The new year is upon us, and that can mean only one question is at the forefront of most people's minds interested in the legal profession: do you really want to become a lawyer? With tuition rates on the rise and the American Bar Association telling people to think carefully before applying to law school, it would behoove you to give the question its fair due.
The "where" has to do with more than simple geography. It may include the types of knowledge one would expect to use in the job hunt, the people internal to the organization and those served by it, as well as the everyday working conditions. "Where" would also include the level or salary you would expect if you worked in this particular organization.
During your undergraduate degree there should be ample opportunities to research the law, whether for an essay, dissertation or other piece of assessed project work. Many students find that the freedom offered by the chance to carry out your own individually designed and structured research is the most rewarding of all opportunities available at university. If you find this to be the case then you may well be cut out for a career in academia. But what does a career in academia mean? For the discipline of law it usually means a mixture of teaching, research and the associated administration that inevitably accompanies these activities-especially teaching. Unlike some disciplines, such as science, there are very few university jobs that involve pure research, unless you confine yourself to a research post in which case you limit your career horizons and income. If you are committed to the academic life then I would recommend that you enroll in a postgraduate degree to develop your research skills. This is not necessarily the advice everyone would offer, as it is possible to become a member of law school staff without a postgraduate degree if you have an alternative professional qualification that substitutes practical experience for time-served research experience. However, if you do not undertake a postgraduate degree, then you will have to spend time gaining the professional qualification and if that is not immediately appealing to you, there is little point in using it as a route to academia.