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Lions and tigers and poli-sci, oh my!

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Political science major, journalism double major, sociology minor, first generation Greek woman, no student loans… I am a discouraged prospective law school student.

So is DePaul University senior Jacqueline Claire, 22, who was not laughing as professors joked about day in the life of an attorney—professors who are not attorneys themselves.

“In multiple classes, I feel like jokes were cracked about lawyers,” Claire said. “Only one teacher out of four was willing to write a recommendation letter for me and claimed that they were overwhelmed with work, even though I gave them months to write the letters for me and am an ‘A’ student.”

Political science student Nicole Bentancourt, who graduated DePaul last year, agrees with Claire. “Many professors would joke and kid about us turning to the ‘dark side’ and becoming mindless drones who completely disregard emotion and who will become morally void,” Bentancourt said.

Abir Usman, 21, never thought about law school when declaring her political science major and religious studies double major, yet she sympathizes with students who are pursuing law school.

“I’ve never had a class where law school was an encouraged option, and seeing as a majority of students are headed on that track, I would hope that there be some guidance,” Usman said. “But not addressing career options at all is the real issue.”

DePaul University political science professor Dr. Khalil Marrar earned a PhD in political science from Loyola University and was also dissuaded by his professors to pursue law school. Marrar, however, does encourage his own students to attend law school—if they have chosen that path—and offers his guidance to prospective law school students.

“My professors did dissuade me from law school,” said Marrar. “But the obstacles in making that decision came not from my professors, but from the dire circumstances many new lawyers find themselves in—few prospects of gainful employment, coupled with the heavy burden of student loans. But that was 10 years ago; law school is much more costly today.”

Senior Dan Tombasco understands the issues surrounding student loans, and while professors should warn students to critically think about the decision to attend law school for three years, he is skeptical of their intentions.

“Professors could have been attempting to give a ‘dose of reality’ to those planning to go into the legal field, but nevertheless, I think at times it is misplaced and disheartening,” said Tombasco. “My biggest frustration is with those professors who never went to law school, yet they focus on all the negatives that persuade a student not to pursue it.”

One particular political science student, who wishes to remain anonymous, has taken five classes with the same political science professor who is also their advisor. Similarly to Tombasco, they feel as though their advisor has continued to dissuade them to pursue law school. Although enjoying the professor’s teaching style, they “didn’t really address who SHOULD go to law school or give advice about law school, but I would rather have professors open up new opportunities than just add to the idea that a political science degree equates to law school,” the student said.

This professor is not a lawyer, not a lobbyist, not by any means practicing law—so why such strong opposition to law school?

David Yi may have the answer. As a University of Chicago Law School graduate, LSAT blogger and instructor who prepares clients to take the LSAT, Yi said, “law schools can be misleading. They open several doors, don’t get me wrong, but they also leave students thinking that they will be making six figures when they graduate.”

I understand I will not be making six figures when I graduate law school. I know the financial difficulties law school graduates face.

What are students supposed to do when they reach their senior year and are still discouraged from attaining their goals by their teachers—drop everything and start from the beginning? Explore new options after already applying to law school and getting accepted?

If one has the financial means of pursuing law school, as well as the support from family and friends and the motivation to practice law after graduating law school, I say pursue it with confidence and don’t let anyone bring you down.

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The Student News Site of DePaul University
Lions and tigers and poli-sci, oh my!