Law School Discussion

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Messages - jack24

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1
Where should I go next fall? / Re: new law school
« on: May 10, 2013, 12:21:53 PM »
I don't think there's really enough information to help answer your question.

If you are talking about a new school in the University of California System or something, then it might be a great option.  If you are talking about a new school in the Thomas J. Cooley network, it might not be a great option.

I personally don't believe Law school adds much value, at least beyond the first year, independent of the degree.
If your goal is to be a licensed attorney, you should really start calling the state bar associations where you will likely apply.  If your goal is to use the law degree for a non-law purpose, I must respectfully dissuade you. 

That said, if it's basically free, the risk is low.

2
Find the state you want to practice law in and find the character and fitness standards.

Here's the pamphlet for New York, for example:  http://www.nylat.org/publications/brochures/documents/CharacterandFitnessBrochure09.pdf

Most law schools have standards comparable to the state bar, but the last thing you want is to get into law school and then get rejected by the bar.

Usually, if you are honest and you have several years of a clean record, drug use will not disqualify you.  Of course, you must find out from the specific law school and specific state bar you will be applying to.

3
Wait List / Re: Wait list Advice
« on: April 16, 2013, 11:49:24 AM »
You absolutely need to be proactive, but this really depends on the admissions people.   I had one buddy who just called them and told them, "I'm coming and I'm starting class on August 20, so I'd better have a seat."  It worked.

I do know that a passive approach won't get you anywhere.  Definitely go visit if it's not a huge trip.  Maybe call first if you are going to travel a long distance.


4
Have you retaken any classes to replace bad grades?  If so, does the 3.2 reflect the old and new grade, or just the new grade?

LSAC includes the old grades in the calculation.   I had a graduating GPA of 3.4, but once they added in the few classes I bombed (and later retook)  my freshman year, my gpa dropped to around 3.0 for application purposes.

So at this point it all depends on your LSAT.   I made it into a solid T2 school with a 3.0 and 160, and things aren't nearly as competitive now.

5

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

Sometimes I am oversensitive, so I may need a little extra help to see a joke.  I'm just in the thick of it.  I've been an attorney for two years and I have a decent job, but I'm trying to lateral now and the job market is killing me.  Every decent job (even some not-so-decent jobs) have an unbelievable amount of applications.   I talked to one attorney who posted a commission-only part-time gig and he said he had like 30 applications in the first three days after posting a craigslist ad. 

I guess my main point is that law school takes three years of your life and a lot of debt.  The only valid reason to go to law school is if you genuinely believe a lawyer job is right for you.  Money is a terrible reason.  The job market is just as bad as any job market, but the actual costs and opportunity costs are higher than most professions. 

I honestly believe that the median law graduate has about a 50% chance of his investment paying off and about at 20% chance that he'll enjoy his job as an attorney.

6
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."

Really?  Except, unfortunately, the legal industry isn't really adding that many jobs per year and very few lawyers are retiring.  It's possible that we'll see many more bow out in the 2020's, but not that many people went to law school 35-40 years ago.  Also, attorneys are working later in life.

Additionally, there are still 52,000 applicants to ABA law schools for fall of 2013.  http://www.lsac.org/lsacresources/data/three-year-volume.asp

Here are the number of ABA Applications per year since fall of 2008.  82,000, 85,600, 87,500, 78,800, 68,000 and currently 52,000 for 2013 (will still go up a bit)
Here are the admitted applicants numbers: 55,500, 58,400, 60,400, 55,800, 2013 TBD.
http://www.lsac.org/lsacresources/data/lsac-volume-summary.asp

It seems likely that the number of new lawyers in 2015 will drop, but not as significantly as the number of law school applicants.  The quality of lawyer will  go down substantially.

The legal industry is projected to add about 7,000 new jobs per year over the next decade.  http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/lawyers.htm

Based on some shoddy data, I estimate somewhere an average of about 20,000 attorneys were licensed per year from 1970-1980.  I can't prove it, but I'm almost certain there are less than 20,000 attorneys retiring each year.  Feel free to correct me.   
So with 27,000 open legal jobs each year, It's clear there will still be a surplus, even with the substantial dip in applications.

The NY Times projected a national surplus of 27,269 attorneys in 2009   http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/27/the-lawyer-surplus-state-by-state/   (Translation, we had 53,508 attorneys for only 26,239 open spots in 2009)

There is no way it was any better in 2010 or 2011, but 2012-2015 will be  better.   That said, you will be competing against tens of thousands of underemployed attorneys from the classes before you.   The legal market is currently over capacity, and attorney wages are dropping.   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.

7
General Off-Topic Board / Re: Should I go to law school?
« on: April 11, 2013, 11:44:23 AM »

2) Its difficult to give a short answer to this question. I will list few points and I can elaborate on them further if you'd like:

a. Opportunity to start my own business
b. Personal and professional growth
c. Opportunity to make more money
d. Its a new challenge

Regards,

Student79

While I think you definitely have a leg up on many who will apply to law school, this is concerning.

None of what you listed is unique to the legal field. 

An engineer in this economy getting a law degree so he can start his own business?  Sorry, I must respectfully dissuade you from going on with this twisted logic.   Law firms generate value by building up client bases.  Your revenue stream is based on billing and collecting.   In most cases, attorneys who start their own firms have to bill like crazy, and they don't ever really get a chance to run the business because they are too busy bringing in money.   If you are a gifted rainmaker, you can possible bring in enough to feed associates who will make money for you, but this usually doesn't happen until you have done a ton of legal work.   IN short, you should open a law firm if you love doing legal work, and it's a necessary side benefit that you love sales and management.

Personal and Professional Growth:  Well, okay.   But the law eats professional growth.  Lawyers don't generally cross industries because there are too many conflicts.  It can happen, but it will likely replace any prior accomplishments.

Opportunity to make more money:  Yes, there is an opportunity, but the economy is brutal now, so the median wages for attorneys continue to drop.   Gifted attorneys (who can sell) do end up making a lot of money in the long run, but the legal field is no guarantee.

It's a new challenge: Yeah, but it can be a miserable challenge.  Job satisfaction is terrible, the market is too competitive, and technology is shrinking demand for traditional lawyers. 

I'm not saying you shouldn't be a lawyer, but I personally believe your reasons are bad.

A lawyer is a hybrid Executive Assistant/Counselor/Negotiator/Professional Writer.    Yes, you can go to court and make oral arguments, but it's pretty rare.  PI attorneys have two or three trials a year.  Maybe less. 

I'd feel better if you said, "I love process management and administrative organization"  "I love reading statutes and explaining them" "I love strategizing and negotiating over several months against people who want to screw me" "I love to take dry and boring concepts and write about them in a way people can understand."

The law is like building a home.  You plan out the project, you comply with procedures, You test the soil, you modify the soil, you lay the foundation, you frame and add internal components, you add the roof, then you start to add comfort and cosmetics. 

Except in the law, you spend 90% of your time in the first few stages, and you rarely get to complete the house.   If someone who only loves interior design wants to be a general contractor, I'd tell them they should go into interior design. 

If you love management, go into management.  If you love marketing, go into marketing.  If you love mediation, go into mediation.
Too many students go into law because they think they will enjoy one potential component of the law, and then it turns out they hardly ever do what they like.


8

Sorry for being all over the map here, I'll talk Marine Corps all day.

No problem.  That is good information.   I would just submit that it's much harder to get a JAG position if you are in law school and have no prior relationship with the military.   I know one student from my school who landed a JAG position with the Army, but he managed to do ROTC while he was in law school.

9
General Off-Topic Board / Re: Should I go to law school?
« on: April 09, 2013, 06:59:30 PM »
Do you want to take the patent bar? 
Have you ever considered networking with attorneys to become an expert witness?

It seems like it's almost impossible to predict where you'll end up after law school.  The most predictable areas are Personal Injury, Family Law, Tax, and Patent.  In other words, if you try hard to get into one of those practice areas, you have a much better chance than if you wanted to do Mergers and Acquisitions or corporate litigation.

I think your background is cool, but many small firms won't care unless then need a patent attorney (which would require you to sit for the patent bar).   If you want to open your own firm, you need to consider how good you are at networking and selling, both of which are more important than your engineering background.

10
There is also the option of joining the military and being a JAG.  This is a great option that I think many on these forums overlook.  Some of my friends were JAGs and they liked their job.

Some of your friends were JAG?  How long ago?  Do you have any idea how hard it is to land a JAG gig now?   They get like 100 strong applicants for every position.

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