5 Bad “Why I Want to Be a Lawyer” Topics

If you explain why you want to be a lawyer, you need to demonstrate that you have a realistic understanding of the job. All applicants, but especially those who plan to write about their professional goals and motivations, should do some research. Don’t sit down and rewatch Legally Blonde. Talk to real, live lawyers.

You should not claim you want to be a lawyer for any of the following reasons.

1. You Love to Argue

In the constellation of Things That Lawyers Actually Spend Their Time Doing, argument is a small and distant star. Telling the admissions committee how much you love to argue is a great argument against admitting you.

2. You Were Born to Be a Lawyer

Maybe everyone in your family was a lawyer. Maybe you’ve wanted to be a lawyer since you were three. So what? You need to show the admissions committee that you’ve made a considered decision to apply as an adult.

3. Atticus Finch

Under no circumstances should you refer to Law & Order, The Good Wife, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Few Good Men, or any other courtroom drama. If you’re looking for drama and excitement, you’re going into the wrong field.

4. You Love the Constitution

As this scary but fairly on-point video warns, “There are like three lawyers in America who argue constitutional issues. They all went to Harvard and graduated in the 1970s. Do you have a time machine, so you can go back to the 1970s and graduate with those guys?”

5. Why Not?

Nobody actually writes, “I want to be a lawyer because hey, why not?” But plenty of people convey that attitude. The members of the admissions committee know that law school is the path of least resistance for some. Make it clear that you are not running away from a bad economy, another career that didn’t work out, or a riskier choice. You want to show the committee what you’re running towards.

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