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Why I went to law school

Why I went to law school

A conversation with Kamrul Khan for the Bengalis of New York podcast

In undergrad, I studied Philosophy of Law, and I really liked philosophy. I like reading, and writing. I wasn't very good at the hard sciences. I originally started as a chemistry major and I just wasn't into it. It was more forced than anything. I feel that anything in life, if it is something that you have to force yourself to do, and if it doesn't feel like play- you're always going to be worse than somebody else out there that views that as hanging out, playing, or writing. You're not going to be able to beat that person.

I switched into philosophy, and I think abstractly- I got law. It felt like a piece of code that society wrote. There's people following it, and operating within those confines. Sometimes you can change that law, and then there's a different thing that happens within society and it can get evolved. I like that analysis of it from a very zoomed out way—how society operates through rules and laws. Sometimes you break them to create new laws. Sometimes you bend them. Sometimes, to evolve as a species, you need to change them up. Abstractly, I was into it in that way.

The second part of it was I never really cared about pleasing my parents. That's true, but deep down, especially at that age, there was still a part of me that knew they'd proud if I had the title as a lawyer. Then they could introduce me to their family, friends and say that, Hey- my son is a lawyer. I got that. There was definitely a part of me that did it for them. I forced that.

I ended up graduating and got my JD. I didn't drop out or anything, but I really wanted to. I was working on different internet products that were doing way better than any job I would've gotten coming out of law school. I knew after my first or second year of law school, there's no way I could work as a lawyer. It didn't make any sense to me. It wasn't the job at CVS, but it was still a job. I got to wear a tie to work, which I hated.

I don't get the point of a tie. It didn't make any sense to me. You get to go to a fancy office. You get to work out of the city, but you're still working under somebody else. You're making somebody else richer in the process of you getting some menial salary. I knew I could build something better than this institution of a law firm, which hasn't been really fundamentally changed in the last century.

That's why law. I liked it from an abstract way. I liked how it made me think. I definitely feel going to law school made me a better writer. You have to be really succinct. You're always removing words. You have to be very concise, it's like surgical writing.

There's a lot of degrees out there that don't give you really practical skills, but getting a law degree really helps you become a better reader and a better writer.

I think that is the foundation of anything and everything you do, whether it's startups or you're opening up your own thing. There's nothing that beats being able to read something complex, level up your level of understanding, then translate that into your own words, and communicate anything that you're doing to anybody else in the world— in the easiest way.

So I don't regret it.

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Raad on philosophy, startups, and life. On Twitter @r44d.