22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Asking the Tough Questions
, September 19, 2000
The strength of Mr. Coleman's work, The Pre-Law Companion, is its honest look at the legal profession from the point of view most useful to a potential law student: why you might NOT want to attend law school. The author is tough and unwavering in his approach to talking about the reality of life as a lawyer, and in asking the questions that most people overlook. However, his directness is tempered with humor, flair and personality as he provides a rather endearing look into his own journey through the process and shares some of the pitfalls he encountered along the way. By utilizing a healthy balance of instruction and wit, Mr. Coleman has successfully created this essential pre-law guide.
In the first half of the book, the author leads the reader through a fresh and rigorous look at his or her individual strengths and weaknesses as a potential lawyer. Since obtaining a J.D. involves a significant commitment of time, money and other more intangible resources (like family support, toll on friendships or social life, the opportunity cost of lost income while in school, to name a few), the decision to invest these resources deserves a hard look. This investigation involves broaching the subjects of aptitude for the legal profession (it is not simply about showmanship or being a good arguer), the reality of life as a lawyer (beyond the glamour of "Ally McBeal" and "The Practice"), and what else you could be or would rather be doing with all of that time, money, etc. Ron helps each of his readers ask the questions fundamental to making the right decision about whether or not they should attend law school.
The second half of the book provides practical insights into preparing for law school: first discussing appropriate undergraduate coursework and extracurricular activities, then looking at life between college and graduate school, and finally preparing law school applications, financing a legal education, and exploring various types of law jobs that might be available after graduation. While discussing job opportunities, Mr. Coleman provides a very extensive list of potential government positions for lawyers, and also looks at lawyering in the business world, lawyering for public interest, and of course, private practice.
After reading this book, the potential law student will have examined the type of work lawyers do, and will have inquired frankly into whether he or she has what it takes to succeed, and also whether he or she will enjoy life as a lawyer. Above all, I enjoyed this book because while reading it I felt like I had a trusted, knowledgeable and funny friend spend a few hours advising me on the pursuit of my law school education. A rare treat, indeed!
I highly recommend this book for anyone deciding whether to attend law school or pursue a legal career.