Mike from Crime and Federalism brought my attention to this blog, the travails of a lawyer performing temporary document review assignments. That blogger's advice to a student at a third tier school:
I told her to take a good look around the courtroom we were in (King's Supreme). I told her to look at the unshaven slobs, blood-shot eyes, JC Penny wardrobe, beer guts, etc. Take a look at these clowns squinting to read the NY Post b/c their gutter firms have no eyeglass/optic plan. Look at the bad teeth from no dental insurance. Imagine riding 2 hours on the train from some aluminum-sided tract house in a ghetto and trying to explain to your children why they have to eat spaghetti and Ramen noodles for supper every nite. Take a good, hard look, because this is your future.While the lawyers were dressed considerably better and apparently owned toothbrushes, and I wasn't envisioning a future of Ramen noodles and spaghetti, I do recall a moment in my career when I looked around a civil courtroom filled with some of the "most successful lawyers" in a particular county and saw not one happy face. I don't know how you can take in such a scene without wondering, "Is this what I want to be in twenty years." (For me, it wasn't and it won't be.) If you want to be a lawyer, try to find an area of practice that leaves you at least reasonably content. If you can't, at least from my perspective, you should be asking yourself if the money (or anticipated money) is worth the misery.
There is biglaw and there is nothing else. Law is as all or nothing as it gets- if law were the food industry you would have the Four Seasons and McDonald's with nothing in between.There's a lot else, actually.