Law School Discussion

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Messages - MeganEW

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61
Non-Traditional Students / Re: Is law school possible at 62?
« on: September 15, 2010, 07:04:50 PM »
I'm going to have to ditto John, with one exception.  When my father first graduated from law school, he hung out a shingle and basically did freelance work for other firms in town.  In elder law, I imagine that might be possible for OP directly out of law school.  That would require neither being hired full time for a firm nor building a client base.  It wouldn't be easy, and it it could cost you more than you earn, but it's an option.

Roomdo - I know it's easy to feel flamed on a message board when you don't get the response you were hoping for.  However, I don't think you can dismiss John's advise so flippantly.

The advice I've gotten from attorneys of all types and ages, including those who love their jobs:
If law is your passion, and it's about the journey, not the destination, then yes, do it.  But if it's not, don't.  And that pretty much goes if you're 62 or 22.

62
Non-Traditional Students / Re: 37 and thinking about law school....
« on: September 13, 2010, 03:38:29 PM »
I'm sorry for your loss.  :(

I'm not sure law is going to get you where you want to be, though, from a quality of life perspective.  I'm a mere applicant as well, but I worked in support staff roles at an investment bank and a BigLaw firm.  Associates in BigLaw work hours similar to analysts for similar pay (though higher salary / lower bonus), only they have professional degrees.  BigLaw partners are typically the highest paid attorneys, and they often make less than directors at investment banks.
I know you're not interested in BigLaw.  I'm also the daughter of an attorney.  Highly respected by his peers, my father's salary topped out at $90k as Chief Deputy Prosecutor and $115k as a judge.  That's after 20+ years of practicing, though in a LCOL area.  His highest salary, though, is likely lower than you made your first year on Wall St.  He definitely was home more than the young associates in BigLaw, but he still regularly worked 10+ hour days (not to mention the work he'd do at home).
I imagine the salary for small law is somewhere in between my dad's and BigLaw.  Hopefully some attorneys in smaller firms can pop in with ballpark figures in terms of hours and pay.

Ultimately, I don't really see law as a high quality of life type of career.  I'm pursuing it because I'm a total law dork and want to make it official, but if I was smart, I'd stay in my current field.  I'm at a Fortune 500 retailer.  The pay is good, there's room for growth, and it is truly a 40 hr/week job, even at the director level.  With your experience, this would be a logical step for you.

Good luck! :)

63
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Deciding which route to take
« on: September 12, 2010, 08:50:26 AM »
From what I understand, public defender positions can be pretty difficult to get in certain locations.  If you have any friends who are attorneys in your area, try to get their perspective.  If you don't have any attorney friends, here is the list of public defenders in Santa Clara County:
http://www.sccgov.org/portal/site/opd/agencychp?path=%2Fv7%2FPublic%20Defender%2C%20Office%20of%20the%20%28DEP%29%2FOffice%20Locations%20and%20Staff%20Directories%2FPublic%20Defender%20Staff%20Directory
Since they don't list schools, go name-by-name and see if you can find any information on Linked In.  Look especially at the more recent graduates to get an idea of what school you would need to go to.

It looks like Lincoln School of Law is not ABA accredited, so I don't imagine it would be worth it.  I think Bigs is at GGU and seems to like it.  However, there are a lot of out-of-work lawyers right now.  I know you don't want to make a career out of it, but you should still look into what it will take to get a job in the region where you hope to work.

Good luck! :)

64
...
The truth is with CUNY's price tag it might be better to go there than Fordham or Brooklyn, where you will go 100,000 in debt and people will still select Columbia, NYU, Harvard, Yale grads over you. I really think unless you go to an ELITE school you should get out with as little debt as possible. People will say different things, but that is my view. The reality is there is no guarantee of a job if you go to law school or any type of schooling. 
...
There is some truth here, but there is a BIG difference from a recruiting standpoint between Fordham and Brooklyn, not to mention CUNY.  Yes, the T14 will be first in line, but mid-T1s still offer far more opportunities than the rest, particularly in the regions where the schools are located.  The top 10% (or more) of Fordham students end up at the same places as the top 50% of NYU students.  The same simply cannot be said for the lower tiers.  Employers do consider how prestigious a school is.  It sucks, but it's true.

Study like crazy and take the LSAT again.  If you still earn a score you're not crazy about but are still intent on law school, go to the best investment (balance the income you expect to get from said school vs. award package you receive / tuition), and network like crazy with the people in your niche industry. 

Good luck! :)

65
Studying for the LSAT / Re: Study advice needed for my situation
« on: September 01, 2010, 01:26:30 PM »
Although this can be a risky strategy since it may get you going through questions TOO fast and lead to sloppy mistakes, when I was studying I gave myself 30 minutes for each section instead of 35.  I did this because I knew I would lose time time during the real LSAT to anxiety or whatever else.    In addition, because I used this strategy during the real LSAT I was confident I could get through every section with time to spare to review my answers.  That said, most prep books do not recommend you study this way.  In my personal opinion, it worked for me so if you think it could work for you go ahead and give it a shot, just be aware of the risks.
I practiced using shorter sections as well!  What reasoning do the prep books have against it?
FTR, I did 1 point higher on the real LSAT than my average practice tests.  I've been telling everyone I know since I got my results to also practice with 32 minute sections instead of 35 to adjust for the whole time-moving-faster-on-test-day thing. :)

66
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Early Decision?
« on: August 29, 2010, 08:49:24 AM »
I'm at the same stage as you, so this is a little blind-leading-the-blind here, but I would say apply Early Decision to your first choice.  You seem to be basing your decision purely on rankings, which is a little silly to do within the top 5-10.  I worked as a support staffer at a V50 firm in NY, and they recruit heavily from all of the T14 schools.  If they recruit from Yale more heavily than Harvard, it's only because CT is that much closer to NYC not because Yale is 1 and Harvard is 2.  In fact, students from Columbia and NYU probably get to network more with them simply because of proximity.

So, figure out what your first choice is beyond who won the US News popularity contest this year.  That's just lazy.  If one criteria you have for a first choice is ranking, that's fine.  You've narrowed it down to 14 schools.  Now, where do you want to ultimately practice?  What do you want to do after law school?  In what type of student organizations do you want to participate?  Think hard about what you want so that when your top choice asks you why they're your top choice, you have something a little better than "you're prestigious and my numbers fit your admissions stats".

Now, as for Early Decision vs. not?  If you truly have a first choice, I think it is a good move.  Schools like to be flattered, and there is nothing more flattering than for someone to make a promise like the Early Decision contract.
I applied to undergrad ED, got in and also was offered a generous scholarship package.
However, in the interest of full disclosure, I have decided against Early Decision for law school, and here's why...
I currently live in the city of a mid-T1 law school, and my husband will be here for the next 5 years because of his medical residency.  My numbers are in the 75th percentile for this school.  However, this city only has 1 or 2 international law firms and a handful of regional firms.  I want to (a) practice in BigLaw, (b) practice in Chicago and (c) not accrue lots of debt from a school that makes it difficult to do (a) and (b).  So, instead, I'm going to apply early, see if and where I get in as well as if and what scholarship packages I receive before deciding my absolute first choice.

In short, consider your priorities and go from there.

67
Reviews, Visits, and Rankings / Re: MD/JD Program...thoughts?
« on: March 02, 2010, 10:22:31 AM »
I'm in a BS/DO program going to do UG. Take a leave of absence, do an accelerated JD probably at the University of Kansas (2 year program). Grab my DO, do a residency in ophtho or ortho. Then I may do health law as an attorney doing chart reviews/malpractice defense.
Ophtho and Ortho are both surgical specialties.  While I have a lot of respect for DOs and understand that many come to decide they would prefer a surgical specialty halfway through, I don't really understand why you would plan to get a Doctor of Osteopathy with the goal of doing a residency in one of two of the most competitive specialties that don't really even use much (if any) of the uniquely osteopathic practice.  Why are you not hoping to get an MD?  Or, why would you chose 5 years of residency over 3 when you ultimately just want to practice law?

As for the question in the OP...
Here's my background: I've been working at a BigLaw firm for the past few years and will apply to law school for Fall 2011.  My husband is a 4th year medical student.
Even though I haven't taken a science class since my junior year of high school, I know about the whole medical education part, and I am familiar with legal education because I spend a lot of time with lawyers.  MS3 and MS4 are totally different from MS1 and MS2, so I don't think it would be a big deal to split them up.  You would just need to take Step 1 before starting the law part and would need to brush up on the medical part before starting your medicine or pediatrics rotation.  Obviously if you want to practice medicine, you will need to do your residency as well.
Now, is it worth it?  I really doubt it.  Assuming you start right out of college and do a 3 year residency, you will be 31 when you finish with your training.  That's 6 years of accumulating student loan debt and 3 years of making ~$40k/year after college.  And what will you have gained?  Yeah, an MD/JD looks impressive because who's insane enough to get two professional degrees?  But I don't really see much benefit from either side.
Now, if you wanted to practice law and you have an interest in science, a masters or PhD in a science field is very useful for IP attorneys because they deal with a lot of patents and technical science terms.  But I don't really see much benefit in an MD/JD other than bragging rights.

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