like I am in too deep to back out now. I feel like a prisoner. Please tell me what I can do. Please tell me who I can talk to (and please don't tell me to talk to the counselors at school; they just tell me to learn more about the legal profession). Thank you for your time.

A: My answer begins with a question, What are you interested in? You never really mentioned that you were interested in anything else other than the study of law. Now, if there is some field that interests you, learn more about it. Maybe that is where you need to be. Fortunately the field of law is involved in just about everything in some way. Someone with a passion for music might focus on contracts and intellectual property in hopes of working for a music publisher or representing musical acts. On the other hand you may want to make a difference in peoples' lives and decide to work for a nonprofit representing the indigent. Try to remember what attracted you to the law in the first place.

I hate to sound like your counselors, but there are many types of law and lawyers. I doubt at 22 years old and in the second year of law school that you have explored them all. Seek out lawyers who are satisfied with their work and their lives; chances are they probably felt the same way at one time as you do now. Attend bar association events and talk to members. Ask them what excites them about their work and what choices they would make if they were entering into practice now.

You should also seek experiences that are closer to the practice of law. Try representing a client through your school's clinical program or volunteer to participate in a nonprofit organization's activities. Dealing with real-life problems and helping clients can help turn uninteresting study into an exciting practice. A subject that seems uninteresting at first could lead to more exciting opportunities. Try not to decide in advance that you don't like something.

My suggestion is that until you determine where your real interests lie, you should try to do the absolute best you can in law school because, at least for this moment, the law (at least some facet of it) is what interests you the most.