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Messages - vuarnet

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General Off-Topic Board / Re: Should I go to law school?
« on: May 22, 2013, 04:44:47 PM »
Thanks for qualifying your lack of sarcasm :) and I would say your second representation of what lawyers "do" is probably more descriptive than your first... but perhaps that's just my interpretation. To an extent, all service-oriented professionals serve (or represent) a client. I do that in my current occupation, but I am not an attorney.

If I was forced to define what lawyers "do" I would probably end on the classic answer of "it depends". On what? The discipline of law you plan to practice. And ideally (depending on time, which I am somehow always short on...) include an example or two. Just like not all engineers use CAD and create schematics -- some advise design teams on what is feasible from an engineering standpoint for manufacture or service delivery and they may never directly engineer at all. Our general counsel does that. He advises us what we can and can't do, and rarely creates anything on our behalf (such as a service agreement) -- he mostly just documents his recommendations and their legal substantiations in order to make his recommendations defensible. Meanwhile, friends of mine who are attorneys spend their time buried in paperwork, research or else living from courtroom to courtroom. So, in sum, it depends.

But yes, you are correct -- I did originate the concept that perhaps you were being sarcastic. Much like I hope that a dangerously reckless driver is drunk in hopes that his/her wanton disregard for human life is not 24/7 status quo but instead the product of alcohol and an isolated event (overall reduction in risk exposure). Often I wish people *were* sarcastic, because it would offer an excuse for their otherwise poor reasoning and restore some fraction of my faith in humanity (yes, some sarcasm there...).

Your answer did not convey (in my opinion) an understanding of the intent behind asking the question to begin with. I don't want to speak for IrrX, but it would appear to me that s/he asked the question to hopefully guard against the increasingly myopic tendencies of many law school students and hopefuls. And to instead elicit some forethought into the post-law-school workload (ask yourself -- What would I be doing everyday? Would I like that? Would I like it enough to want to spend 80+ hours a week doing it? Is it worth sacrificing my hobbies or even family time? What would my long-term career path be? How would a law degree catalyze that or not?) All of those questions are questions that hopefully you've already asked yourself.

It's unfortunate, but many people today have an entitlement mentality. They think A-->Z (where "A" is go to law school and "Z" is get rich). And forget to include the hard work and sacrifice it takes to make it through the necessary steps of B through Y (where "B" is go insanely into debt, "C" is work like I'm insanely in debt [oh wait!] ... etc ... intro to formal logic, right?).

Finally, please don't misconstrue my generalizations about the naivete of *many* (e.g. "not all") students as an assertion that they necessarily apply to you. Simply those who feel a sense of personal responsibility to help guide others to help them make good decisions often try to help them think of the less favorable aspects of a decision, in order to better help them weigh the pros and cons.

In the end, it's all your decision. Regardless of your choice, I wish you the best of hard work (there is no luck!), commitment and sacrifice. And above all, the courage to make the difficult choices to succeed in whatever way you define it. (And there is not a hint of sarcasm in that! :))

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General Off-Topic Board / Re: Should I go to law school?
« on: April 11, 2013, 02:45:44 PM »
1) Can you explain to me what lawyers do?

1) Lawyers practice law.


This brief response conveyed far more than I'm sure even you wanted it to. Don't go to law school.

As a prospective student, I see the same thing you do here... that's like saying "engineer's engineer". I'm hoping this is yet another case of mistaken sarcasm, as I've already fell victim to once today. And, as well all know, sarcasm on the Interwebs is a piece of cake to detect :P

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Meanwhile, I put stock in my contrarian perspective. With all of this terrific rhetoric of dismal job prospects and oversaturation and hyper-competition (overblown if you ask me, ALL jobs are competitive), my thought is that a decrease in law school graduates in the next couple years will create a relative stagnation / deficiency that will work well for my timing (applying this year, to graduate about 4 years from now).

Just in time for me to hit the market.

"When there is blood on the street, buy real estate."
Do you seriously think your situation is going to be so rosy?   If you think there will be a shortage of attorneys, you are just being intentionally naive.

Oh heck no! I am fully aware that I'm walking into the lion's den.

I didn't intend to imply that there was going to be a shortage of attorneys, I just don't believe the doomsday speak is unique to law. And I also don't believe that's a good enough reason to not pursue law as a career if you're sufficiently motivated. I do, however, expect that the surplus will thin by 2017/8, and that's at least a marginal advantage over current conditions.

To clarify, my prior post was, since it was apparently not obvious, with tongue firmly planted in-cheek :). To me, a contrarian perspective is motivating and encouraging, not discouraging. If it doesn't recover and instead worsens, and I have to spend some time underemployed, I will do the same as any self-respecting human would do -- do whatever it takes to survive. But that's a risk I am comfortable taking. Risk nothing, gain nothing.

I appreciate you taking the time to share those numbers. If applicant numbers continue to drop without a corresponding drop in admissions, your may well be right that we could see a decline in the quality of law school graduates over the next few years. The indicator would be if law schools are lowering their admission criteria or not, and I don't have a clue about that one.

Hopefully, an alternative speculation might be that the (now foreseeable and formidable) challenge of finding a job in a more competitive market has discouraged some of the fair-weather law school applicants from pursuing it as career and the real quality of graduates won't decrease, but maybe even increase. Whether that's the case or not, your guess is probably better than mine.

I'm new here, so next time I intend on making a joke over the interwebs, I'll remember to use emoticons to give said joke emotional context. :P

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Meanwhile, I put stock in my contrarian perspective. With all of this terrific rhetoric of dismal job prospects and oversaturation and hyper-competition (overblown if you ask me, ALL jobs are competitive), my thought is that a decrease in law school graduates in the next couple years will create a relative stagnation / deficiency that will work well for my timing (applying this year, to graduate about 4 years from now).

Just in time for me to hit the market.

"When there is blood on the street, buy real estate."

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My question is fairly straightforward. In terms of my letters of recommendation having maximum impact, should I include one from my professional history and one from academic? I am confident I can meet with a past professor or two and get one to write a good letter (I think I was a memorable student in these classes... but it WAS 4 or more years ago).

I also know I can get one or more excellent LOR from professional sources.

What are your experiences with a significant time (4-5 yrs) post-grad on academic LOR?

Thanks in advance!

/vuarnet

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