How To Quit Law School When You're Almost Done

Hello, again.  Long time no post, I know.  This is from a combination of holidays, travel, and work.  I thought I'd start this post with a quick update about how my life has gone now that it has been more than a year since I sat in a law school classroom.  In the past few months my job with my growing new company has felt better and better, and I've decided to stick with it for the time being.  I won't be going back to get a teaching certificate any time soon.  However, I may still pursue that path in the future.  (After all, I still have what my family has nicknamed the "poverty-seeking gene."  There are quite a few teachers in the family.)

Especially during this post-law-school period of my life, I've been much more willing to take some chances provided they feel right and good.  I'm also pretty much always willing to travel as I figure I'm only getting older and these opportunities may not present themselves as much in the future.  (Got a trip for me to join you on?  Let me know!)  Overall, this chance-taking has led to some great experiences, and I don't feel anything like I felt during law school.  Sometimes I felt good in law school, and, as I've mentioned, I had some great experiences there.  But now I feel so much more that I'm headed in a direction that I can be truly comfortable with, and that isn't just the natural career progression step following completion of a history degree.  I keep meaning to write about quitting law school regret, but it really just isn't on my mind that much.  Early on it hit me pretty hard a few times, but I think that was mostly just because my life had changed so dramatically so quickly.  I may not have it all figured out at this point, but I feel good--and that's definitely better than feeling crappy just to finish up a degree.

I also have a question I wanted to address (hence the title of this post) about quitting further down the law school road.  3L Barrett asked:   (edited)

I am in my third year of law school ..., but due to the school's shady manipulation of credits I will have to stay for another year and a half to graduate. While looking over the repayment schedule, I find myself wondering if getting a JD would be worth all the extra loans I would have to take out. What do you think?


First, that sounds pretty sucky.  I assume you have exhausted your resources to determine if there is a way to avoid that situation, which can be taxing in and of itself.  Either way, in moving forward you don't want to let a sucky circumstance cloud your judgment about your future.  If I were you, I'd probably want to try and get to a mental state where I'm not angry about it before I made any decisions.

Second, so you're almost done with three years of law school.  Obviously, that is a huge accomplishment, and probably should not be idly cast aside.  As much as I hear it's a tough life out there for some recent JDs in finding work, a law degree is a great boon for many a career or resume.

Third, I suppose it all comes down to your cost-benefit ratios.  I would be very hesitant about quitting as far along as you are.  If your sole reasons for quitting are based on the debt you would further accumulate, I guess the big question is what are you going to do with what you've already accumulated?  It's all a matter of your contingency plan at that point, it seems.  If you have a way to reduce the amount of time it will take to pay off your debt (which is what it sounds like is concerning you), then I think you can probably consider quitting among your options.  However, if you don't really see a way of reducing the amount of time you'll spend paying off your loans, perhaps you'll do best to finish up your degree and get the best law job you can get/would want.  If you do have a great plan B for a non-JD job, then great.  I guess this decision can be more easily made.  However, excepting that, I'd seriously think about finishing.  That said, you may have other factors making you consider dropping out of law school.

Fourth, I'm just me.  I'm a quittorney who really only knows his own story.  Talk to those you trust in your life who have your best interests in mind.  It sounds as though your confidence and trust in your law school officials may be a bit shot, but if you have any professors or counselors that you feel you could talk with, I really recommend doing so.  I'd especially recommend student loan counselors, as that sounds like your primary concern.

Fifth, to sum up, I quit when I had roughly a year and a half left, myself.  If you can handle the idea of having your present student loans for what will feel like forever, and that is better than the forever and a few years that adding three more semesters' worth of loans would add to that, then I would say you could probably consider quitting.  If you can get gainful employment now that wouldn't require a JD, then I would say you could probably consider quitting when you're as far as you are.  Otherwise, it sounds like you may need to seriously consider finishing it out.

Finally, I seriously wish you well.  I hope I helped at least a little.  And if you have any further questions, let me know.

To all, I wish you well.  Until next time, de-stress with one of my favorite stress-relievers:  ,, or  .  (I guess these represent awesome distracting entertainment, punching/hitting things, and travel/theme parks, respectively.)

Next time on How To Quit Law School:  We'll hear from another former law school student about her experiences and any advice she may have.

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