Law School Discussion

Deciding Where to Go => Choosing the Right Law School => Topic started by: $Bill on April 07, 2008, 08:33:06 AM

Title: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: $Bill on April 07, 2008, 08:33:06 AM
A rather bleak article on the legal profession and the future for current and prospective lawyers...:(


http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/magazine/chi-080406lawyerwoes-story,0,5547944.story?page=1
Title: Re: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: wiseowl on April 07, 2008, 09:19:44 AM
attn: to the kirsten wolfs and scott bullocks of the world

we empathize with you, we feel your pain, but we heard you the first time.  quit whining.
Title: Re: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: jfields32 on April 07, 2008, 09:29:06 AM
Wow that was a downer...

*now goes to check mailbox for acceptance letters*
Title: Re: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: UnoriginalAndrew on April 07, 2008, 09:34:50 AM
I read that article last night.  My buddy had it with him when he came over to my place.  It just made me roll my eyes.  Why is there so much doom and gloom out there about this?  Yes people need to know that going to a third tier law school is not a ticket to instant wealth, but you don't need to knock the whole profession.  Some of us will find great jobs, and some of us might even be happy doing them.
Title: Re: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: non parata est on April 07, 2008, 10:19:07 AM
Do we really think that the people who aren't interested in researching job prospects before shelling out 150k are reading the careers section of the Tribune?
Title: Re: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: DCLabor25 on April 07, 2008, 10:20:16 AM
The article is excellent because it's a reality check.  It's not just third tier law schools that are not an instant ticket to wealth -- it's a lot of second tier schools and a lot of first tier schools outside of the T14.  Law school is a huge investment, both time and money-wise.  For some people -- not all but some -- they would probably be just as well off working in another field.  There are many easier and quicker ways to make money and do meaningful things in life at the same time.  

If you have a burning desire to be an attorney more than anything else in the world or you have really carefully thought out the decision, that's one thing.  Few people however come to law school with that desire or a larger perspective -- in fact, a fair number of the people I have talked to are going because a.) they are bored with their lives  b.) they want to make money  or  c.) they have unrealistic expectations about public interest law (i.e. they are looking at paying $150K in student loans and think they will be able to work for a non-profit).  

I don't think it's doom and gloom, it's just reality to point out the downsides of the career.  
Title: Re: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: gclemen1 on April 07, 2008, 10:51:12 AM
I am really surprised about how some people approach law school.  Many people at my school seem to have the attitude that they will go to law school just b/c they got a polysci degree and don't know what to do.  I have wanted to be an attorney my entire life, but some people amaze me about the ignorance they possess in regards to law school.  I know one kid that didn't do good on his LSAT, and he was like, Ill just go to John Marshall in Atlanta, I can't wait a year.  It seems absurd to me that someone wouldn't take a year off and do better on the LSAT, rather than plunging 150k into a provisionally accredited law school that has no ties to the community.  Everyone always says that the attorney market is saturated, but I think this just applies to crappy attorneys.  No one wants a crappy attorney, but there is always a need for a good attorney.
Title: Re: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: UnoriginalAndrew on April 07, 2008, 11:03:26 AM
I am really surprised about how some people approach law school.  Many people at my school seem to have the attitude that they will go to law school just b/c they got a polysci degree and don't know what to do.  I have wanted to be an attorney my entire life, but some people amaze me about the ignorance they possess in regards to law school.  I know one kid that didn't do good on his LSAT, and he was like, Ill just go to John Marshall in Atlanta, I can't wait a year.  It seems absurd to me that someone wouldn't take a year off and do better on the LSAT, rather than plunging 150k into a provisionally accredited law school that has no ties to the community.  Everyone always says that the attorney market is saturated, but I think this just applies to crappy attorneys.  No one wants a crappy attorney, but there is always a need for a good attorney.

Credited all the way.
Title: Re: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: mathlete on April 07, 2008, 11:16:18 AM
I read that article last night.  My buddy had it with him when he came over to my place.  It just made me roll my eyes.  Why is there so much doom and gloom out there about this?  Yes people need to know that going to a third tier law school is not a ticket to instant wealth, but you don't need to knock the whole profession.  Some of us will find great jobs, and some of us might even be happy doing them.

BU is third tier?
Title: Re: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: upgrade on April 07, 2008, 11:24:59 AM
I know one kid that didn't do good on his LSAT, and he was like, Ill just go to John Marshall in Atlanta, I can't wait a year.  It seems absurd to me that someone wouldn't take a year off and do better on the LSAT, rather than plunging 150k

I know what you mean.  I have a friend with a 4.0 GPA, didn't seem to study very hard for the LSAT, and is going to a third tier school and more than likely will have about 75k in tuition.  If he would buckle down and prepare for the LSAT I could have a shot just about anywhere and definitely better schools with full-ride scholarships than his current plans place him.
Title: Re: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: john jacob on April 07, 2008, 11:33:08 AM
common people to this day talk about "doctors and lawyers."

Things are different now. With manufacturing decimated, there isn't a base of high-school education factory jobs anymore. Doctors and lawyers can be wealthy only with such a base...otherwise their ranks have been swelled by people who 40 years ago would have taken a factory job out of high school, and with the swelling of the ranks has come inflated tuitions, as public education administrators are awful at cost containment.
Title: Re: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: DCLabor25 on April 07, 2008, 02:42:32 PM
The crowd on here -- and I include myself in this category -- IS generally crazier about law school than the average student.  No doubt about that. 

BUT, there are plenty of times I read threads on here and wonder if people know entirely what they are getting themselves into with law school or have read enough about it to make the best decision for themselves.  Yes, the local schools can sometimes be crappy....but again, it's just not third and fourth tier schools.  A majority of first and second tier schools will cost you over $100,000, sometimes much more, and finishing at the median at the vast majority of these schools can be a very tough place careerwise, especially in cities like NY, DC, and Chicago where there are T14 schools lurking in the shadows.  The investment does not even come close to paying off in the short term and whether it will pay off in the long term or not too is probably an open question. 

That doesn't matter as much if all you really want to do in life is become an attorney --- but I don't know how many really hold that belief. 
Title: Re: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: AmyWaxFanClubPresident on April 07, 2008, 02:51:59 PM
In reality, "wanting to be an attorney all my life" is usually just as bad a reason for attending law school as having a Poli-Sci degree.  There is usually a large distinction between peoples' romanticized version of being a lawyer and what the work actually entails.  I'm not saying this is the case for you, just people have crazy notions of what they will be doing when the graduate if they don't do any research.
 
I am really surprised about how some people approach law school.  Many people at my school seem to have the attitude that they will go to law school just b/c they got a polysci degree and don't know what to do.  I have wanted to be an attorney my entire life, but some people amaze me about the ignorance they possess in regards to law school.  I know one kid that didn't do good on his LSAT, and he was like, Ill just go to John Marshall in Atlanta, I can't wait a year.  It seems absurd to me that someone wouldn't take a year off and do better on the LSAT, rather than plunging 150k into a provisionally accredited law school that has no ties to the community.  Everyone always says that the attorney market is saturated, but I think this just applies to crappy attorneys.  No one wants a crappy attorney, but there is always a need for a good attorney.
Title: Re: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: DCLabor25 on April 07, 2008, 02:53:55 PM
I think your right about that too. 
Title: Re: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: mzing12 on April 07, 2008, 03:28:42 PM
Let's just say what everyone wants to say: the only people who should go to law school are the ones who did well enough on the LSATs to get into the T25. That is all.
Title: Re: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: officeguy on April 07, 2008, 04:06:44 PM
Going to the #1 law school within a market is usually a good idea as well.
Title: Re: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: Harsh Reality on April 07, 2008, 04:22:32 PM
The crowd on here -- and I include myself in this category -- IS generally crazier about law school than the average student.  No doubt about that. 

BUT, there are plenty of times I read threads on here and wonder if people know entirely what they are getting themselves into with law school or have read enough about it to make the best decision for themselves.  Yes, the local schools can sometimes be crappy....but again, it's just not third and fourth tier schools.  A majority of first and second tier schools will cost you over $100,000, sometimes much more, and finishing at the median at the vast majority of these schools can be a very tough place careerwise, especially in cities like NY, DC, and Chicago where there are T14 schools lurking in the shadows.  The investment does not even come close to paying off in the short term and whether it will pay off in the long term or not too is probably an open question. 

That doesn't matter as much if all you really want to do in life is become an attorney --- but I don't know how many really hold that belief. 

Totally concur.  If you're at a median in a T2 school in these big cities, you're screwed because you're looking at $2000 in loan payments every month, rent is ridiculous in cities like NY that would cost $2000 for a hole in the wall.  As a result, you're stuck commuting from some ghetto in the Queen, Bronx, or Brooklyn, commuting 1 hour into the city each way.  Life will be miserable.  Minus well jump off the Brooklyn Bridge at that point. 







Title: Re: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: UnoriginalAndrew on April 07, 2008, 04:28:18 PM
I read that article last night.  My buddy had it with him when he came over to my place.  It just made me roll my eyes.  Why is there so much doom and gloom out there about this?  Yes people need to know that going to a third tier law school is not a ticket to instant wealth, but you don't need to knock the whole profession.  Some of us will find great jobs, and some of us might even be happy doing them.

BU is third tier?

That particular woman's story has been told many-a-time before.  She has individual circumstances and clear inadequacies that I'm sure shine through at interviews. After reading her story before, I'm pretty certain she'd have had a tough time out of Harvard. This particular article doesn't mention much about her, but it does say that she chose to live in New York.  She took her below-median grades and degree at BU to the most expensive place to live in the country.
Title: Re: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: DCLabor25 on April 07, 2008, 06:33:18 PM
I think there are still some options outside of the T25, but those should usually involve scholarships.  I also do not think you can even lump 15-25 in with the T14 -- there is just such a difference between the T14 and even the schools directly beneath it. 

I think people who pick the lesser ranked school because of money -- knowing that they are limiting themselves in one direction with BIGLAW but possibly freeing themselves from golden handcuffs -- are making a rational decision.  A law degree with no debt is not a bad career option at all.  But people who pay full boat for a lot of schools would probably be better off looking at other options besides law school.

Also to the poster who wrote:

"She has individual circumstances and clear inadequacies that I'm sure shine through at interviews. After reading her story before, I'm pretty certain she'd have had a tough time out of Harvard. This particular article doesn't mention much about her, but it does say that she chose to live in New York.  She took her below-median grades and degree at BU to the most expensive place to live in the country."

With all due respect, what in the world are you basing the first part of that on?  None of us (to my knowledge anyway!) have actually interviewed her, so its impossible to say if she has "inadequacies" that shine through in an interview. 

The reality in my view is that it's a very, very tough situation if you graduate from say BC or BU and you are right around the median or even below it.  You have all of the T14 people with the same rank and then all of the top 10-15 percent at other tier1, tier2, and even tier 3 schools who are just as competitive -- probably even more so -- than you are for jobs.  And quite frankly, graduating at the median is very easy.  Half of the class is going to up there.  It's a coin flip and you might not have any inadequacies, other than just getting a B on your first year exams.

As for her desire to live in NYC -- yes, it's expensive there.  I would have picked somewhere less expensive.  But it's also expensive because there are more jobs there.  You might move to a less expensive area but student loans cost the same in NYC as they would in Pittsburgh -- but the job in Pittsburgh might not even come close to covering the loans whereas the job in NYC -- even with the high cost of living figured in -- might make it workable.  In any event, I don't know if she made the right choice here, but it's entirely possible she did......
Title: Re: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: OldFart on April 07, 2008, 06:43:35 PM
I read that article last night.  My buddy had it with him when he came over to my place.  It just made me roll my eyes.  Why is there so much doom and gloom out there about this?  Yes people need to know that going to a third tier law school is not a ticket to instant wealth, but you don't need to knock the whole profession.  Some of us will find great jobs, and some of us might even be happy doing them.

BU is third tier?

That particular woman's story has been told many-a-time before.  She has individual circumstances and clear inadequacies that I'm sure shine through at interviews. After reading her story before, I'm pretty certain she'd have had a tough time out of Harvard. This particular article doesn't mention much about her, but it does say that she chose to live in New York.  She took her below-median grades and degree at BU to the most expensive place to live in the country.
"Except for the paycheck. At $59,000 a year, the assistant Cook County state's attorney makes..."

C(r)ook County is Chicago.

That said, it looks like she chose a low-paying field within law.
Title: Re: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: Bulldog86 on April 07, 2008, 07:15:41 PM
Did anyone notice this choice sentence?

Most law schools, Loyola included, grade on a mandatory curve, so half the students finish in the bottom half of their class, typically for the first time in their high-achieving lives.

Yeah, that's it: The CURVE is what makes half the students finish in the bottom half. I'm pretty sure that's basic math -- no, not even math -- just basic definitions of what words mean. Don't newspapers have editors and stuff?
Title: Re: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: dashrashi on April 07, 2008, 07:40:07 PM
Hee. That's my Ks prof at the end there. His kids are cute.
Title: Re: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: stricly bricly on April 07, 2008, 08:40:42 PM
Let's just say what everyone wants to say: the only people who should go to law school are the ones who did well enough on the LSATs to get into the T25. That is all.

i wonder what the T25 would be like without a Bottom 155.
Title: Re: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: stricly bricly on April 07, 2008, 09:14:16 PM
your simile and subsequent rolleyes might have a shot at making sense if, for example, Fordham grads were not in competition for jobs with Dozo grads, or even if GULC and GW students weren't interviewing at the exact same firms. 
Title: Re: A rather bleak article on the legal profession
Post by: stateofbeasley on April 12, 2008, 12:23:04 PM
I just read the article, and from what I am seeing out in the workforce it is true.  Those at the top of my graduating class are making six figures, and the rest are struggling to get by.

Those who cannot pay their bills on 43k/year at gov't offices or small firms go into document review.  Reviewers who can find good long term projects can make 70-80k/year working 50 hrs/week or so, but the work is mind-numbingly boring.  There's also little room for advancement and sometimes very little job security.  Some reviewers become staff attorneys and help manage projects, but its more of the same type of work.  The upside is less stress than an associate's job.

I think most people on this board want to be lawyers, but there are also a lot of people out there who go to law school because they feel like they have nothing better to do or because their parents want them to go.  This article should discourage at least a few of those people from applying to law school.