Law School Discussion

Specific Groups => Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students => Topic started by: calgal27 on June 22, 2011, 05:46:14 PM

Title: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: calgal27 on June 22, 2011, 05:46:14 PM
I was accepted at Birmingham School of Law.  I live in the Atlanta area and Birmingham is about a 2.5 hour drive.  It's a Saturday program.  3 classes every Saturday.    They are a state approved school, not an ABA approved school so I will only be able to take the bar in Alabama.    Not a big deal for me. 

So, I will give it a try.  I have wanted to go to law school for a long time so now is the time to take a chance. 

Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Nic Benny on June 29, 2011, 07:08:53 PM
I've never heard of such a program. 
Does this mean you will only get to practice law in AL?
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: cusc2011 on July 04, 2011, 04:37:35 PM
Hi Calgal27 - I will be attending Birmingham School of Law on the weekends as well commuting in from another state.  I'm 40 yrs old with a very successful career that pays very well.  I just wanted to point out that Georgia has a waiver process for Non ABA graduates, the current waiver process was implemented in Feb. 2008.   Since, then there has been a Birmingham School of Law graduate and a Concord Law School graduate.  The waiver process consist of about 6 steps that has to be followed exactly as explained but obtainable.  The good thing about attending Birmingham School of Law is that you wont have any law school loans to pay back once you finish because you pay as you go.  Also, the majority of BSOL students work full-time jobs and are already established in the current careers.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: fortook on July 04, 2011, 08:03:03 PM
Yes, that means she can only practice in the state, unless AL has reciprocity with other states then she may have more options down the road.  Each state is different when it comes to non ABA schools and only a few states accredit law schools themselves, rather than go solely with ABA accreditation.  I was always told to avoid non ABA schools, but I have met some successful attorneys who went to non ABAs. It's an interesting quirk.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: cusc2011 on July 05, 2011, 09:12:18 AM
The GA bar wavier process is available to all Non ABA graduates and graduates from a foreign law school, reciprocity doesn't apply for Non ABA graduates as it relates to the GA Bar.  Waiver process consist of 6 detail steps in which you have to thoroughly state your case and have an ABA Dean or someone appointed by the Dean to conduct an evaluation of the program and write a letter to the GA Bar.  Even if  the requirements are met, finally decision is up to the GA Bar.  I don't know how many people have gone through this process but I am aware of 2 people that have gone through the process since the wavier rule has been in effect.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: calgal27 on July 05, 2011, 07:10:49 PM
Hi Calgal27 - I will be attending Birmingham School of Law on the weekends as well commuting in from another state.  I'm 40 yrs old with a very successful career that pays very well.  I just wanted to point out that Georgia has a waiver process for Non ABA graduates, the current waiver process was implemented in Feb. 2008.   Since, then there has been a Birmingham School of Law graduate and a Concord Law School graduate.  The waiver process consist of about 6 steps that has to be followed exactly as explained but obtainable.  The good thing about attending Birmingham School of Law is that you wont have any law school loans to pay back once you finish because you pay as you go.  Also, the majority of BSOL students work full-time jobs and are already established in the current careers.

Hi!  Where are you commuting from?  Since I am 45 (50 by the time I graduate), the last thing I want is a law career.  I honestly would love to get a law degree, sit in a law firm and just do research and write brief, memos and other things.    My kids are 15 and 12.  My son wants to go to Auburn University ( that would be in 3 years) and my daughter will be off to college not too far after him.  I have no problem if I end up living in Alabama.  But, like you said, there is always the waiver for Georgia and there is always the federal court system.  I cannot believe a Concord graduate actually go through the waiver process.   

Hope to meet you at BSOL!
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: like_lasagna on July 06, 2011, 06:18:06 PM
Mandatory mention that this is a bad idea. You won't listen. Carry on.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Duncanjp on July 08, 2011, 11:56:19 PM
The ABA student community is a swell group of people to get to know, but honestly, who can deny that there is a surfeit of unemployed, deeply-indebted, ambitious young ABA graduates out there who don't know whether to go uphill or down bearing the chains of their coveted interstate law degree? How many ABA graduates would not be more than happy finding steady work in their home town alongside some blue collar, state-accredited attorney?

A substantial number of attorneys here in California, including judges and district attorneys, received their J.D.s from state law schools. They passed the exam. Becoming a lawyer simply means you've read society's rules and know how to play the game. It's becoming less elitist all the time to be an attorney, and the massive debt that attending an ABA school creates, just so you can become another unemployed lawyer who has hypothecated the next 20 years of his or her life, needs to be weighed. The point is, there is no dishonor in attending a state-accredited law school. Every single person who passes the Bar exam in his or her given state hopes to find meaningful employment in the field. Some do, some don't. Getting the gig is the object, not bragging about the train that got you there. Granted, if you're still in your 20s or 30s and you want to go to law school, you should prepare hard for the LSAT and get your tail into an ABA school. Absolutely. An ABA degree will help an inexperienced greenhorn get a foot in the door. But if you're over 45, with a family and a mortgage, and you've already established a solid reputation in a given field with a career that could be enhanced, perhaps perfected, by getting a law degree and becoming a member of your state Bar, then forget about an ABA education. You don't need it. It's a waste. A state-accredited school will do nicely and you won't squander three times as much in tuition to serve clients who couldn't care less one way or the other where you went to law school. After you reach about 40-45 years old, the object is singular: get the license. Get The License. Period. Then you can wield it in your field of expertise to parry opponents and any who stand in your way.

Ha. I wish I'd said that.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: like_lasagna on July 09, 2011, 05:45:29 PM
The ABA student community is a swell group of people to get to know, but honestly, who can deny that there is a surfeit of unemployed, deeply-indebted, ambitious young ABA graduates out there who don't know whether to go uphill or down bearing the chains of their coveted interstate law degree? How many ABA graduates would not be more than happy finding steady work in their home town alongside some blue collar, state-accredited attorney?

A substantial number of attorneys here in California, including judges and district attorneys, received their J.D.s from state law schools. They passed the exam. Becoming a lawyer simply means you've read society's rules and know how to play the game. It's becoming less elitist all the time to be an attorney, and the massive debt that attending an ABA school creates, just so you can become another unemployed lawyer who has hypothecated the next 20 years of his or her life, needs to be weighed. The point is, there is no dishonor in attending a state-accredited law school. Every single person who passes the Bar exam in his or her given state hopes to find meaningful employment in the field. Some do, some don't. Getting the gig is the object, not bragging about the train that got you there. Granted, if you're still in your 20s or 30s and you want to go to law school, you should prepare hard for the LSAT and get your tail into an ABA school. Absolutely. An ABA degree will help an inexperienced greenhorn get a foot in the door. But if you're over 45, with a family and a mortgage, and you've already established a solid reputation in a given field with a career that could be enhanced, perhaps perfected, by getting a law degree and becoming a member of your state Bar, then forget about an ABA education. You don't need it. It's a waste. A state-accredited school will do nicely and you won't squander three times as much in tuition to serve clients who couldn't care less one way or the other where you went to law school. After you reach about 40-45 years old, the object is singular: get the license. Get The License. Period. Then you can wield it in your field of expertise to parry opponents and any who stand in your way.

Ha. I wish I'd said that.

if you do this, please do not whine when you do not get a job

employers know that it's more difficult to get into an ABA school. you say there are tons of unemployed graduates of ABA accredited schools. this should mean something.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Duncanjp on July 10, 2011, 10:48:30 PM
The ABA student community is a swell group of people to get to know, but honestly, who can deny that there is a surfeit of unemployed, deeply-indebted, ambitious young ABA graduates out there who don't know whether to go uphill or down bearing the chains of their coveted interstate law degree? How many ABA graduates would not be more than happy finding steady work in their home town alongside some blue collar, state-accredited attorney?

A substantial number of attorneys here in California, including judges and district attorneys, received their J.D.s from state law schools. They passed the exam. Becoming a lawyer simply means you've read society's rules and know how to play the game. It's becoming less elitist all the time to be an attorney, and the massive debt that attending an ABA school creates, just so you can become another unemployed lawyer who has hypothecated the next 20 years of his or her life, needs to be weighed. The point is, there is no dishonor in attending a state-accredited law school. Every single person who passes the Bar exam in his or her given state hopes to find meaningful employment in the field. Some do, some don't. Getting the gig is the object, not bragging about the train that got you there. Granted, if you're still in your 20s or 30s and you want to go to law school, you should prepare hard for the LSAT and get your tail into an ABA school. Absolutely. An ABA degree will help an inexperienced greenhorn get a foot in the door. But if you're over 45, with a family and a mortgage, and you've already established a solid reputation in a given field with a career that could be enhanced, perhaps perfected, by getting a law degree and becoming a member of your state Bar, then forget about an ABA education. You don't need it. It's a waste. A state-accredited school will do nicely and you won't squander three times as much in tuition to serve clients who couldn't care less one way or the other where you went to law school. After you reach about 40-45 years old, the object is singular: get the license. Get The License. Period. Then you can wield it in your field of expertise to parry opponents and any who stand in your way.

Ha. I wish I'd said that.

if you do this, please do not whine when you do not get a job

employers know that it's more difficult to get into an ABA school. you say there are tons of unemployed graduates of ABA accredited schools. this should mean something.

That's my point: it does mean something. It means a lot of people are being suckered into blowing enormous sums of money by the lure of a false hope that having an ABA degree will place them fat in the middle of a lucrative position in an office suite atop San Francisco or New York. Or that merely having an ABA degree guarantees them that they'll land a job. No degree guarantees anybody anything: you make of it what you can. But whatever the benefits and greater opportunities of having an ABA degree may be, the returns drop precipitously for older students, especially those with years of experience who have already forged careers in particular fields. For us, a state-accredited school is just fine. My professors are all judges and practicing attorneys. They know what they're talking about and they tend to be enthusiastic communicators. They have also not hidden the fact that statistically, the A-B students are the ones who pass the Bar exam. Students in a state-accredited school with a 2.0 GPA do tend to have problems passing. Regardless, I see absolutely no reason to join the stampede of 20-somethings into massive debt when you are considering law school at 45-50 unless you have money to burn. The prestige of the ABA degree will not pay off. And if you do not intend to relocate to another state, the ABA benefits diminish even further.

If you're 25 or 30, sure, get the best education you can afford. If I were 20 years younger, I would definitely set my sights on an ABA school by spending six months or a year preparing for the LSAT. I went to UC Davis and got great grades as an undergraduate. It's not my philosophy in life to settle for less than that of which I'm capable. But I'm also a realist. If you've established yourself in a worthwhile career that could be enhanced by admission to your State Bar Association, then why on Earth would you want to blow all that money on an ABA education? It would be a total waste. At this stage of the game, it's only about getting the license. Nothing else. I may have squandered some time in my life, but I'm not about to waste my money. The reality is, very few employers are likely to hire an older law school graduate solely on the basis of where he or she attended law school. If you're young with no experience in a field, then all you've got is your degree. Make it the best degree you can. But my resume hinges on the 20 years of experience I've gained in my field. A J.D. will enhance my resume, but it won't form the cornerstone of it, ABA or not. And it would show an incredible lack of vision on my part to take a step backwards in my career now by accepting a position as a public defender or an associate attorney somewhere at half my current salary. Not to mention the disappointment that my wife would rain down on my head for the loss of income.

And regarding whining, frankly, the only whining I ever hear is from the multitudes of deeply indebted ABA graduates out there scamblogging about how they can't find work to pay off their school loans. I've never heard any state-accredited law school graduates griping about their debt and how unfair the world has been to them. Further, I know numerous working attorneys who went to state schools. The J.D. is simply what you make of it. Honestly, a person who wants to go to an ABA law school really needs to consider what he's doing - and why - a lot more carefully than a person entering a state school. Granted, there are law firms that won't even talk to graduates of state-accredited schools. But at my age and station in life, I don't need those law firms. I only want the education and a chance to sit the Bar. When I graduate from my locally reputable, state-accredited law school, I won't owe anybody so much as one thin dime. I'm paying as I go. And I'm in the top 5% after the first year, so I believe I have a reasonable chance of passing the Bar exam on the first try if I can keep on keeping on. We'll see about that later. I know the stats. But the only whining I ever encounter comes from the ranks of disgruntled elitists blaming their ABA schools for their personal failures. Boo hoo. I moonlighted for years to keep my mortgage paid. My patience for whiners is fast evaporating.

As I said, if I were 20 years younger, I would set my sights on an ABA education. I can't dispute the greater prestige of an ABA degree. But if you're an older person who is entrenched in a career already, who merely wants to enhance that career by becoming a licensed attorney, then you don't need an ABA degree. State-accredited law schools serve the purpose fine and they don't put you 30 years in the hole.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: cusc2011 on July 11, 2011, 12:14:55 PM
Duncanjp - well said!  Life is what you make in every human endeavor.  I know multi-millionaires who went to small colleges in undergrad, etc.    I got into a a ABA school in my late 20's but I did not have the fiance to attend an ABA school.  At the time I applied to law school's in my late 20's I only been working about 2 yrs at an entry level position for a Fortune 500 just getting my career started.  I always wanted to go then and now to law school but at 40 yrs old with the goal of retiring in the next 20 years that not a smart move on my part to encounter 100k of debt.  I make a 6 figure income and have for the last 5 years and my career is still on the up rise.  I do feel that a law degree will get me over the hump in becoming a top executive for a Fortune 500.  The main thing for me is to get "licensed", at this stage of the game not caught up if its ABA or not. It would make absolutely no sense for me to add 100k of law school debt, just to make 20k more if I'm lucky and lose 3 or 4 yrs of income.

If a person is in their 20's or early 30's I recommend try and get into an ABA school but beyond that the scope changes.

I went to an SEC school for undergrad and  went to an ACC school for grad school. I want a law degree just something I want plus after I retire, I may want to do some freelancing in taking on a few cases as a second career of my life.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: calgal27 on July 12, 2011, 07:28:54 PM
I do not feel the least bit embarrassed that I am attending a state law school.  There are several in Alabama that are state run and Birmingham seems to have a great reputation in the state.  I am 45.  I will be 50 by the time I graduate.  Why in the world would I need an ABA law degree?  I do not want to be starting out as a first year associate in a firm at my age.  Besides, I have over 20 years experience working as a legal secretary and a paralegal.  I am going to know more about the law and procedures than most of my classmates.  And that is what is going to give me an advantage if I decide to become a practicing attorney.  Even in the worst of recessions, I can get a job at the drop of the hat with my legal background.    With my years of experience and top that with attending law school, I am pretty sure I can get a job in a law firm while in law school.  In my 25+ years of being in the working world, finding a job has been the least of my worries. 

I know there are a lot of law students looking for a job.  The problem is they have high expectations of what they want to be paid and someone told them along the way that the expensive law degree they received is going to guarantee them a great job.  Heck, even getting a college degree these days is not a guarantee of that. 

I don't listen to anyone who is negative.  Life is what you make of it and in the end... it isn't going to matter where I attend law school.  All that matters is that I did.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: phreejazz on July 14, 2011, 06:28:50 PM
I'm following the same route, in a different state.  You're right in not listening to the nay-sayers.  I can name, without even thinking hard, three judges currently sitting on the bench in my area who graduated from a non-ABA school and several prominent local politicians.  I personally know several students working as attorneys in prestigious firms who graduated recently from that same non-ABA school, etc. etc. etc.  Granted, not every non-ABA program is created equal, but that's the point: any gross generalization about such programs is inaccurate.

Are there obstacles to overcome that wouldn't be there with an ABA degree? yep.  But work experience, the right networking, etc. more than make up for it.  I suspect that those who make blanket statements about how bad of an idea it is, how anyone who does it is wasting their time and money, etc etc etc haven't bothered to actually look into it.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Cher1300 on July 15, 2011, 10:05:29 AM
I have to agree with what has been said here.  I live in California and will be going to a school that wasn't ABA approved until 2009.  However, the alumni of working, successful attorneys and judges are numerous. 

At 41, I considered a state approved school, but wanted one with an ABA accreditation because I want to take the bar in another state where all my family and long time friends live.  This decision was also made because I'm considering moving back to my home state in the future. 

Choosing a law school really depends on your needs, age, and drive.  There are many people who really just want to work for someone else and can't imagine working out of their home or starting a general practice.  Many want to work for "big law."  Most of them are younger people who haven't worked professionally and will have three-figures in debt to pay.  For older students, they are more financially set.  Undergrad debt is paid, there is money in the bank, etc.  People working full-time and going part-time in the evening still have a job if they can't find a legal job, etc. 

If you want to be a lawyer, and you love what you do, you will be successful.  We are in a recession, so there are not many jobs out there.  You have to find a way to make your way no matter what your profession.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Duncanjp on July 15, 2011, 11:48:03 PM
I'm following the same route, in a different state.  You're right in not listening to the nay-sayers.  I can name, without even thinking hard, three judges currently sitting on the bench in my area who graduated from a non-ABA school and several prominent local politicians.  I personally know several students working as attorneys in prestigious firms who graduated recently from that same non-ABA school, etc. etc. etc.  Granted, not every non-ABA program is created equal, but that's the point: any gross generalization about such programs is inaccurate.

Are there obstacles to overcome that wouldn't be there with an ABA degree? yep.  But work experience, the right networking, etc. more than make up for it.  I suspect that those who make blanket statements about how bad of an idea it is, how anyone who does it is wasting their time and money, etc etc etc haven't bothered to actually look into it.

A year ago I was called to testify in a jury trial over a civil matter, and as it turned out, the judge who heard the case went to my school - Lincoln Law School of Sacramento. The Sacramento County DA went to Lincoln. Judges, DAs, and attorneys in counties all over the Northern California region can be found who went to this locally reputable school, alongside judges, DAs and attorneys who went to ABA schools and other state schools. Ultimately, they all had to pass the same exam. Lincoln certainly isn't UC Davis or McGeorge, the local ABA law mills, but somehow all of those state-school legal professionals crashed through the opaque ABA barrier to have successful law careers. It's not that their experiences mirror the experiences of all who graduate from state schools, but it points a rather telling finger toward the partial mythology that has arisen around the ABA education. Again, I'm not going to argue or pretend that I wouldn't rather attend an ABA school if I were younger and had the time to realize the benefits of the association and didn't have a career already. I definitely would. But state schools do not consist of slackers and halfwits, which perception is both misinformed and naive.  Most of the people I've encountered are highly driven, extremely bright, energetic people working in government, business and vertical areas within the legal field. It's indisputable that many legal professionals have carved out successful law careers after attending state-accredited law schools at a quarter the cost of an ABA degree. So I don't heed the predictions of young, inexperienced ABA graduates. Sometimes it feels like all the warnings against attending state schools belie a certain desire to keep the ranks of lawyers just as elite and uncrowded as possible to ensure that they who "deserve jobs" are protected against facing any more competition than they already have from T1 schools.

The only truly dire warnings that need to be given are to those who are contemplating mortgaging their future to half-truths and heavy chains.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: fortook on July 19, 2011, 01:07:13 PM
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Very nicely written.  How much time did you spend on it in a somewhat informal forum?
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: phreejazz on July 20, 2011, 01:22:12 AM

<regretful snip>

The only truly dire warnings that need to be given are to those who are contemplating mortgaging their future to half-truths and heavy chains.

I just wanted to say..... very well put.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Duncanjp on July 20, 2011, 09:57:34 PM
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Very nicely written.  How much time did you spend on it in a somewhat informal forum?

Oh, ad hominem. Cool!
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Duncanjp on July 20, 2011, 10:13:49 PM

<regretful snip>

The only truly dire warnings that need to be given are to those who are contemplating mortgaging their future to half-truths and heavy chains.

I just wanted to say..... very well put.

Thanks, Phreejazz. Merely one dude's opinion. Hope you're kicking butt wherever you're going to school.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: fortook on July 21, 2011, 06:36:18 PM
Ad hominem? Hmmm.  I wasn't attacking you views or your character. I'm pretty impartial to this subject, frankly.  For all you know I may agree with you.  If you like state accredited schools, well- cheers.

Language is a fun tool, often misused, over used and/or abused.  I was just saying, possibly in too harsh a way, you are over using language.  If you are using your language skills to radiate intelligence you may have over used language in this forum.  This is not really a place for verbose language and excessive use of it will back fire and radiate the opposite.  A stylistic critique or opinion on my part is not meant to be hostile and certainly not meant to be ad hominem. Personally, I got no problem with ya man.  Good luck, really.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Duncanjp on July 21, 2011, 11:11:17 PM
I just write the way I think,  Fortook. After all, writing is just thinking with fingertips. It's the way I speak. If writing well radiates intelligence, then it's a mere byproduct of the craft of skillful writing. Those who wish to radiate intelligence should learn to write well all the time. But usually when you find a person who writes well, that person simply writes well. It doesn't mean that his or her well-crafted piece was calculated to sound impressive. And what does it expose about a person who, for instance, only notes that, gee, that writer uses big words? Law students should be far above the legions of illiterates that populate the internet. You write very well yourself, Fortook. I embrace good writers.

Peace.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: fortook on July 22, 2011, 04:31:42 PM
I was wondering:  What North Eastern state accredited schools does anyone here have experience with?  I have only met a few attorneys who went to a state accredited school and most were in the South East or Cali.  In fact, one in particular I remember as a sleazeball lawyer, but a pretty successful one.  I didn't like him personally, but he had a good rep in the area. I think there are only a hand full of states that allow state accredited schools (maybe 5 or 6). I know Mass has a few, but I don't know any details.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: phreejazz on July 26, 2011, 02:28:22 AM

<regretful snip>

The only truly dire warnings that need to be given are to those who are contemplating mortgaging their future to half-truths and heavy chains.

I just wanted to say..... very well put.

Thanks, Phreejazz. Merely one dude's opinion. Hope you're kicking butt wherever you're going to school.

Just wanted to respond to this, mostly for any lurkers reading these posts who are looking at the same decisions and issues.  I'm doing well.  Finally able to take a few months away from work, I decided to look in to interning, for both the actual work experience and the added legal experience for my resume.  I was offered (and took, obviously) the exact federal judicial internship I was hoping to get.  I work with two other interns.  Both are from T10 schools and --according to themselves-- are well-ranked in their classes.  As they become available, I'm being personally introduced to well-known attorneys working in the field I am interested in by faculty from my school, and have little doubt that those connections will mature into opportunities when the time is right.  Attorneys that work for firms that students break their neck to get in front of for OCI's.

I'm in the local Inn of Court with students from a prestigious law program.  I get a kick out of the assumptions re: state-accredited programs that sometimes slip out in conversations with those students.  Given the usual competitiveness of law students, some seem insistent on getting their LSAT scores worked into casual conversation.  I scored in the 99th percentile.  I'm not impressed.  I'm far more impressed with the CPA who was well-regarded in one of the "Big Four" accountancy firms and is seeking his JD because he wants to be able to tackle what he sees as egregious ethical violations rife in the industry.  I'm far more impressed with the private investigator who is seeking a legal education only because it's helping him as he transitions into what he wants to be doing: investigating human rights abuses in Central and South America and helping to hold American actors responsible where he can  He spent his summer last year in Colombia working with a non-profit group interviewing labor leaders and investigating suspicious deaths of the same.  (His project this summer is a demonstration and study of faulty fire investigation techniques that have demonstrably resulted in false convictions for arson and murder in the past.)  I'm far more impressed by the single mother of two who works as a restaurant manager 50+ hours a week, commutes an hour to class each way and still manages to do well in our classes while being the driving force behind our SBA, no matter how exhausted she looks some days.  Not sure what you'd call that other than "drive."    Or the former bank VP whose resume is an embarrassment of riches, who is simply bored in his semi-retirement and thought that getting a JD would be "interesting."

I'm writing this at 2:30 because after my day with the judge, I still had to stay on schedule with cite-checking law review articles so that I'm not stuck doing too much LR stuff when classes start up again, along with work.  So yeah, I'm doing well.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: fortook on July 26, 2011, 07:45:43 AM
Did phreejazz write this and then deactivate his LSD account? Peculiar, based on his passion and desire to defend state accredited schools. The best defense is not to acknowledge the criticism I think, but to ignore it.  Otherwise the thought- "me thinks he protests too much"- creeps into everyone's mind.

I can completely understand why some people choose state accredited schools, by the way.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: like_lasagna on July 31, 2011, 05:13:12 PM
I scored in the 99th percentile.  I'm not impressed.

and you went to a state-accredited school?

Wow. You are an idiot.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Duncanjp on August 03, 2011, 09:30:24 PM
I can completely understand why some people choose state accredited schools, by the way.

Hi, Fortook. I would merely observe that such an education has a place. And it's not a bad education, although it's doubtless much more a case of "it is what you make of it" than one should expect from ABA schools. State schools serve niche markets. They can facilitate advancement for older people who already have established careers, contacts, and professional reputations and credentials. One of the reasons I'm in law school is because I began to notice how often young attorneys in my company were calling and asking me to explain things that, to me, were right off the cover of Duh! Magazine. At the same time, many of my peers like to make smart-assed remarks about the ignorance of attorneys, which strikes me as naive, not to mention self-serving. I have met very few dumb people who passed the bar exam, wherever they went to school. At any rate, I ranked in the top 5% after 1L. For about two days, I mulled over the idea of applying to McGeorge, just to see if they'd take a 50-year-old into their night program. But after weighing the cost and the likely benefits, I decided to stay where I am. Yes, I would love a JD from an ABA school. But my tuition would've doubled or tripled if they had taken me. More importantly, no firms out there will ever hire me based on my having a JD from an ABA school who would otherwise reject me based on my having a JD from a state school. For me, becoming a lawyer means becoming licensed to practice law in the field I love, a field in which I've already acquired many years of experience. But I need to get the license.

At any rate, having read enough short-sighted, disparaging comments about state schools from so many mediocre writers as well as plenty of damned good writers, to be fair the recreational diversion of waging a vigorous defense of the state-school underdog appeals to me. If nothing else, it's enjoyable just to practice advocating for something.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: like_lasagna on August 04, 2011, 08:01:55 AM
To emphasize: I think going to a state accredited school in this legal market is probably a bad idea. It will be difficult to get a job, and the reason many people choose state accredited schools is because they are having trouble getting into an ABA school.

What makes the above person a complete idiot is that they claim to have scored in the 99th percentile on the LSAT, which unquestionably would lead to massive scholarship offers at a ton of different ABA schools, making the "oh it's cheaper argument" ridiculous.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Duncanjp on August 04, 2011, 10:34:18 PM
Hi Lasagna.

1) It diminishes a person's position when he or she resorts to insults and name-calling.
2) As I've noted previously, the majority of the people who sit around me in my state school are not wondering where they'll find work after graduation. The doom and gloom about not finding work later simply doesn't apply. Like me, most of my classmates already have solid careers, which careers were built upon the foundations of their college educations in a wide variety of fields. Call it a condition precedent if you like, but if you meet that pre-existing career condition, state schools can be a great way to go. Becoming licensed to practice law will simply open doors that would otherwise remain closed. No, I won't be getting a job in BigLaw when I graduate. But the opportunities within my industry will enlarge substantially. Some of my classmates and I anticipate becoming in-house counsel within our given industries, what with the contacts, experience and reputations that we've built. Great pay, weekends with the family, prestige among your peers, and working in a legal field. A pretty good gig. And a state school degree will do just fine to reach that goal.
3) Yes, some people do enroll in state schools because they would have trouble getting into an ABA school. How is that relevant to those who fit the profile I've described above? That's for the individuals to decide for themselves.
4) If you can get a meritorious scholarship, take it. But the argument in favor of a state-accredited education on the basis that it is less cost-prohibitive than ABA schools is not rendered "ridiculous" by the example of one person. The context is correct, but your ultimate claim is overly broad. Everyone has a unique station in life. And not every prospective student who got good grades as an undergrad wishes to risk $175,000 that he won't end up contributing his experiences to an angry law school scamblog someday. Cost matters, especially in this market.

I do feel, though, that anybody in her 20s or 30s who is considering law school should be shooting for the moon. Get into an ABA school. There's no point in settling for anything less if you have the time ahead of you to make it pay off.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: FalconJimmy on August 05, 2011, 02:44:34 AM
A lot of what you said made sense, until this:

Some of my classmates and I anticipate becoming in-house counsel within our given industries, what with the contacts, experience and reputations that we've built. Great pay, weekends with the family, prestige among your peers, and working in a legal field. A pretty good gig. And a state school degree will do just fine to reach that goal.

Sure about this, are you?
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Hamilton on August 05, 2011, 08:24:12 AM
Duncan, you are missing the point.  These so-called "disparaging" comments are not made out of malice, this is real advice and perspective given by people who have been on that path, or who have a different perspective on it.  It is not wise to simply view it as something that must be challenged - stop and listen with an open mind.  It is simply advice that may prevent someone from making a very costly mistake.  The perspective is that rather than invest time and money on a likely worthless JD, one may want to consider some other training or degree.

This idea that doors will suddenly be opened to new opportunity within existing careers is not a common reality - it certainly is not if one is planning on suddenly becoming in-house counsel.  Companies generally look for Sr. Associate/Partner level people for in-house, not a newbie from a non-ABA school.  The legal department will not look at you differently b/c you come from some other branch of the company with specialized knowledge - this is not meant to be harsh, but in-house legal does not need or want new lawyers from within the company.  You need to seriously, critically, and specifically ask yourself WHAT doors will open?  WHAT do they lead to?  HOW do they open?  "Doors will open" is as nebulous and non-descript as "hope and change."  WHAT ARE THE DETAILS?  If those opportunities exist right now, today, why are they not filled then?
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: fortook on August 05, 2011, 11:28:58 AM
Duncanjp, did you think I was being sarcastic?  I wasn't- I really can understand why someone would pick a state accredited school, depends on the school and area of course. 

I have also known at least one very successful local attorney who went to a state accredited school.  The guy has some inferiority issues that cause him to play games that well- makes him a feminine hygiene product, but that is in his own mind and has nothing to do with his school.  He seems to have gotten a decent education, even if on some level he feels inferior and is constantly trying to prove how smart he is.

You are being attacked from too many angles here.  The in house counsel angle is not as far fetched to me as to some of these other posters.  It isn't my area, but I do know enough to know that often its who you know, not what you know.  Seems like a perfectly reasonable angle to play.

Some smooth compromising (i.e. placating) rhetoric can turn this around to your favor.  I am eager to see how you play it.  :)
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Duncanjp on August 07, 2011, 04:45:57 PM
A lot of what you said made sense, until this:

Some of my classmates and I anticipate becoming in-house counsel within our given industries, what with the contacts, experience and reputations that we've built. Great pay, weekends with the family, prestige among your peers, and working in a legal field. A pretty good gig. And a state school degree will do just fine to reach that goal.

Sure about this, are you?

LOL. Yes, I'm sure. I have 20 years in my field and for years I have worked closely with the attorneys in my legal department, several of whom followed the same path I'm taking now. My attorney-mentors have advised and encouraged me every step of the way since I first expressed an interest in law school, and my good grades are partly the result of my accountability to them. I realize that there are no guarantees of anything in life. Like Huck Finn, I'm just rafting down the river and checking out whatever comes along. But unlike some law students, perhaps, I'm not heading blindly downstream toward a completely unforeseeable, unpredictable hope. A law license can only help me.

I'm not saying that a state school would be the best bet for all law students. A young person with no experience, no contacts, no resume and no expertise in a given field could be taking a big chance by attending a state-accredited school. But a person with an established reputation and credentials in a field of concentration may not require the large leap and deep debt of an ABA school to realize substantial benefits from a state law school education and admission to his or her state bar. The decision hinges on numerous factors. Should you go to an ABA school? Do you really need to go to an ABA school? Allow me to dispel the myth: for some people, the answer to both questions is no.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Duncanjp on August 07, 2011, 06:16:28 PM
Duncanjp, did you think I was being sarcastic?  I wasn't- I really can understand why someone would pick a state accredited school, depends on the school and area of course. 

I have also known at least one very successful local attorney who went to a state accredited school.  The guy has some inferiority issues that cause him to play games that well- makes him a feminine hygiene product, but that is in his own mind and has nothing to do with his school.  He seems to have gotten a decent education, even if on some level he feels inferior and is constantly trying to prove how smart he is.

You are being attacked from too many angles here.  The in house counsel angle is not as far fetched to me as to some of these other posters.  It isn't my area, but I do know enough to know that often its who you know, not what you know.  Seems like a perfectly reasonable angle to play.

Some smooth compromising (i.e. placating) rhetoric can turn this around to your favor.  I am eager to see how you play it.  :)

Hi Fortook! No, I didn't take that as sarcastic in the least. You're a sincere person as far as I can tell. :) And I appreciate your sincerity, too. (I'm a huge fan of Linus and pumpkin patches.) I'm just enjoying an intelligent conversation until classes commence. It's fun and stimulating to take up a tough cause. Incidentally, some people are just flat-out feminine hygiene products. You can't teach those people to be cool. They come from all walks of life, attending all law schools. And let's never forget, the majority thinks that ALL attorneys fit that description without the slightest discrimination. You cannot be a sufficiently moral person to overcome that perception after you've been admitted to the bar. People hate attorneys.

I've had so much to do over the last year that I haven't had time to play these games about which school a person should attend. It's summer and I'm on break. Yay. But over the last year, I've read many, many comments about the grim by-God realities and dangers of attending state schools, and honestly, nobody has mustered the nerve to attempt an argument in their favor. I've taken it up here for my own self-amusement. Arguments do exist, which you appear to have acknowledged. Sound arguments against state schools also exist. I've conceded as much several times. But I've noticed over the last year that many of the dire warnings against state schools are sweeping generalizations which take into account nothing of the student's circumstances or upward reach. This strikes me as naive and misinformed. Legal careers take many forms. To get work in Biglaw, you had better attend an ABA school. But it's laughable to me to hear people claim that it's critical to attend an ABA school to have a meaningful career in law. Absolute nonsense. If I can draw an analogy from music, some musicians are classically trained at prestigious schools and end up teaching kindergarten. Others get a guitar and teach themselves how to play in their bedrooms, then go on to become The Beatles. We should avoid painting with a broad brush. The spectrum of possibilities in life is large.

I can see how a person defending a state school could be accused of having inferiority issues. That's a risk I've assumed because I live with no fear. (I love that bumper sticker, although I would never put it on my car.) There's probably a grain of truth in it, too. Like I've said, I would love an ABA education. But in a similar vein, it may also be said that those among the ranks of ABA schools who make cavalier predictions about another student's future based exclusively on the information that the student attends a state-accredited law school may have ego issues themselves with which they will have to deal. It may even be the case that some such feel the need to squash the hopes of students of less-expensive schools out of a deep-rooted fear: a fear that in reality, the expense and debt of their ABA education might actually have been unnecessary. I am convinced that some of the vitriol against state schools that I've read in various threads around the internet stems from the same fundamental insecurity that intimidates most state students into quietly keeping their mouths shut.

Anyway, you are a thoughtful and reasonable person, Fortook. It's a pleasure to bounce thoughts off of you. I have to say, I absolutely love law school. I love the challenge. I love the knowledge I'm gaining. Wherever you go to school, this is an awesome experience.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Duncanjp on August 07, 2011, 07:06:05 PM
Duncan, you are missing the point.  These so-called "disparaging" comments are not made out of malice, this is real advice and perspective given by people who have been on that path, or who have a different perspective on it.  It is not wise to simply view it as something that must be challenged - stop and listen with an open mind.  It is simply advice that may prevent someone from making a very costly mistake.  The perspective is that rather than invest time and money on a likely worthless JD, one may want to consider some other training or degree.

This idea that doors will suddenly be opened to new opportunity within existing careers is not a common reality - it certainly is not if one is planning on suddenly becoming in-house counsel.  Companies generally look for Sr. Associate/Partner level people for in-house, not a newbie from a non-ABA school.  The legal department will not look at you differently b/c you come from some other branch of the company with specialized knowledge - this is not meant to be harsh, but in-house legal does not need or want new lawyers from within the company.  You need to seriously, critically, and specifically ask yourself WHAT doors will open?  WHAT do they lead to?  HOW do they open?  "Doors will open" is as nebulous and non-descript as "hope and change."  WHAT ARE THE DETAILS?  If those opportunities exist right now, today, why are they not filled then?

I appreciate your insight, Hamilton. I would submit that some disparaging comments that I've read have been made rather smugly, and as I've stated previously, may even betray a certain insecurity in the person giving the advice. On the other hand, much of the advice to stick with ABA schools is solid and well-reasoned. I know very well that I'm arguing a tough case here. The details that you're calling for I'm not going to divulge on an open internet forum, just as a matter of prudence. I work for a national company and I'm attending law school under the guidance and mentoring of three of my company's attorneys. It would be fair to say that not all people have access to such valuable contacts and tutelage. But I would ask you to weigh from the several posts I've made on this thread whether I sound like a person who has not seriously, critically, and specifically asked himself whether admission to the bar would or would not open any doors? I made a thorough inquiry of my company well before I ever took the LSAT. The reality for me is that not all doors will fling wide open just because I pass the bar. But plenty of others will. Those doors are closed today because I'm not an attorney. I should note here that I'm not blazing any new trails, Hamilton. I merely saw where other audacious travelers went before, and decided to follow the same path.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Hamilton on August 07, 2011, 07:40:23 PM
Not suggesting anyone divulge anything - those are questions you should ask yourself.  I certainly was not asking them of anyone nor expecting answers. 
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: FalconJimmy on August 08, 2011, 02:32:31 PM
Ducan, out of curiosity, why did you pick a non-ABA accredited school?  Was it the cost, or is there simply no ABA school that's reasonably geographically close to you?
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Duncanjp on August 08, 2011, 09:18:51 PM
Duncan, out of curiosity, why did you pick a non-ABA accredited school?  Was it the cost, or is there simply no ABA school that's reasonably geographically close to you?

I would never have gotten into a really top school, no matter how hard I tried. I lacked the grades and the time to prepare for an adequate LSAT score. Cost was less of an issue than it might have been 20 years ago. In fact, it was a non-issue on one hand, but it certainly factored in my decision. I read on their website that McGeorge, my local ABA school, only permits its students to work 20 hours per week. Can't do that with a mortgage and a career. That said, once you hit 50, you really have to ask yourself whether spending $140,000 or so on a law degree will ever truly pay off, regardless of the quality of the school. That's a heck of an investment just to fuel what might prove to be nothing more than an ego trip in the end. In my situation, my only chance of making this endeavor pay off is the vertical horizon. I've got a great chance there. But I'm not likely to ever go looking for an associate position with some personal injury law firm, large or small. So I never seriously considered applying to McGeorge. Plus, when I got the idea to go to law school, I only had a scant few weeks, I think about six, to spend my evenings after work preparing for the June LSAT, and you need a score to enroll, even at a state school. I didn't want to waste another year waiting to matriculate at my age. (To those of you in your 20s or 30s, spend the year preparing. You've got the time. Do it right.) So two decades after graduating from Davis with a 3.3 UGPA and taking a lot less time to prepare than I needed, I scored in the average 150s on the LSAT. If I had set my sights on McGeorge, I would have needed to spend six months preparing for it, especially after not having taken a formal exam for so many years. I was a bundle of nerves during the thing. With my score, I would have been a marginal candidate at best if I had applied to McGeorge, notwithstanding my military service and the uber-compelling PS I wrote. And Davis? They would have just laughed. I considered applying for a transfer to McGeorge when I ranked inside the upper 5% after 1L grades came out this June, but honestly, by the time I graduate and take the bar, I highly doubt that the name of the school on my J.D. is going to help me much, regardless of what it is. In sum, the reality check is what propelled me into a state school.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: lawstudent#1 on August 09, 2011, 09:22:40 AM
How is $140K a "BIG" investment? It's one years salary.

I guess it depends on where you are before you enroll. If you are earning $200K as a CPA somewhere great, stay there.

If you are earning $30K a year as an assistant manager at a resterant or furniture store(etc) because you got an otherwise useless BA in business, then I'd say you have less of an excuse to be scared.

Unless you are where you want to be for the next 40years, do what you have to do to get where you want to be.

If you are content stay. If you are just scared, pee your pants and cry.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: FalconJimmy on August 09, 2011, 09:38:17 AM
Duncan, you're obviously a very intelligent person.  Our stories are remarkably similar.  I'm not even that far away from you as far as age goes.  You've obviously made an informed decision and are comfortable with the various risks involved.

Personally, although there may be a very small set of people for whom a non-ABA school may be appropriate, that set is probably very, very small. 

To me, the frightening thing is that it severely narrows your options.  Going to an ABA school may be problematic, and I think everybody should be aware of the potential pitfalls.  (My opinion?  Half of current law grads are probably going to be very disappointed at their professional lives after graduation.)

The thing that would frighten me about a non-ABA school is that as daunting as the prospects are for ABA-school grads, they're probably an order of magnitude worse for non-ABA grads. 

I have ideas of what I would like to do upon graduation, but who knows.  I have other options.  I can try to go JAG corps.  I can try to apply for work in the federal government.  Just off the top of my head, those are two options that no non-ABA graduate can even contemplate.

I can transfer to a better ABA school if I can get good enough 1L grades.  Again, no non-ABA graduate can even think about this.

Your decision may be appropriate for you, personally.  I just fear that only a very, very, very, very small proportion of your 1L classmates realistically know what they're getting into.  Granted, probably fully half or more of the 1Ls at my school don't know what they're getting into, either, but at least upon graduation, they're eligible to pursue a job in the DOJ or whatnot.

Best of luck to you.  As I said, we're not that different.  You're obviously a very intelligent person.  I hope things work out exactly as you have planned for them to. 
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Hamilton on August 09, 2011, 09:48:05 AM
You are right, $140K is not a "big" investment... it's a HUGE risk if you are looking at a T3/4 or non-ABA school.  It is not one years salary either, especially if it was borrowed.  At best, starting salary is realistically $80K, at best.  After taxes that is now about $45K take home. Factor in rent and other living expenses and there is not a whole lot left for loan payments.   In the mean time, that $140K is accruing about 8% interest - so it's a festering growing boil that does not quickly go away.  After loan payments, there is not a whole lot left for improving one's quality of life (nice car, vacation, travel, etc.).

It's not like one gets a job making $140K, throws all of that money at the loan, and it is gone in one year.

How is $140K a "BIG" investment? It's one years salary.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: FalconJimmy on August 09, 2011, 09:50:06 AM
How is $140K a "BIG" investment? It's one years salary.

for maybe the top 50% at HYS, yeah.  For maybe the top 30% of the rest of the T14, yeah.  for those of us in T3 and T4 schools, maybe, maybe 1 or 2 people in the class might make this.  Maybe.

the rest will probably be working for something in the neighborhood of 40-60.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: jack24 on August 09, 2011, 11:15:26 AM
You are right, $140K is not a "big" investment... it's a HUGE risk if you are looking at a T3/4 or non-ABA school.  It is not one years salary either, especially if it was borrowed.  At best, starting salary is realistically $80K, at best.  After taxes that is now about $45K take home. Factor in rent and other living expenses and there is not a whole lot left for loan payments.   In the mean time, that $140K is accruing about 8% interest - so it's a festering growing boil that does not quickly go away.  After loan payments, there is not a whole lot left for improving one's quality of life (nice car, vacation, travel, etc.).

It's not like one gets a job making $140K, throws all of that money at the loan, and it is gone in one year.

How is $140K a "BIG" investment? It's one years salary.


$140,000 in debt is $998 a month for 25 years. (Total payment amount of $299,531)
Or it's $1,093 for 20 years (Total payments of $262,521)
Or it's $1,632 for 10 years (total payments of $195,929)

At my T2 school, about 10% of graduates start in the 100,000+ range,  the next 20% or so start in the 75,000-90,000 range, and the other 70% of graduates fight for the same 40,000-65,000 per year jobs.

If you are fortunate enough to average $75,000 over 10 years, then your monthly take-home would be between $4,000 and $5,000 a month.

$4500
-1400/mo mortgage
-400/ mo food
-400/ mo cars
-150/mo insurance
-400/mo phones and utilities
=$1750 a month left over for everything else.
How much of that $1750 are you really going to be able to/want to put on student loans?  That's why so many people do IBR or a 25 year term and end up paying nearly double their principal amount because of interest.

That is a massive investment for 90% of graduates.


*EDIT*
My monthly take home is pretty favorable but that is based on the idea that your mortgage interest and student loan interest would be deductible.  That also doesn't include any retirement, insurance, or other very likely withholdings from your paycheck.

 


Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: fortook on August 09, 2011, 01:03:23 PM
I'm not saying you're wrong at all, I agree with you.  Anything over 100K is a massive, life long investment.

Some of your bills are unnecessary and some are inflated.  Why would anyone pay $400 a month for a car unless you have money to burn, which you can't with debt.  Are you leasing a new car?  If so, you are paying way too much, both in total and monthly, unnecessarily.  $400 a month in phone and utilities?  How is that even possible?  There is no need to pay anymore than $50 a month per phone.  Are you heating a castle or something (oh and if your are using AC, why?- its the most unnecessary wasteful thing ever- just a minority opinion I know) ?  $400 in food?  You must have a large family or eat out every night.

Like I said, I agree with you.  Your point is well made, but if these are your real number, then you could easily cut your expenses in half and put more toward your loans.  Fyi.  Good luck.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: jack24 on August 09, 2011, 03:42:36 PM
I'm not saying you're wrong at all, I agree with you.  Anything over 100K is a massive, life long investment.

Some of your bills are unnecessary and some are inflated.  Why would anyone pay $400 a month for a car unless you have money to burn, which you can't with debt.  Are you leasing a new car?  If so, you are paying way too much, both in total and monthly, unnecessarily.  $400 a month in phone and utilities?  How is that even possible?  There is no need to pay anymore than $50 a month per phone.  Are you heating a castle or something (oh and if your are using AC, why?- its the most unnecessary wasteful thing ever- just a minority opinion I know) ?  $400 in food?  You must have a large family or eat out every night.

Like I said, I agree with you.  Your point is well made, but if these are your real number, then you could easily cut your expenses in half and put more toward your loans.  Fyi.  Good luck.


Yeah, and I also left out a lot of expenses.  Do you have a family?  Do you actually know how much utilities cost for a normal sized house (electric, maybe Gas, water, sewer, garbage.)   Even if you are a penny pincher your utilities will be around 200 a month for a 2500 + square foot house.  I lived in a 600 square foot apartment and electric alone averaged around 75 bucks and water was 50.    I'm not trying to pick a fight here, but Saying A/C is unnecessary and wasteful is incredibly naive.  First, I live in the southwest, second I have small children.  It's 108 outside right now and I'm supposed to tell my 2 year old to use a fan? If my wife is home with the kids she's just supposed to leave the thermostat at 90?  You aren't going to be single forever, or maybe you will if you don't ever use A/C.  I'm including cell phones in that phone analysis for me and my wife.  Our combined bill is around 125 bucks because I have to have a smart phone for my job.  You might be able to cut two lines with smart phones down to 100 bucks if you get the right plan. 

Maybe you have a sugar momma, but most likely you'll have two cars in your family someday and those cars have payments, insurance, gas, and upkeep.  Yeah, gas.  If you commute 30 minutes to work like me then your gasoline bill will be between 150 and 200 a month.  I'm not leasing a mercedes here or something..  I pay 120 a month for a honda, 90 a month for my wife, 92 a month for insurance, and 175 a month for gas.  Maintenance is around 400 a year, so that's actually over $500 a month for transportation expenses.

$400 a month in food is only 12 bucks a day genius.  Cereal for breakfast, PB&J for lunch, and fried chicken for dinner almost costs that much for four people.   Take the wife out for subway sandwiches and your whole day is blown.

Also, I didn't include entertainment, clothing (some years are expensive for a lawyer even if you're cheap), dental bills, internet, possibly TV, potential homeowners association dues, gifts, and any vacations you might ever want to take.   Maybe your wife will work and make 50 grand.  Well she'll get taxed to death since you make so much money.  Daycare is a money suck.

The point is, living on $3000 a month net for a small family is no small task.
 
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: fortook on August 09, 2011, 04:19:52 PM
Hmmm.  I thought I was being soft enough to be helpful rather than piss you off- guess not.  It's okay.  Look, you don't have to defend yourself, but most of us in the US pays 10X more than is necessary.  You can buy a very reliable car for $5K with only liability and be totally fine.  Nissan makes a $4K new car and does not market it in the US because they know we will pay 10X as much on average.  THEY KNOW IT.

Human beings have lived for a long time without AC.  It is a luxury, an unhealthy one at that. You get used to summer if you don't isolate yourself from it, it isn't that bad even in the S East.  Really, you and your kids would be totally fine without it.  One quick question on the AC issue:  Do you think its healthy not to sweat for decades?  Millions of people don't.  I know I'm a freak on this issue, the US has become AC addicted and some how many people do consider it a necessity.  Personally, I hate AC and wish it had never been invented. But hey, it is the middle of summer and I wear a wool suit to the courthouse.  Makes perfect sense.

Onto food expenses, come on you really don't think $100 per person per month two of whom are kids is expensive?  Okay, I'll give it to ya.  I don't agree, but oh well. All subway all day would be cheaper.  It cost Jared less.

Phone, I pay $25 a month and use a smart phone.  I have to have only for my job too. The three big companies charge crazy amount for services you can buy elsewhere.  Utilities, AC might be a huge gulper there.  Solar panels still seem too hippieish for some people, but if it pays for itself in two years-  I don't know.  I hope you enjoy your house, it sure is expensive. 

Lastly, how to say this?  Your response reeks of character assassination and credibility undermining rhetoric.  Not kool, man and totally unnecessary.  Why would I fight with you over what you pay?  If you want to pay more than you need for things that aren't necessary, then by all means be my guest.  It's the American way, isn't it? You are entitled to an opinion, but then so am I.  Also, I was kind of hinting that your estimates were inflated, presumably, to strengthen your point. Hence the questioning, but oh well.  Don't you love the circle. Cheers.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Duncanjp on August 09, 2011, 10:40:35 PM
Duncan, you're obviously a very intelligent person.  Our stories are remarkably similar.  I'm not even that far away from you as far as age goes.  You've obviously made an informed decision and are comfortable with the various risks involved.

Personally, although there may be a very small set of people for whom a non-ABA school may be appropriate, that set is probably very, very small. 

To me, the frightening thing is that it severely narrows your options.  Going to an ABA school may be problematic, and I think everybody should be aware of the potential pitfalls.  (My opinion?  Half of current law grads are probably going to be very disappointed at their professional lives after graduation.)

The thing that would frighten me about a non-ABA school is that as daunting as the prospects are for ABA-school grads, they're probably an order of magnitude worse for non-ABA grads. 

I have ideas of what I would like to do upon graduation, but who knows.  I have other options.  I can try to go JAG corps.  I can try to apply for work in the federal government.  Just off the top of my head, those are two options that no non-ABA graduate can even contemplate.

I can transfer to a better ABA school if I can get good enough 1L grades.  Again, no non-ABA graduate can even think about this.

Your decision may be appropriate for you, personally.  I just fear that only a very, very, very, very small proportion of your 1L classmates realistically know what they're getting into.  Granted, probably fully half or more of the 1Ls at my school don't know what they're getting into, either, but at least upon graduation, they're eligible to pursue a job in the DOJ or whatnot.

Best of luck to you.  As I said, we're not that different.  You're obviously a very intelligent person.  I hope things work out exactly as you have planned for them to.

Thanks for the compliments, Falcon. The only really intelligent thing I've ever done was to marry for love. But you're obviously just as intelligent as anybody here and you clearly have a generous measure of class to go with it.

I think you're right on target about the benefits of an ABA school. If a person wants options after graduation, ABA is the only way to go. This thread has been an exercise for me to explore some of Hamilton's rhetorical questions. Hopefully, the OP is getting some useful food for consideration out of it as well, in light of the difficult issues that have been discussed. But one of the most poignant things I've heard anybody say anywhere on this forum is your observation, Falcon, that "half of current law grads are probably going to be very disappointed at their professional lives after graduation." That smacks of fact. One of the hardest things to do in life is to find a career that you absolutely love, and then weave your life around it. Too many people of my acquaintance have settled for jobs they hate (the current marketplace for jobs notwithstanding). Somehow I managed to get it right, but I was 34 before I did. Enrolling in law school before you've fallen in love with a career in law seems bass-ackwards to me. It's certainly risky, at any rate. A person should first discover a love for working in law, at least on some level, and when that prerequisite has been established, boom: enroll. Otherwise, I fear the reality of what it means to be a lawyer may be sadly disappointing, if not flat-out boring for many people. In my discussions with classmates about our study habits, the better students consistently describe the bulk of their law school experience as solitary. The really good students that I've met don't seem to be chronically socializing with other students or meeting in study groups to practice spotting issues and to discuss cases. Instead, they're confined to their dens by themselves: reading cases and writing briefs, outlines, and practice exams. In essence, teaching themselves the law and how to apply it. It's a lonely business and not for everyone.

So as I survey the people spread across my class, I know that a percentage, mostly the younger ones, are unclear why they're even there or what they should expect from it. The older students tend to be very clear, on the other hand. Most of the older people expect the law education to enable them to perform their jobs better and to help them stay on top of their game and remain competitive, even if they never pass the bar. That in itself makes the education worthwhile. For example, I have several colleagues, all of whom ought be doing exactly what I'm doing to avoid stagnating at their desks. I don't mean to sound like I'm clapping myself on the back, but after a long day at work, I'm sitting in a classroom learning about res ipsa loquitur or 3PB contracts while my co-workers are all at home eating dinner and preparing for a hard night's TV schedule. The company sees this. Just as importantly, so do our clients. And after a single, swift year of law school, even at a mere state school, I'm becoming aware that I'm pulling ahead of my peers, most or all of whom have been in the business twice as long as I have. Pretty gratifying. At the same time, a lot of important leaders in my company and industry are stampeding toward retirement, and there isn't exactly a surfeit of qualified people to replace them. When those people start calling it a day in the next few years and the powers above look around at their options for promotion, I expect to be standing far apart from the crowd.

You're probably right that there aren't many people who can make a state school education really pay off. But for the right person in the right place with a good plan, I believe it's not as big a gamble as it may appear.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: like_lasagna on August 09, 2011, 11:38:21 PM
Lastly, how to say this?  Your response reeks of character assassination and credibility undermining rhetoric.  Not kool, man and totally unnecessary.  Why would I fight with you over what you pay?  If you want to pay more than you need for things that aren't necessary, then by all means be my guest.  It's the American way, isn't it? You are entitled to an opinion, but then so am I.  Also, I was kind of hinting that your estimates were inflated, presumably, to strengthen your point. Hence the questioning, but oh well.  Don't you love the circle. Cheers.

Your response reeks of trying too hard and being wrong and horrible at life. Yes, we are all bad people if we use AC when we live in the southwest or the southeast. We should put that money to better use.

What you're talking about (in how $140K isn't that much) involves sacrificing quite a bit. You're making jack's point for him; if you have to give up that much just to pay off your student loans, something is wrong.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: fortook on August 10, 2011, 07:10:11 AM
What's happening here?  Deep breath in, hold, deep breath out.  Jack, buddy, I was saying you were exaggerating your expenses to make your point- which I have said I agree with.  I, however, still think it necessary to point out facilities, even if I agree with the underlying argument itself. If you were not exaggerating your expenses I was planing on giving you some unconventional alternatives that are used less and cost much, much less.

My opinion on AC- Yes I think it is unnecessary.  Yes, I don't like it.  Yes, I think it is unnatural.  Yes, I think Americans are unnecessarily dependent on it.  Yes, I think people are better off without it.  If you disagree, I can still respect you.  Assuming you can make a cogent point and not a string of unrelated insults.  It is my opinion, I am entitled to it.  If you don't like it, well honestly, too bad.  I hate AC, uh sorry.

Lasagna, I try to hard to be wrong and am horrible at life?  Is this for real?  Once I graduated middle school I was afforded the privilege (and right) of not having to deal with a string of incoherent insults strung together in a sentence.  Grown ups don't do that.  Well, grown ups of normal intelligence don't do that.  I don't know or really care what your problem is, be it young age or mental retardation. When children do it, I can handle it because I'm the adult in charge.

I won't deal with this anymore.  Lasagna, you need a time out.  Good luck Jack, really.  If you want some money alternatives I'll help you if I can.   
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Hamilton on August 10, 2011, 07:33:52 AM
It is easy to get into the weeds on these boards.  Jack put together a well-reasoned back-of-the-envelope financial breakdown to demonstrate that (1) a realistic salary of $75K is not that much money, and (2) when factoring in living expenses it does not leave much extra for paying off loans.  Quibbling over the numbers the specific numbers is not worth it because he is right: onece you get out working and living life, you will have expenses and "needs" that consume your cash.  Nobody will live a monklike life simply so they can pay off their loans - life will be calling and you will participate.  This will be triply true if you have a family - one simply cannot and will not live a spartan existence so they can throw extra money at their student loan and pay it off.

The main point remains, $100K in loans IS a big deal and should be taken VERY seriously because they are not quickly and easily disposed.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: fortook on August 10, 2011, 08:04:50 AM
Very well put and true, Hamilton.  I was not arguing for a spartan existence, however.  The assumption I was is way too extreme. I was only saying: many expenses are unnecessary and/or have more affordable choices that work just as well.  Being informative is not the same a being condemning. Cars, for example and perhaps more than anything else, do not need to be a major expense.  The majority of people use expensive options.  I often ask why?  The answer, it seems, is awareness of options.  People simply do not know, they think the most expensive approach is the only one because it is the most common.  Companies know this and cater and exploit it.  Its a vicious cycle. 

We have gotten a little of topic.  The original sub issue was the crippling cost of law school.  I, in no way, contest its a sh.. ton of debt and makes life harsh for decades.  In an ironic way we are making the pro non accredited argument stronger.  Look at us ABA school fools arguing over and trying to manage our crippling debt.  I laugh with you, ha.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Hamilton on August 10, 2011, 08:19:26 AM
And that cost won't change until (1) people stop flooding the schools with applications, and (2) loan money is not made so readily available.  Schools are responding to a (ill-conceived) demand, their seats are full and more schools are being opened.  Until the bubble bursts they will keep lowering the bar for admission.  Heck, Cooley is opening ANOTHER campus in FL.  At $1,200/credit hour that is like printing money.

The original sub issue was the crippling cost of law school.  I, in no way, contest its a sh.. ton of debt and makes life harsh for decades.  In an ironic way we are making the pro non accredited argument stronger.  Look at us ABA school fools arguing over and trying to manage our crippling debt.  I laugh with you, ha.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: fortook on August 10, 2011, 08:54:40 AM
Cooley is opening another campus in FL.  Are you serious?  I didn't know that.  It is already, by far, the largest law school in the US.  How many new law schools does that make for FL in the past 5 years, 5?  Too fast, way too fast.

Law school has become a business.  Some don't even hide their "for profit" intentions anymore.  Did you hear about the suit against Thomas Jefferson from a former student who argues she couldn't find a job?  Thomas Jefferson, isn't even that bad of a school in terms of employment. 

There are ABA schools out there with less then %50 employment.   In one thread (somewhere on LSD, I can't remember where) an OP asked about Appalachian School of Law.  Another poster posted a link to the school's stats, %40 weren't reported and of the %60 percent that were, less than %50 were employed.  The school openly states that its intentions in opening was to save the town it is in and not to train and supply lawyers.  A prime example, showing the consequences of your point.  I think I even said, how can anyone sue Tommy J and not sue Appalachian.  That school must have thousands of unemployed alums, fricking thousands.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Hamilton on August 10, 2011, 09:42:27 AM
yep: http://www.cooley.edu/newsevents/2011/080811_cooley_opens_tampa_campus.html

And with their lawsuit against bloggers and anonymous commenters they are learning about the "Striesand Effect."

Cooley is opening another campus in FL.  Are you serious?  I didn't know that.  It is already, by far, the largest law school in the US.  How many new law schools does that make for FL in the past 5 years, 5?  Too fast, way too fast.

Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: fortook on August 10, 2011, 11:12:47 AM

And with their lawsuit against bloggers and anonymous commenters they are learning about the "Striesand Effect."

[/quote]
[/quote]

Please elaborate on this.  I can think of a few applications.  What do you mean? 

700 new students?  I don't know what to say.  How can they fit in FL with FL Coastal, FL A&M, FL International (which I heard has a pretty decent program, btw), Ava Marie, and Barry- all brand new schools to FL?  Not to mention the bunch that have been there for awhile.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Hamilton on August 10, 2011, 11:41:52 AM
Quoted from Wikipedia:  "The Streisand effect is a primarily online phenomenon in which an attempt to hide or remove a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely. It is named after American entertainer Barbra Streisand, whose attempt in 2003 to suppress photographs of her residence inadvertently generated further publicity.
Similar attempts have been made, for example, in cease-and-desist letters, to suppress numbers, files and websites. Instead of being suppressed, the information receives extensive publicity, often being widely mirrored across the Internet or distributed on file-sharing networks."

Here, Cooley sued a blogger and commenters to protect their reputation.  As a result, news of the suit and the claims being made about Cooley have just garnered MORE attention. http://www.cooley.edu/newsevents/2011/071411_Cooley_Protects_Alumni_Students_and_Reputation.html
Many more people are "discussing" them online and pointing out that they did not retain any Cooley grads to defend themselves.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: fortook on August 10, 2011, 12:40:18 PM
Cooley looks like a good place to get an LLM.  They say they are in the top ten nationwide using their own raking system.  Are they going to sue us here?  We need to be careful. Shhhhhhhhh. 
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: FalconJimmy on August 10, 2011, 01:41:53 PM
Cooley looks like a good place to get an LLM.  They say they are in the top ten nationwide using their own raking system.  Are they going to sue us here?  We need to be careful. Shhhhhhhhh.

Wow, they really need to imrpve their top 10 LLM program so that it matches the caliber of their #2 rated Law School.  (Disclaimer:  please don't sue me for disparaging what is obviously an unfairly under-rated LLM program.)

In Cooley's defense though, although they appear to admit nearly everybody, they don't appear to be a school that'll graduate just anybody.  Their scholarships are pretty generous, too.  Just sayin'. 
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: jack24 on August 10, 2011, 01:57:48 PM
I'm sure some people go to Cooley and love it and find good jobs.   
It's insanely risky to go there though because of the overall job market.  Here are some statistics from NALP for the national class of 2010. 

The overall employment rate of the Class of 2010 nine months after graduation was 87.6 percent, the lowest since 1996. NALP calculates this employment rate based on graduates whose status is known, counting all types of jobs as employment. If you apply the new US News methodology, which is based on the total number of graduates, the overall nine-month employment rate for the 192 law schools reporting falls to 84.1 percent.

Only 71 percent of the jobs reported by the Class of 2010 were both full-time and permanent.

Only 50.9 percent of 2010 grads reporting working for private law firms, a drop of five percentage points from the Class of 2009.
The percentage of private practice jobs with large (500+ attorney) firms fell from 25.6 percent in 2009 to 20.5 percent in 2010.

Of the Class of 2010 graduates for whom employment was known, nationally only 68.4 percent obtained a job for which bar passage is required. This is the lowest "bar passage required" percentage NALP has ever measured.

Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Hamilton on August 10, 2011, 02:04:50 PM
And what do you suppose the employment status of those unknown/non-replys is?  I would bet it is overwhelmingly "unemployed" or "underemployed." 
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: FalconJimmy on August 10, 2011, 02:06:29 PM
I'm sure some people go to Cooley and love it and find good jobs.   

Not sure I'd go so far as to say that...

Of the Class of 2010 graduates for whom employment was known, nationally only 68.4 percent obtained a job for which bar passage is required. This is the lowest "bar passage required" percentage NALP has ever measured.

Wow, now that's just effin' scary.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: FalconJimmy on August 10, 2011, 02:07:05 PM
And what do you suppose the employment status of those unknown/non-replys is?  I would bet it is overwhelmingly "unemployed" or "underemployed."

Seems like a pretty safe bet. 
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Duncanjp on August 10, 2011, 11:27:13 PM
And that cost won't change until (1) people stop flooding the schools with applications, and (2) loan money is not made so readily available.  Schools are responding to a (ill-conceived) demand, their seats are full and more schools are being opened.  Until the bubble bursts they will keep lowering the bar for admission.  Heck, Cooley is opening ANOTHER campus in FL.  At $1,200/credit hour that is like printing money.

Hi Hamilton. Up until maybe 20 years ago, when a person entered law school, he or she embarked on a path that most mortals could only dream about. Only a special few got into law school, and by limiting admission to that certain few, the profession preserved its elitism. But the elitism of being an attorney is eroding what with so many new lawyers flooding the market. In some respects, I think it's a good thing. Society holds all citizens accountable for knowing and applying the law in their own lives and in the lives of others you can't cause injury to another's person or property without legal consequences. Since everyone is under the same yoke, how is society improved by limiting access to the formal study of law to just a select few? Granted, more attorneys reduces the prospect of attaining substantial wealth from the practice of law, but at least more people may find access to the law if the glut of lawyers drives down the price of representation.  Law schools could easily maintain the elite social status of being an attorney by doubling or tripling their current tuition rates and abandoning all student loan programs. This would place the education out of the reach of the majority of people seeking admission. But under that scenario, the only people who would be able to study law would be the most wealthy among us. And they would also be the only ones with any access to it. That isn't right. There is definitely a shortage of jobs for new attorneys, but too many people express too much worry about whether other law students will be able to find jobs, it seems to me. If I can borrow from Clint Eastwood, it's what we know about ourselves inside that makes us worry.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Hamilton on August 11, 2011, 06:17:38 AM
Duncan - no disagreement on your points.  What you are stating then (if I may) is that law is really just another specialized profession requiring additional education and certification (i.e. pass the bar).  I agree.  If law is not an elite highly-selective profession with a very high bar for admission, schools should stop charging tuition as if it is.  I'm no elitist, I am a t3/4 grad who "survived" financially, personally, and professionally.
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: fortook on August 11, 2011, 06:54:50 PM
Duncanjp, follow me to the Batmobile. You are needed in: Are CBA schools a joke?  Hurry!!!
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: Duncanjp on August 13, 2011, 05:54:41 PM
Duncanjp, follow me to the Batmobile. You are needed in: Are CBA schools a joke?  Hurry!!!

I still like the 1960s Batmobile the best, but the Dark Knight's was pretty cool, too. Except, c'mon: bullets would've popped those balloon tires easily. I ask you.

CalGal27,
This has been a pretty thorough and completely enjoyable, perhaps even meaningful, discussion for a thread. Thank you. Have you changed your decision one way or the other about where and whether to proceed with law school?
Title: Re: Well, I got into law school...
Post by: fortook on August 13, 2011, 07:18:07 PM
I thought you might appreciate that :).  Sorry to make you the resident expert on non ABAs, but you do seem to know more about them than the rest of us.