Law School Discussion

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Messages - if it pleases the court

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1
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Advice
« on: May 17, 2013, 03:27:59 AM »
Hi. I believe that you're thinking about this all wrong. Law school is very unlike college. There are many bloggers that will probably disagree with what I am about to write, and that's okay, but it will be the truth. There is no such thing as being confined to the midwest when it comes to the practice of law. Also, by the end of law school, you're going to follow your dreams because you'll be broke and single, everyone will want a piece of you because you're a new lawyer, and you'll have nothing really to loose. If it is international law you want, then it is international law you'll find. A lawyer is kind of like a preacher and law school a seminary. A preacher can go preach anywhere and the preacher will usually go where he or she can preach to the most people. The same is true with law albeit that you must get barred in the state you practice. If you want to emphasize litigation or real-estate, then you'll be doing that no matter where you went to law school. The truth is, and this is the cheesy part, law professors cannot teach you to be a good litigator or a real estate attorney, because if that's what you want to do, then it will come naturally. Yes, you're still going to have to learn the black letter law. Thus, it really doesn't matter where you go to law school. There are probably those typing away right now saying, "Yes it does because you eventually get a job in the region or state or city that you went to law school!" That's not true. You can go to any state and if you are passionate and competent then it really won't matter where you went to law school. My advice to you is relax and take a few deep breathes. Then carefully study each of your choices web sites looking for what you interests you. By the end of law school, you'll find that key to not abrogating from your destiny is to be happy with where life takes you. 

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"Well, what do you want to be? If you want to be a prosecutor - of course go to law school! If you do not know exactly what you want to be and just think you want to be a lawyer -- well, what kind of lawyer? Do you know what most lawyers do? Do you know that most lawyers hate what they do? Do you know what the salary ranges are? My point isn't to discourage, but I do want people to think more carefully about their choices. If you want to, f/e, be a "corporate lawyer", well ok, but I find most people who want to be that (a) don't know corporate lawyers work 90+ hrs/week and have high levels of drug and alcohol abuse and above avg rates of depression and suicide, and (b) how difficult those big corporate jobs are to get in the first place. If you go to Pace, you will not get a corporate job. So if that is your be all and end all, you should probably not accrue debt by going to that school. There are only so many jobs for so many people. With 40,000 graduates per year competing for 10,000 openings, your chances are not that great. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it -- if it is your passion and if you are sure about your prospects and the reality of being an attorney. But far too many of my friends and acquaintances find themselves unemployed or underemployed -- and they went to schools far better than Charlotte or Pace."

There is a saying that any law you think you would like to practice going into law school is not the same kind of law that you will want to practice coming out of law school. I know you are not trying to discourage people, but you should except that they have made a decision and you cannot convince them otherwise. Pace is a good law school so I don't know why you think there are no corporate jobs available to their graduates. There are other jobs available outside the country so that statistic only tells some of the data. I hope your friends do well in 2012.

"Its not a little secret to me, my family began poor. I am first generation in North America. My father was however, exceptionally good in math and very entrepeneurial. He was able to turn that into a lucrative career. I am not as smart as he is, I will likely not make his income. That is just life, and genetics. "Most" people in law school are not in T1. Most are also taking on student loans. Most are competing for 10,000 jobs per year in a market where 40,000 JDs graduate per year. It is most certainly not B.A. + J.D. = Profit."

I am happy that you have good genetics. So do I. I believe that if you are competitive then someone will offer you a job - it might be abroad. Lawyers are problem solvers and will figure it out. There is always the option to rent a small office and handle simple things like traffic tickets until something better comes along.

"Do you think they are any less disappointed when their son or daughter has no job and $150,000+ in debt he/she must pay off but can't? Do you think they are any less disappointed when son or daughter is doing doc review for pittance? Second, what is wrong with being a plumber? It is a fine profession, we need plumbers and mechanics, etc. And, to boot, many plumbers and mechanics make more money than lawyers and work fewer hours. No family wants to see their college grad become a handyman? Sure, they'd prefer to see their son/daughter get a very lucrative and presitgious job -- but only a minority get those jobs (and the minority that does ends up extremely disappointed with it). To make a huge financial decision, one that will impact yourself and your family, based on perceived 'prestige' or on hope, is a dangerous game."

No, I don't. I think lawyers are problem solvers and will be able to figure out a way to pay down their loans. Family members understand that law school is very expensive. There is nothing wrong with being a plumber. I wish a plumber was here right now. Being a lawyer is a very lucrative and prestigious job.

"Some attorneys have the ability to make more -- some, not all, only some. Many make less. You also need to look at the per hour salary one takes home. An attorney working at a big corporate firm makes $160K to start (in NY and DC). But he/she works 90+ hrs per week and has no vacation (vacation exists in theory only). A public school teacher on Long Island or Westchester, if he/she worked those hours and had next to no vacation days off, would also make that kind of salary, if not higher. For that matter, plenty of plumbers, if they worked such hours, would be in six figure salary range. Most lawyers of course do not work at big firms, or make $160K to start, but in the private sector (public, which I am in is different thankfully), most salaries outside the big firms range from $35,000-60,000, but even then attorneys are working more than 40 hrs per week -- maybe not 90hrs -- but still more than 40, 45. So really, are most attorneys better off than a good mechanic, handyman, or public school teacher? Doesn't look like it."

Actually, they are. Plumbers want to get the job done, go home, and not worry about solving legal problems. Here is what you do not grasp: people who have spent years of their lives earning a four year degree have earned a rightful place in law school. They are seeking a future that includes solving more important problems than the ones a plumber solves. That is what makes them happy. Why can't you understand that it is not all dollars and cents? It is about doing what you enjoy.

"You are conflating possibility for probability. Yes, in law it is possible that any client that walks in off the street could be the client whose fee is so large you can retire after the case -- but how probable is it? How probable is it that it will happen to you? One may as well spend $150,000 on lotto tickets because, after all, it is possible you can win and be a millionaire over night."

I have merely stated a fact and you have ran away with it. How probable is it? It depends on how good of a lawyer you are. Even if you are lucky enough to have such a client, there is no doubt that months of preparation will go into preparing for such a case.

In conclusion, I have enjoyed blogging with you, B212bb. I am getting busy with school as I am sure you are. This is going to be my last post in 2011. I wish you and everyone else the best of luck in school or at work, especially bigs5068. See you in 2012 assuming the world does not end!

Happy Holidays.

Sincerely,

If It Pleases The Court

3
To B212bb:

I have a liberal arts degree, but I don't want to be a plumber. If I wanted to be a plumber I would not have gone to college in the first place. I think most people would agree that there would be no point.

It sounds like you are a competent person from a good family so I will let you in on a little secret, your affluent parents were not always affluent. At one point, someone in your family stopped raising chickens and started reading law books. That is what most people are doing in law school: making a transition.

You and I hear the about policy arguments every day. Have you thought about the disappointment that entire families would experience if their law student called them to say they want to be a plumber? I think that is what I see many people encouraging students to do, especially if they attend tier 3 or 4 law schools. I think that is unreasonable insensitive to others. No family wants to see their college graduate become a plumber or handyman.

In fact, law school is all about putting down tools such as plunger and replacing it with your brain. You can't attach a monetary amount to an accomplishment such as that unless you have never sat down with family members who are plumbers and carpenters and thought about what it must be like for them each day.

Generally, college graduates are not wired to be plumbers or carpenters or mechanics anymore. A career as an attorney is far better than that of a plumber because attorneys have the ability to make more money and have social status. In law, any client that walks in off the street could be the client whose fee is so large you can retire after the case.

4
I will hang a shingle if that is what is takes to survive. It is extremely rude of you to come to a law students forum and try to discourage others from attending law school. A career in law is very realistic way to make a living. There are obviously lawyers who are not happy with job market. There are doctors, professors, engineers, accountants and business executives who are also not happy with the job market. Your message has always been that its better to take a four year degree into a bad job market, instead a taking a JD (unless it is from a T20) into an equally bad job market because there is an extra burden of repaying student loans. I disagree with you and I have plenty of real world business experience, statistics, and instinct to support my answer. The JD degree is by far the better option, and I am not going to simply sit back and watch you "warn" others from continuing their education. It is time for you to make a positive contribution to society, starting with how you interact with the law students in this forum. I want to see you encouraging others to succeed in earning their JD's, as well as sharing with us the optimism you have for your own career outlook. If you do these things then good things will happen in your career. If you do not, then I feel sorry for you because your negativity and anger has made you inconsolable.

5
Maybe the OP did not go to either. I am starting to get troubled by all these posts that seem to tell everyone that they will not be a successful attorney because of the school they attend or the lack of jobs available. I think whoever posts messages such as these demonstrates a very real problem with legal education and that is the negative attitudes of some of the students. The OP was asking for your help in deciding between the schools in a subsection called "Where should I go next fall?" and was not given the benefit of the assumption that he or she has done the research needed to make the very important decision to attend law school. In fact, the OP is being offer scholarships by both schools so that should hint that they might have what it takes. The bottemline is that it is extremely disrespectful to the OP to reply that they should not go at all in a public thread attached to their question no less. That is not what they asked. If the question was "Charlotte, Pace, or do not attend law school?", then that answer to not go becomes an appropriate answer.

Discouraging others from attending law school will not help anyones cause or careers. There are no shortcuts. I am enjoying law school thus far because I feel multiple times smarter and more confident everyday. I am not bringing in my liberal arts degree into a human resources office each day,  nor am I straining my family's important business relations in order to find some minimum wage, temporary office position. Instead, I use the law school career center to help me network and meet the real top lawyers and judges in my area who will have an Honest-to-God entry level associate attorney position available for me to apply for in good faith as soon as the ink on my diploma has dryed. If worst comes to worse, I will "Hang a shingle".

My advice to the OP is to attend Pace.

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General Board / Re: JD / CPA? Would there be any point?
« on: September 27, 2011, 10:18:01 PM »
There is no reason for you to take the CPA exam. Second, any experience gained as a tax attorney is not the same as experience gained as a CPA. You have answered a very special calling to attend law school, therefore it is not in your best interest to mix apples and oranges at this critical time.  CPA's are completely different from lawyers, including tax lawyers. You are not passionate about a career as a CPA, so you should not take the CPA exam.

7
Pre-Law in high school / Re: What should I major in?
« on: August 12, 2011, 11:29:51 PM »
I recommend majoring in philosophy. If there is something else that you would rather major in, then I would do that but I would at least minor in philosophy. Philosophy majors have a modest understanding of legal concepts such as logic, reasoning, ethics, and critical thinking. These concepts are very important when answering questions on law school exams.

8
General Board / Re: open your own practice
« on: August 06, 2011, 07:39:19 PM »
I think opening your own practice right out of law school can work only if your loans are minimal. Ideally, you will have under 30 thousands dollars in debt by the time you take the oath of an attorney. That is assuming a 90% scholarship in undergrad, and a 75-80% scholarship in law school, as well as parents who have helped you along the way and money saved from jobs that you worked. Say, just for arguments sake, that someone has 27 thousand dollars of debt the day that they are sworn in as an attorney. Well, if you had a 75-80% scholarship in law school, then you were also most likely to be in the 80th percentile (or top 20%) of your class and would have entry level positions at the DA/ADA open to you.

PROS:
If your loans are anywhere near 30 thousand dollars, then you might be able to start your own firm because you are not overwhelmed by loans. You can take your time and gradually grow into an experienced attorney by taking new cases, buying leads, networking, and creating a favorable public image. You might even make as much as an entry level PD/ADA (somewhere in the neighborhood of $38,500) but you will work at your own pace. That is certainly the upside of opening your own practice right out of law school for those fortunate enough not to have big loans of 70 thousand dollars or more.

CONS:
Now here is the bad news. If you decide to open your own law practice right out of law school then you will give up a competitive position that you rightfully earned. That is a real negative because if you ever apply anywhere, then your odds of getting the job are decreased because employers are looking for lawyers to start fresh. If you have been practicing for a few years on your own, the DA/ADA entry level positions that you would have been offered will be offered to someone else who has just graduated. Worst yet, the attorneys that graduated at the same time as you and took the entry level positions are now a pay grade or two better than when they started. They have insurance, pro bono hours, a reputation, have networked with the other attorneys, completed verifiable work under an experienced attorney, worked as part of a team, gained experience, and have found their nitche in the legal world.

If opening your own practice is your plan, then you should understand that getting a job from an employer will be less likely if you ever decide to apply. If you are sure that you do not ever want to work under an attorney, or be part of a team, then opening a practice right out of law school is definitly the way to go, but to others it may look as though you have character flaws that make you unmarketable in the legal world to employers and important clients. If you do not have large amounts of debt and do not want to be challenged everyday, then opening your own practice is something to be considered as long as you are aware of the consequences. Therefore, although it is an option for some, I strongly recommend starting out working under another attorney if only for a few years.

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Where should I go next fall? / Re: this sucks..Yale vs. NYU full ride
« on: August 06, 2011, 04:12:53 PM »
I guess smart people have clever problems because I don't know. I was going to say NYU, but it is difficult to tell someone not to go to Yale.

Final answer: YALE

10
Where should I go next fall? / Re: What law schools should I apply to?
« on: August 05, 2011, 02:38:16 PM »
The top law schools in your region are University of Michigan, Norte Dame, and Loyola. If you really want me to pick one for you, then I say Loyola. Being an international female student will help you get into law school. Good luck!

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