I am warning you to not go into law. The job market is terrible in terms of pay, oportunities, and stability. The situation is getting worse, ten more law schools opening in next two years. Too many lawyers, too many law schools.
This could be you after law school. From a recent Boston Craigslist Post:
"Recently admitted attorney seeking work assisting criminal defense attorneys in any capacity. I have worked with indigent defendants in clinical settings and interned for several excellent defense attorneys and a federal judge, but am finding few opportunities for entry level work in the field. I am proficient (though not fluent) in Spanish, have strong research and writing skills, am passionate about indigent defense, and am an extremely quick learner. I will research, draft motions, conduct interviews, even answer phones, for a low fee of $10 an hour in exchange for the opportunity to observe, and perhaps participate in, actual litigation. References and writing samples available."
Or, From a recent Yahoo Post:
"Small general practice law firm located near Columbus, OH. Started at $40K 1.5 years ago after first receiving law license. After 3 months pay was raised to $43K. Had annual review and was told although I had a stellar performance and deserved a raise the office couldn't afford to give me 1. When started was told I should be paid more than they were paying me but they couldn't afford to pay me more. Have several years of paralegal experience. Graduated in top 20% of class. Did internships and clinics during law school. Didn't need much training when started. Feel like starting pay was too low and current pay should be much higher. Can't find much info. on small firm salaries though."
or from another Yahoo Post:
"My bf just took the bar exam to become an attorney. He has posted resumes on yahoo, monster, craigs list, newspapers, etc. and just can't seem to find any work. Finally he decided to just apply for jobs like bank assistants etc. Interviewers would say he's too qualified for "rookie" positions, and he's "not qualified" enough for a lawyer position. Is there hope? Thanks."
Or ways to save money after law school:
"When she moved to Chicago from New York after graduating from law school last year, Lauri Apple, who is still looking for the job of her dreams, knew of at least one good way to save money.
If she needs something to wear, she takes a look in the local trash. A practice she started as a starving college student a decade ago has now evolved into something of an avocation, reports the Chicago Tribune."
Or alternative uses for a law degree when you can't find a job:
"Law Grad Turns to Cupcake Truck as Economy Sputters"
I went to a top twenty law school and had friends selling shoes and working as waiters as survival jobs because they could not find law jobs after graduation. Lawyer is the most over-rated, over-romaticized, and over-hyped profession. If you are going into debt and investing time in school, health care is the way to go, pharmacist, doctor, dentist, etc.
More examples of why not to go into law. From a recent ABA article:
"Job stress and career disappointments are apparently taking a toll on lawyers working in the high-pressure world of large law firms.
In the past six months, lawyers working for three major firms have reportedly committed suicide after job or trial losses, the National Law Journal reports. Experts told the publication that lawyers are already at high risk of depression because of heavy workloads and training that focuses on the negative. Economic stress may be making the problems worse.
The suicide of Mark Levy, a 59-year-old Yale Law School graduate who headed Kilpatrick Stockton’s Supreme Court and appellate advocacy practice, has already been reported. Levy shot himself in April at the law firm’s offices after learning he would be laid off, according to the earlier stories. Colleagues said he was a brilliant litigator who may have struggled with the business aspects of legal practice.
The National Law Journal notes two other reports of suicides at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and King & Spalding.
Above the Law first reported the April suicide of the Simpson Thacher lawyer, reportedly an associate who had been laid off. The law firm confirmed the death of an associate but did not provide her name or the cause.
The National Law Journal says the third lawyer who killed himself, in December, was a partner at King & Spalding who was part of a legal team that had lost a big trial for a major client, Bank of America. The Charlotte, N.C., office that he helped open was also seeing a decline in work, the story says. Colleagues confirmed the report in interviews with the legal publication but the firm did not comment."
The legal profession sucks, if you have a brain in your head you will run.
Okay I am going to take you through this backwards. Private practice in business law, usually referred to as corporate law among lawyers, is a highly competitive employment field in an already very competitive employment field for lawyers in general. Graduating from a high ranked law school is critical to getting a good job in a good law firm.
Getting into a high ranked law school is largely dependent on your grades, but the classes you take in college are generally not relevant to law schools. They also are not going to be very relevant to the practice of business law. Everything you need to know about business law is going to be based on legal theory and case law you learn while in law school, and practical knowledge and skills that you are going to pickup as part of your on the job training at a law firm. The one caveat is that you have to have excellent writing and reading comprehension skills to be a good lawyer, so it is extremely helpful to take classes that will help cultivate those skills.
With that in mind, if you are in high school, my advice is to take whatever electives interest, keeping in mind that you should try to be admitted to honors classes and AP classes when they are available. Focus on getting as close to straight A's as you can in those classes. This will boost your chances for admission into an elite college which will in turn enhance your chances for admission into an elite law school.