The Biggest Risk I’ve Ever Taken

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What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? I should start off by saying that I’m not really the risk-taking type. I’m the type of person who thinks everything through about 50 times before doing it, who weighs all of the options before committing, who likes to know exactly what I’m getting myself into before I commit to something. But there have been a few times in my life (more and more, lately) where I decide to just go for it and see what happens. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t…but that’s half the fun, right?

I have to say without a glimmer of a doubt that the biggest risk I’ve taken thus far in my life was going to law school. There are countless sources out there saying every day why law school is a horrible decision and why no self-respecting, intelligent individual would try to enter the field of law in the United States right now. But I did.

The legal market in this country is abysmal right now, there’s no denying that. But I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that for many, many years a law degree guaranteed you a cushy associate position in a relatively large firm as long as you had good grades. IMO, it attracted the wrong sort of people to the profession. Lawyers by nature are adversarial in this country, but the idea of a well-paying job just for getting a degree after college brings in people who are only in it for the money, not because they like the work. $100,000+ salaries right out of law school don’t really exist anymore (at least not for people graduating from a non-Ivy school like mine, even if it is Tier 1), and honestly with the career that I’m pursuing, it’s doubtful that I’ll ever see that figure in my life.

Still, the risk of going to law school has been completely worth it for me. I’ve finally found work that I find both rewarding and challenging – up until this point, everything that I’ve done seems to only have fit into one of those two categories. And even law school itself hasn’t been so bad. My classes this semester are nothing to write home about, but I think the journal and mock trial will be really great resume builders experiences. And I can’t even begin to describe how amazing some of the people that I’ve met because of law school are. The decision to go to law school will continue to be a “risk” in my book until I find a job after graduation. But for now, I’m just along for the ride.

So now that you’ve heard mine…what was the biggest risk that you ever took?

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About Kimberly H.

I'm a Wisconsin girl born and bred - a 2L at the University of Wisconsin Law School and a former member of the UW Marching Band. I married my best friend on 7/7/2012 and am an avid lover of nail polish, corgi pups and historical fiction novels!

3 responses »

  1. Lawyers tend to be a risk-averse bunch. I’m the same way. Law school wasn’t as risky when I took the plunge, but I graduated in 2006, when the legal market was still good and salaries were increasing. My chosen path was a little riskier because it was public interest (far fewer jobs and far less money), but I was still lucky to enter the field pre-2009. The good news is that the legal market is improving (probably depending on location), maybe not as quickly as we all hoped, but it’s still progress. Good luck!

    • Thanks for the encouragement! I’m actually interested in criminal work myself (ideally I’d love to work in a public defender’s office), and for the most part I know what I’m getting myself into in terms of high workload and small salary. Still, I think it’s rewarding work and that will make everything worth it. If I can get any job upon graduation in May 2014, I’ll be a happy camper.

  2. I agree that it’s rewarding work. One of my good friends from law school is a federal public defender, and she is one of the smartest, hardest working lawyers I know. I’m a cause lawyer at a non-profit, and I love what I do. The happiest lawyers are the ones who didn’t chase the money. Good luck!

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