Want to Be a Lawyer? Take This Test First

If you’re reading this, you have more than a passing interest in becoming a lawyer. Because law school is such a huge decision, we encourage you to heavily weigh your options, and this test will help you figure out if being an attorney is really for you. Many people in their law school decision don’t include an evaluation of whether they will be happy as a lawyer. Happiness in a career comes when the job satisfies the goals you have set. Picture the type of life you want to live, and from that frame of reference answer these questions:

• Do I enjoy working closely with people regarding sensitive issues or events that affect their lives?

• Can I empathize with a person’s situation while still maintaining the ability to objectively analyze the situation?

• Can I enthusiastically make arguments for positions that I don’t personally support?

• Do I like to read and study?

• Am I good at explaining concepts to others in a clear and concise manner?

• Do I like to explain or teach others about subjects that they do not understand or harbor misconceptions about?

• Can I balance a demanding work schedule with my personal life? Can I maintain non-law-related hobbies and interests?

• Do I like competition? Do I thrive in a competitive environment?

• Can I deal with losing/failing sometimes?

• Do deadlines motivate me? Can I meet deadlines without stressing over them?

• Am I good at negotiating solutions to problems between adversaries?

• Can I handle the negative stereotypes that many people have about lawyers?

• Can I handle myself in high pressure situations? Can I maintain my cool when I am angry?

• Do I like having big responsibilities?

• Do I like to solve puzzles? Am I good at finding unique solutions to problems?

• Can I deal with making little more than a modest living? (the majority of lawyers make less than $100,000 a year)

The proceeding questions are designed to be answered “yes.” If you have answered “no” to a high number of these questions, or a more-troubling emphatic “NO!” to any of the questions, you might spend some time confirming that you have a clear picture of what being a lawyer is really like. If these concepts conflict with the picture you have for your life, it is likely that you will not be happy as a lawyer. On the contrary, if you find yourself authentically nodding and saying “Yes!” to most or all of these questions, you may have just found your perfect profession.