November 21, 2013
Law School and the "World of Work" Map
Posted by Christine Hurt

Wow-studentSo, last night we were introduced to the ACT "World of Work" map at a meeting designed to prepare us for our sophomore daughter preparing herself for college.  I can't get past the map.  Besides the categories being just plain weird ("working with data" equals "police officer," but "statistician" is working with "ideas and things"), law school applicants are getting some very bad advice.  So, law is contained in "community services," located straight out on the "working with people vector."  Lawyer is included with social worker, counselor and other helping professions such as nursing and teaching. 

Of course, the practice of law is a helping profession, but if your instincts tell you that you would like to work closely with individuals to help them, then law school is a pretty expensive way to do that.  Yes, some lawyers do work one-on-one with individual clients to solve daily problems, and there is great satisfaction in those jobs.  And, lawyers have the tools to help in ways that social workers can't.  But if you go to law school to do that, you may find yourself in a job very far removed from that in order to recoup your investment.  A job like this.

Possibly, law careers could be broken down into different groups, some in "working with ideas" (appellate lawyers, transactional lawyers," some in "working with people and ideas" (trial lawyers).  And this doesn't even touch on the potential law jobs working with data.  But telling high school sophomores that "if you like the idea of helping people, you might think of being a nurse or being a lawyer" might be contributing to disillusionment of law students and lonely first-year associates (and a shortage of nurses).





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