How to Analyze the Decision to Leave Law School

There is one key to any analysis of the decision to quit law school that is vital to keep in balance: your long-term priorities.

A decision to quit law school can definitely happen too fast.  I have been contemplating this decision for months now and even I had a moment a few days ago amidst a conversation about the value of a JD where I felt panic-stricken.  "Have I made this decision too quickly?!"  I'm a strong advocate of getting out of there before you're too deep into it, but you absolutely must give this decision the respect and time it deserves.  It's important.

"What are your dreams?"
A very good friend of mine gave me a great piece of advice when I found myself adrift and floundering to come up with the solution for my law school prison problem.  She asked me a point blank question that caught me off guard:  "What are your dreams?"  ...I realized that I didn't have any.  Not even was becoming a lawyer a former dream.  I just didn't have any!  She told me about a book she'd read.  The author suggested that those adrift (like us lucky folks who need a blog like this) write down the following: five things you want to do in the next 6 months, five things you want to be in the next 6 months, five things you want to have in the next 6 months, and then repeat each for the next year.  So you write out 30 things you want total.  You look at these six lists and pick 3 things from each to focus on.  I suggest doing the 1 year lists first and then using the 6 month ones to be incremental (half-way points?) goals toward the ultimate year goals.  It's actually harder than you think to come up with these goals, but you should sit down and do it anyway... you're making a tough decision.

Doing this really helped me to find out that I do have some dreams.  I tried to stay semi-realistic, but was liberal in giving myself some room to dream in setting my goals.  I have some fun goals, and some that are very practical.  (Having enough money for debt payments.  No, duh.)

I guess the moral of including this in this post, is that if you find law-related things still showing up in your lists of goals, you should probably reconsider quitting law school.  But if you, like me, find legal matters to be the furthest thing from your dreams... you know what to do.

The Old Tried and True
Pros and Cons Lists have been there to help me in making many decisions. 

  •  Pro:  Buying this dog will give me a friend I can rely on to cheer me up when I get home from oppressive law school classes.  
  • Con:  Buying this dog will lead to many a smelly surprise in my house.  
I bought the dog.  (I'll settle for some dog shit now and then if it means I can have something cheer me up after law school prison.)  Undoubtedly, I made many more and much more serious pro and con lists for this important decision to abandon my legal studies.  

In order to make a decent pro and con list for this choice I had to circumvent the biggest obstacle presented by pro and con lists.  Emotion.  I often go into a list made willy-nilly knowing exactly which side will come out on top.  To combat this I found a great website that factors emotion into the pros and cons in a helpful way.  Pro Con Lists allows you to factor the emotional and rational nature of each individual pro or con.  I highly recommend this site if you like the pro and con list analysis.  (A quick perusal of the site just now reveals that my anonymous list is still there for you to view.  :-/ )

Whatever your method, just remember to focus on your long-term priorities.
P.S. Perhaps you can get some funny, if not honest, folks to hash out the arguments for you.
P.P.S. Or, what about the economics of it all?  (Wow, a little of my law school has definitely stuck with me.)

Next time on How to Quit Law School: The old ball and chain... THE DEBT!

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