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What would YOU do? Law or teach?

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Joined: 07 Oct 2004
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Oct 07, 2004 10:01 pm    Post subject: What would YOU do? Law or teach? Reply with quote

Hello, I just discovered this site and have already read many of your excellent posts. This is a quality group of people. Here's my situation: I just graduated from law school in May. I'm now awaiting the results from the CA July bar exam. My problem is that I'm virtually certain that I don't want to practice law, even if I do pass the exam. My heroes are Goethe, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Beethoven, and Mozart - not money-grubbing lawyers. I'm 32 years old, not married, no children. I graduated from law school at this relatively old age because I spent years out of school reading and listening to the works of these heroes, along with thinking and writing about my own concerns. I'd love to learn Russian and/or German, and teaching English abroad seems like a great way to do this. Also, I seek to escape this culture (U.S.A.) in which entertainment capacity and vulgarity have become the supreme measures of value. I fell in love with St. Petersburg, Russia when I went there in 1989. I also have some connections in Kiev that would make that a possibility. I have no connections in Germany or Austria, but would love to go there too. What would you do? Do you think I should give up my legal career and teach abroad? Also, do you think that my law degree will be at all advantageous in getting hired? If I were eventually to decide to practice law after teaching, I imagine that my knowledge of Russian or German would be quite valuable. Any constructive input will be appreciated.
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Trojan Horse

Joined: 30 Dec 2003
Posts: 61
Location: Europe

PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2004 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello there jitpring,

I studied law too. I'll give you my thoughts for what they're worth:

1) think about and write down where you want to be 5 yrs from now (in terms of lifestyle, etc). The clearer this longer term goal is, the easier it becomes to make these major decisions.

2) you've invested substantial amounts of time , work, money into getting a law degree, why not at least try it for 2 years ?

3) you're still young but if you do decide to go into law later, it may not be to your advantage to be over 35

4) legal work is not just working for Arthur Andersen and similar businesses. How about working for the United Nations or something similar (they have work schemes - 1 yr basis)

5) lawyers can work all over the world too (with much better perks)

Good luck whatever you decide to do
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Joined: 22 Sep 2004
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2004 3:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How are you gonna pay your loans back? My husband is finishing his law school and would like to go teach BUT loans... Confused Teaching in Russia definately is not gonna help you pay them. Unless you have no loans Laughing In this case you can go to Russia, study Russian and work for a forejgn company as a lawer or teach law.
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Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 40

PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2005 5:25 pm    Post subject: Teach or Law? Reply with quote

I faced a similar dilemma to you nearly four years ago. After finishing law school from a mediocre institution and not being interested in practicing law, I felt a little lost. I had about 45k in debt, and a wife still in grad school.. I passed time doing contract legal work, doing interviews for jobs I did not want, and wondering about the future. My wife came home from school one day and said a military recruiter came and spoke to her class. "They have lawyers in the military don't they...?" (I thought to myself) A few months later I was wearing the uniform.

Now I am months away from finishing my commitment, whew!, with great experience and a good looking resume...and no debt! I would recommend this to anyone, that is if you can stand the obvious politics. I was certainly an unlikely candidate when I first applied. ALso, these jobs are relatively competitive. If you want a few hints on applying please let me know.

I recommend thinking about where you want to go in the future. Life is to short to do what you don't like. At the same time sometimes doing the nasty work will get you somewhere you could not otherwise have gotten. I can say I am happy I made the choice I did, and am now looking forward to a little travel and teaching with my wife.

Good luck!
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Joined: 28 Dec 2004
Posts: 215
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2005 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in a similar situation to you. I've spent the last 6 months getting excited about teaching in a far away exotic location. Then two weeks ago a really good finance job came and knocked on my door. I was given about 4 hours to decide if I wanted the job.
I sat down and thought about what I needed to have in five years time and realised that earning $500 per month was not going to buy me a house in Australia or pay current debts. I guess for now English teaching is on hold until I'm more financially secure.
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Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 248
Location: somewhere out there

PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2005 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's my 2 cents as a well-seasoned human being. If you spend your time in a job you don't like you're wasting your life, your time, and your energy. Just because you spent lots of years and plenty of money becoming a lawyer, there is NO reason you shouldn't change your mind any time you like. Working consumes a large portion of your day, every day. Why spend your valuable time on something that doesn't make you happy?

If you think that teaching in Russia will make you happy--try it. It may be that you have a sixth sense that is trying to lead you somewhere. Listen to it.

(P.S. And not to rain on your parade, the last thing that America really needs is more lawyers.....)
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Joined: 03 May 2004
Posts: 1025
Location: Somewhere, out there

PostPosted: Mon Feb 21, 2005 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I, too, graduated with a law degree; but, I then spent the next fifteen years practising law. I found doing something you don't really like doing doesn't get any easier with the passing years.

If you are willing to put in the effort as a teacher that you would have to put in as a lawyer and you have a little financial discipline, you can have a comfortable (modest) lifestyle; save money for retirement, and, perhaps, have a life that will energize you because it suits your interests and temperament better than earning your living as a lawyer would.
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