February 7, 2011 | | Leave a comment Charlotte school of law If you’re like me, there are dozens of professions you could have done and enjoyed. Tops of my list has always been LAWYER. I’m fascinated with the job and the people who do it. Here’s a test to see if you are like me: Do you watch “Law & Order” obsessively? Have you ever signed your name with an “Esq.” at the end for no reason? Do you love writing, researching and reading to the point of distraction? Then you know you’ve got the legal bug. Granted, at my age, I’m not going to law school for three years. I probably could swing it on a part-time basis, but I’d have to make some serious changes (like hiring a nanny!) to make it happen. So what could I do in the meantime? This is where the research part comes in. Online education sites are fascinating with how much they can help you narrow down what you want to do. Yes, I’d like to be a lawyer. But I also could study to become a paralegal. I could be a crime-scene investigator. I could go into the law-enforcement field. How about legal administrative assistant? The choices are endless. I checked around some of the sites such as Concord, which is an online law school and part of the Kaplan family. The legal profession is suffering somewhat under the current economic downtown, but it sounds like there is plenty of need out there in fields like bankruptcy, real estate and others. Some legal experts actually say this might be the time to get into the field. Applications to law schools continue to increase nationwide, driven in part by the growing recognition of the great diversity of career paths that a law degree opens up. In many ways, a law degree is becoming the 21st Century equivalent of the MBA, they said. “There are many more career paths that can lead from a law degree today,” said Forrest Stanford, associate dean of admissions at Charlotte School of Law. “From government service to general business management, the skills and knowledge of a JD can be applied to many fields of endeavor. Additionally, far more students seek a post-secondary business degree than a Juris Doctor, making the law degree a greater commodity. This is a point that we emphasize during the recruiting process that many prospective students find quite appealing.” Law schools, such as CharlotteLaw, are making legal education more widely available. “Academics are obviously important, but grades and scores on the LSAT (law school qualifying exam) are not everything,” Stanford said. “Law school is a huge exercise in time management due to the reading, classroom and experiential requirements. If a student has the basic academic abilities and motivation, a law school degree is attainable.” And that’s what many of us need – motivation. If you get a chance, grab the computer from your kid and go surfing on some of the sites out there. They have great, intuitive help areas that walk you through the legal choices available to you. Many have online chat options, so you could talk virtually to a representative right there on the spot. Others will email or telephone you with more ideas about their overall academic areas and the specialties within that field. For me, I know the law is attractive and interesting. I know it takes a ton of work – and maybe it’s not the right time for me at the moment. But if I keep my eyes open to the opportunities out there, I’m sure I can find something that will fit my life, my family and my goals.