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Nikki, It seems that law career typically has a perceived natural path that many warn any aspiring lawyer of entering, but will be looked upon with disdain or shock if that a lawyer deviates from the path. The path: Enter law school (top one that you can obtain admission); aim for first in class (study countless hours); law review/moot court; First year internship or Europe; Second year participate in moot court/law review/ solidify spot in class; On-Campus Interview; 2nd year summer internship at big law firm; Come back for third year (coast/Drink); Graduate;; clerkship; Work for job of second year; Pass bar; Associate for a ridiculous amount of hours taking on a ton of work in hopes of golden ring of Partnership in 5-8 years; Get partner or go in-house or go off the radar to teaching law. There can be a few other steps depending on politics, government work, or judicial selection, but I would say the general envisioned path is the one above. Most lawyers that went down this path feel this is the only way you can do it to gain some magical free time when they are 50 years old. By then, many are in few workaholic mode and do not actually "slow down" until their first maybe second heart attack. This is not to say that this path is bad for everyone, but it is to say it is not good for everyone. When i practiced in Knoxville, a group of people met in the back of a cafe to just enjoy lunch twice a month. The group was called the lonely hearts club and touted about 30 members, of which about 20 members were lawyers. The initiation was to have lived through a heart attack, and it had members as young as 36. I sat in on one lunch with a older lawyer (dear friend of mine) and realized that what I do "for a living" was not going to be the thing that kills me. There is a way to practice, be dedicated to, and have a passion for a law profession and helping people without letting the it consume you. I'm glad you learned to forge your own way.