Pre-Law Advising

Is Law Right For Me?

Pursuing a career in law involves a lot of time, money, and commitment. It’s important to know that a legal career is the right fit for you.

Self Reflection

As you attempt to determine if this career is a good fit for you, it is critical that you take the time to know yourself and your goals. What are the things that will bring you a sense of meaning and fulfillment in your career? It may be a particular legal subject matter; it may be a particular cause or population that you care about. It may be a set of activities that you enjoy, such as reading, writing, performing, negotiating or mediating. It may be a role that you like to play – champion, mouthpiece, scholar, dealmaker. The sources of satisfaction are diverse. As you think about a career, and a career in law, consider what your drivers are, and try to figure out if there’s a career in law that ticks enough boxes for you. 


The heart of the legal profession is justice and justice and fairness are based on integrity. Honest but passionate advocacy is a good lawyer’s stock in trade. Law and ethics are related but not identical. No one wants to deal with, and no one trusts, an advocate whose behavior may be strictly speaking legal but transgresses ethical norms.  

Good lawyers are good lawyers (the reverse is often, but not always, true). The ability to assess situations, spot issues, foresee consequences, reason by analogy, and understand first principles are all skills that good lawyers have to varying degrees. Attention to detail is important in law but the same time, the spirit of the law is in the sweep and breadth of principles. The best lawyers think not only of details, but of cases, statutes and regulations. 

Law is an intensely creative profession. Transactional lawyers create new, productive arrangements between clients; trial lawyers must create the most compelling story from the facts underlying a dispute; regulatory lawyers chart new courses through the law to help their clients achieve their objectives. By necessity, many legal engagements require extensions or variations on existing law and the best lawyers see not the restrictions of the past but the possibilities of the future.

Most lawyers deal extensively with people as a regular part of their working life. Knowing what motivates your clients, what motivates other parties to a deal or a case, anticipating the reactions of judges and jurors, reading the stony faces of government regulators; understanding the emotional and psychological needs of your colleagues, employees, your family and yourself – these are traits that typify successful attorneys.  

Get Involved

We encourage you to investigate law careers as much as possible as you consider your own path. One way to do this would be to see if you like the primary subject matter; reading, writing about and discussing the law by taking law-oriented courses. Brown also has a number of lively student organizations related to law. You can also participate in internships, community service and other advocacy volunteering opportunities that are interesting to you. These do not have to be specifically law-related, but can be in areas you want to explore.

The best way to have a realistic idea of what a career in law is like would be to speak with current lawyers in areas of law that are interesting to you. They can provide an accurate and current view of the work you would be doing. Some students find alumni through BrownConnect and the Center for Career Exploration. Ari Gabinet helps students identify Brown alumni whose careers in law are of particular interest, and has provided introductions for many prospective law students.