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Pre-Law in high school / Re: DO NOT GO TO LAW SCHOOL!!!
« on: July 13, 2012, 08:16:41 PM »
@PSA,

I find your (relative) support for night school to be an interesting angle (disclaimer: I am a non-trad considering a night school program, because I am finding my job/career/field is getting moving into an era where law/policy/contract details are becoming more important factors). I am a big fan of the idea that many of the great opportunities in the near future (e.g. next 30-50 years) will be an the intersection of multiple disciplines, and those people that find successful combinations of skills across disciplines can be in a nice position to capitalize.

An obvious downside to this is the amount of time and effort this takes. Not only does one need to develop skills in multiple fields, be prepared to stay relevant in these area, and the need to make and maintain contacts across said fields. It makes me tired just thinking about it.

One generic modification I would suggest to your career advice would be for those people who are starting out to consider things outside their region. There is no reason to limit your opportunities due to happenstance of your current residence.

Yes, I absolutely agree.  It seems like you have a solid plan and are looking into law school with a clear objective of enhancing your earning prospects within an existing career while not quitting work for 3 years.  MBA programs cater to people like you.  I think the night law "stigma" if there ever was one is largely gone and people view it as a smart way to get ahead.  It is only an extra year if you can hack working and studying.
the night law people I've met have always seemed to be a bit extra bright and motivated as a group. 

I would add to my original advice that you could talk to lawyers and find out what their bread and butter business clients do.  Typically, there are far less outside lawyers than people working for the client directly as business people.  Often those business jobs are easier to get and possibly pay the same or more.

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Pre-Law in high school / Re: DO NOT GO TO LAW SCHOOL!!!
« on: July 13, 2012, 12:40:12 AM »
On the other hand, the job market will indeed pick up in ten or fifteen years when the boomers retire as another poster mentioned.  But, who can wait so long?  Also, boomers will be retiring from every industry, not just law.

I still advise against the law to young people in high school planning their careers.
So your recommendation to the young folk out there is what... be born at a different time, place yourself in some form of stasis? Simply avoiding something is not much of a plan, offering suggestions of something that you suspect would work is likely to be much more useful.

Good question.  Basically where I went wrong was to get a liberal arts degree in a subject I was interested in which is pretty typical advice to be given even if not going to law school.  Then, my plan was just to rely on law school to get me a great career via the typical job interview process.  I would be a lawyer and then be making lots of money.  That didn't work.  There was a lot of pain and uncertainty in that plan.

What I would have done differently in high school is focused in on an undergrad degree that gave me a marketable skill set set such as engineering, business, finance, geology, etc, ie jobs that employ lots of people.  For people already on the liberal arts degree path, I would tell them to talk to people who are successful in their grg area in order to find industries where there is a clear defined path to making money.  In better times that could have been commercial real estate.  It could be anything though.  If your state has lots of paper mills for example, what are the white collar jobs that go into producing paper for the masses?  How do you get into that field?  Are there professional associations to network into?  Do you live in LA?  What are the business sides of the film business that are in demand?  Identify the bread and butter industries for your region and find out how to get into those industries before you get locked into a career path.  Try it for a few years and learn everything about the business.  If you fail to get ahead, you can always go to law school in a few years. 

If money isn't important and you want to help people, work at a nonprofit and actually help more people than you would as a debt impoverished attorney.

Also, I would recommend night law school to anyone over regular law school.  If you just absolutely have to go to law school, get a job in that city first and then apply to go at night so you get income and experience and can take the best job you get upon graduating, not the first job offered.  Night law is a great option and is largely exempt from my critiques of law school.

Finally, I would recommend traditional law school if you get into a fantastic school like Harvard or Stanford or something like that.  Then, it's still a strong bet.  BUT, anything short of that and I would recommend what I'm telling you here.




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Pre-Law in high school / Re: DO NOT GO TO LAW SCHOOL!!!
« on: July 12, 2012, 06:42:13 PM »
I appreciate the sane replies. 

I will add though that I am very, very fortunate to live in a low regulation, low tax state where the unemployment rate is nowhere near what it is elsewhere (hint: it has about 32 electoral votes and shares a border with Mexico).  My opportunities would not have been available in new england or california.  AND I didnt have high student loans.  I think in-state tuition at my state school is now double what it was when I went.  That's pretty brutal.  I would really advise people to find a good business outside the law and volunteer somewhere if they want to help people, or just work for a non-profit if making money is not a huge necessity.

On the other hand, the job market will indeed pick up in ten or fifteen years when the boomers retire as another poster mentioned.  But, who can wait so long?  Also, boomers will be retiring from every industry, not just law.

I still advise against the law to young people in high school planning their careers. 

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Pre-Law in high school / Re: DO NOT GO TO LAW SCHOOL!!!
« on: July 11, 2012, 08:24:09 PM »
So here's an update.  Several months after posting that, I was in a doc review hell job and an opportunity came up in a field where they hire lawyers but the job is a non-lawyer job.  I took the job, did really well in it and had a couple pretty good years learning the ropes.  Then I figured the business out a bit more and have been making solid six figures for the last three years in a low cost big city.  I could pay off my loans this second if I wanted to but they are pretty much wiped out for the most part. 

If I wanted to, I could go to a law firm specializing in my industry, but I really enjoy being out of the law and the people I meet are great.  The non-law career is about the same general pay, but being in business generally has a better long term upside than being a businessman's lawyer does.

I guess the point is, the law degree did ultimately kick in a start becoming useful, but that was a really rough time.  The market was really bad in 2007 and it's like 50 times worse now.  I can't say I'd recommend going to law school in this climate unless law is the family business, you get into an ivy or you are just the best test taker ever.  I really feel bad for the kids graduating into this *&^% storm with no jobs and debt coming out if their ears.  We need a pro-growth president ASAP. That's the biggest moral issue of our time in my opinion.  Too much bad policies have created a *&^% storm for young adults just trying to start their lives.  As much as I like Obama, he's got to be replaced by someone who understands economics.  End political rant.

Also, to clear up a misperception, I NEVER had originally wanted to go to big law and I did want to help people.  Now I just make good money and enjoy my life in a relatively stress free job.  I do occasionally help people with legal advice, career advice or with something totally random. 

I think I'll go outside and sit by the pool.

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Pre-Law in high school / Re: corporate law
« on: October 09, 2007, 03:03:10 AM »
Bad advice above.  If you want to do corporate law then that is what obviously interests you.  You should try to do some kind of a business major that you find interesting.  Then if you decide not to go to law school or take time off then you can do work that interests you in the corporate world.  Don't rely on the law degree to get what you want. 

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Pre-Law in high school / Re: DO NOT GO TO LAW SCHOOL!!!
« on: October 09, 2007, 02:56:26 AM »
It's really not that ridiculous.  Virtually everyone not yet in law school or in their 1st year wants to do "something meaningful" to help people when they become a lawyer.  I know I did.  Law school beats that out of you.  Most of my friends are not happy with their jobs as attorneys.  There are exceptions, but the majority don't like what they do everyday and just see it as a paycheck.  I remember I rolled my eyes during one of my 1L professor's presentation on why lawyers become alcoholics at a substantially higher rate than other professions.  Now I understand.  I personally don't drink much but I can understand why the profession churns out so many alkies and divorces. 

Most attorneys will tell you not to go to law school unless it is truly what you want to do.  I know I didn't pay that any attention when I heard it myself, but I would really impress upon high school students to not rely on going to law school.  Have a back-up plan.  Fully explore your career options in undergrad.  Don't get a degree in liberal arts that practically forces you to go to law school to increase your earning potential.       


 

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Pre-Law in high school / DO NOT GO TO LAW SCHOOL!!!
« on: October 09, 2007, 02:21:32 AM »
This is a public service announcement.  Do not go to law school.  Scratch it off your list.  The reason I am posting here is because high school students are really the right age to get this message across to.

Here's a little background about me.  I was always one of the smartest kids in my high school and did all the things I needed to do to get into law school.  I got a 161 on my LSAT which is the top 14% of test-takers.  It isn't an earth-shattering score, but it is definately respectable.  I got into a state school that was first tier when I applied to it but has since slipped out of the top.  I really thought that I wanted to be a lawyer to make courtroom arguments and because the profession would be a great career that would be financially rewarding.  So, I got your typical liberal arts degree from my big state school and went to law school right after college.  I was full of ideals. 

However, the realities of the legal profession will beat all of your ideals out of you by the time law school is over.  After three years of incurring debt and wanting to finally get a house and start a family or at least be able to impress potential girlfriends, you will want a job that PAYS.  Unfortunately, there are so many law schools it's ridiculous.  For every job that you apply to, there will be over 100 people competing for the same slot.  And, there aren't that many jobs out there now to begin with.  It is a really tight market and it will be 1,000 times worse by the time the current crop of high school kids get their JD's.  No matter how good you are, it will be impossible to distinguish yourself from the competition.  You will keep compromising your goals until you just want a job to pay the bills and get something close to the lifestyle you envisioned when you started law school.       

You might think "well, I'll just study hard and beat out the competition."  Wrong.  Law schools curve their grades which means that only 5 out of 90 people in a class can get an A.  It doesn't matter if 40% of the class wrote brilliant essays that were each A quality work.  Your work will be arbitrarily differentiated so that 5 people get As, 5 people get Ds, and 80 people get between a B plus and C minus.  That is really hard to take when you were the smartest person everywhere you went before law school and your grades do not reflect the work you put into studying.  Oh yeah, and you will be competing with at least one retired neurosurgeon who got bored with brain surgery, drives a lexus, and decided to go to law school for kicks.  Additionally, many law firms and big companies are outsourcing legal work to India where the "attorneys" are not licensed and they make 7 to 16K a year.  The profession is no longer respected.  It's just a business that is affected by the same bean counting crap that affects all businesses.   

After getting through law school, you will have to take the bar which is only offered twice a year and it takes them 5 months to grade that mo-fo.  I fortunately aced the bar in my first try, but it is still an incredibly stressful time where you are looking for attorney work without actually knowing if you will be an attorney. 

As a second year attorney, some of my friends who went to business school in undergrad are making much more money than me and they've been working longer.  I would advise not to go to law school but just go to business school in undergrad.  Law school is a complete waste of your time.  Work after college, find something you enjoy that can be lucrative, and then possibly go to some other grad school if you feel it can actually increase your earning potential or if your employer will pay for it.   

You should only go to law school if you get into a true ivy league law school where employment is guaranteed, or if you scored incredibly high on your LSAT (170+) and can guarantee that you will be in the top 5 to 10 percent of your class because you are a prodigy.  Then, you must be willing to work like a female dog (not my original term, but was edited by the web site) to earn your $160k a year starting salary (70 hour work weeks).

I wish someone had told me this when I was a high school senior.  My life would be totally different.             

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