To be a “lawyer”or not to be: that is the question.

My mom is a liberal arts college professor. Her students are smart, driven, and often interested in pursuing a career in law. That’s where I come in. Every month or so, she asks me to speak to a student about being a lawyer and, of course, law school.

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I made the decision to become a lawyer at the wise age of 5. My god father was (and still is) a lawyer, and I wanted to make “300 dollars a day just like him.” That decision put me on the path to where I am today. I grew up as the kid who was going to be a lawyer. I did well in undergrad and then—boom—I was sitting in torts class pretending I understood what a tort was.

Before, during, and the first few years after law school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do as a lawyer. I had ideas, tons of them. But I really didn’t know. To calm my anxiety, I fed myself the usual bullshit: you can do anything with a law degree, right? But that only helped until I saw my monthly student loan statement: 261,405.47 dollars and counting. No joke.

It wasn’t until my first job representing the underprivileged that I first figured out what I wanted to do. I’m grateful I found a legal discipline I love, especially considering a number of my law school classmates (with just as much student loan debt) have not been as lucky.

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Choosing to pursue law is not a decision to take lightly, so before you take the plunge, do everything you can to figure out what you want to do as a lawyer. Take advantage of internships, volunteer at a courthouse, grab lunch with a practicing lawyer (and shadow them for a day or two if you can), spend time watching court (Judge Judy doesn’t count), and—most importantly—take your time.

Things don’t always just fall into place. I got lucky, but not all do.

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