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Messages - Hamilton

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Law School Admissions / Re: Should I apply for Law schools with 155 on LSAT?
« on: September 08, 2010, 05:09:07 AM »
Agree.  If you are not going to be THE lawyer, you will be the guy who has a law degree and knows "something" about these things, but the "lawyers" will be making the decisions and running the show.  The "lawyers" don't want non-lawyers meddling in their business.  I am a lawyer - but within the organization of my company I am not a lawyer working for our legal department - so I am not a lawyer and am not authorized to be involved in legal matters.

There might be a niche, but the reality is that you should go to law school if you want to be a lawyer and no other reason. You should go to medical school to be a doctor and to the police academy if you want to be a cop. I hear people at my school say I know I am not going to have a traditonal legal career and I don't want to be a lawyer and I want to say why the hell are you spending 100k then. Law is more broad and has applications in numerous fields, but in reality it is not worth the time and expense to just understand one nuance of the law better in some minor aspect of your career. Again, I am sure there is someone that made a career out of knowing some nuance along with another technical skill, but that is probably not the general case. So bottom line go to law school if you want to be a lawyer and for no other reason.

Law School Admissions / Re: Should I apply for Law schools with 155 on LSAT?
« on: September 07, 2010, 11:08:51 AM »
Sounds very similar to my position when I did it - I would advise that you step back and have a concrete idea as to HOW SPECIFICALLY having a JD will help you advance.  If you can't nail one down, think twice about doing it... will it be nice to have or is there DEFINITELY a benefit to have it?  In the end after I passed the bar, I decided that I was not going to take a step back salary-wise and practice law, the JD did not result in a direct tangible career benefit (although it adds some gravitas - but that does not mean $$) - so the question was why do it?  I had scholarships and tuition reimbursement through work, so my out-of-pocket was negligible - but the time can never be recouped.

My $0.02, if you are not going to practice law and will pay full price for the JD, do not waste the time and money.  Get a MBA or a doctorate in your field if you want to enhance your education.

Don't get a JD as a gap-filler or resume-booster - either have a plan or burning desire to practice law, or think of better uses for your money.

As I am looking at options, I am concerned about the expense of school. Currently I live in the suburbs of DC and am looking at PT programs. Fortunately there are quite a few options, unfortunately many of them are very expensive. As it get closer to making a decision I will have to strongly consider the impact that the cost is going to have on me. I may be in a somewhat unusual position in that I am viewing a law degree as a means of helping me expand a little on my current career path instead of starting a different path. My current salary is in the low 100k range, and I suspect that when I wrap up my Masters and then (possibly) go on for the JD I should be able to move up from here. But I would like to keep the cost of this effort to as manageable of a level as I can.

Law School Admissions / Re: Should I apply for Law schools with 155 on LSAT?
« on: September 07, 2010, 07:55:39 AM »
It's not $100,000/yr and you may be hard pressed to find accurate statistics.  I recommend drilling down on the stats for the schools you will likely attend - I mean REALLY dig into the stats.  Yes, there are some who win the lottery and start out making very decent money, but like lottery winners, they are few and far between.  Don't be afraid to look at the stats (and your friend's situations) and ask yourself if it is worth it.

Ask yourself it it is your life passion to be a lawyer or whether it seems like the thing to do to make some good money.  If the latter, my answer is straightforward - dont do it.

Do you know what is the average salary a T2,3,4 grad attorney can make?  I know two people graduated from T3 law school, and couldn't find a job after they passed their BARs.  Now, they are working for Immigration law offices, and making believably low salaries, like 4,000 a month, I guess.

Do your homework and consider the time, cost, and liklihood of actually landing an attorney job. I am generally a voice against going to law school if it is not your burning passion, you are not getting good scholarships, and you are not going to a high ranked school.  Your situation may be different and you can do this on a lark - but school could end up costing well over $100K, and the job prospects are not great right now.  There are a lot of articles and blogs out there about the state of employment in the legal market.

Law School Admissions / Re: Im a splitter, I need help.
« on: September 03, 2010, 06:00:44 AM »
Might discuss the prospects of transfering with your top choices if they reject you.  With your LSAT and a 4.0 in another laws school, probably could transfer in just about anywhere - but you need to hear that from the school.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Master of Jurisprudence
« on: September 02, 2010, 09:14:36 AM »
YOU get it, a lot of people dont.  There are a lot of folks out there going to law school b/c it might be interesting or seems like the thing to do - those are the folks I am speaking to.  As I said before (stinkypants just wasn't cutting it as an alias) I am a T4 grad.  There are huge risks, lots of downside, and not great job prospects for the T3/4 grads - unfortunately some folks DONT get it, spend $100K on a JD, finish low in the class and are then basically screwed.  The law schools wont advise them to reconsider - heck, they keep building MORE law schools and need to fill the seats - thereby screwing more students.  You and I do not disagree - we all get it that thare are no promises in any field or that law school is not an easy ticket to work.  Unfortunately, that is the dream being sold by law schools and there are just folks out there lacking the maturity or appreciation to understand the down side.  I was there, one gets blinded by the prospects of being a law student and finishing law school - Looking back I wish I had quit after first term but I finished near the top of my class.

The troubles in the legal market are not only the result of a global recession - it is a bubble and the bubble has burst... just like tech stocks, just like real estate, just like financials, and just like gold soon will.

People of your ilk who go to a top 10 school and give advice to people like me or the OP on the risks of attending a tier 4 are basically out of line. I realize you would never have attended a tier 4, because you must have killed the LSAT. That is awesome and good for you, I imagine you probably killed the SAT as well. With the logic your using it would be like telling anyone that took the SAT and didn't get into at least some chump ivy league school like Brown for undergrad they should be relegated to McDonald's. That just won't work, I mean not everybody can or even does expect Big Law or Judicial clerkships when they go to law school. Those are not the only jobs available in fact the majority of legal jobs are not Big Law or Judicial clerkships PD's, DA's, small firms, mid-size firms, etc are the majority of people use. I realize Big Law etc were your expectations and you achieved them, which is awesome. Honestly, everybody who goes to a tier 3/4 or a no name undergrad, or no name dental school etc knows they are not going to Harvard. However, these schools are not awful horrendous place that people who have never set foot or even considered such a school like yourself make them out to be.

Current Law Students / Re: Character and Fitness
« on: September 02, 2010, 06:29:42 AM »
They will probably probe around a little more based on these, but unless the state rules provide that these will preclude bar admission, you should be good.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Master of Jurisprudence
« on: September 02, 2010, 05:40:08 AM »
I think we are in nearly 100% agreement - we just see it differently.  You think it is a worthwhile risk.  Having done it and looking back, I dont think it is for most (i.e. those paying full price, at a T3/4, not in the top 10% of their class, and not with a burning desire to be a lawyer).

Honestly, education is a risk, but a calculated one and unless you get a degree in religious studies or basket weaving there are jobs for any degree. However, jobs always have and always will be hard to find no matter what you do.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Master of Jurisprudence
« on: September 01, 2010, 04:32:48 PM »
Your "run of the mill" Masters degree is less expensive than a JD, so is a MBA.  Nobody says that anything in life is guaranteed, but right now law school is an even worse risk for many.  A JD is EXTRA debt with ZERO odd increase of finding work, perhaps WORSE odds if you focus the effort on working in law.  The recession will end - probably in 8 years or so (we have not seen the worst and it is not ending soon).  In the mean time loans need to get paid back - hard to do with no job.  I doubt the legal market will come back to the levels it was before the recession.

Would you pay twice as much for a lottery ticket if it did not have a bigger jackpot or better odds at winning?  Right now a JD is the same deal - pay extra for the degree with no improvement in odds or payout.

Yes the debt is an issue, but believe it or not it is a GLOBAL recession and jobs are and will always be hard to come by in any field. If you know of some degree that is free or dirt cheap and will guarantee me a sweet high paying job let me know.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Master of Jurisprudence
« on: September 01, 2010, 12:22:20 PM »
Thats great, if that is the dream, by all means go for it.  I do not know what your situation is, all I am saying is go in with all of the facts, think long and hard about where you are going to school, what your REAL job prospects are (do not rely on the law school's employment and salaty stats, they are pure BS), and how much debt you are going to take on.  As an example, a private Tier 3/4 will cost you at least $100K with no scholarships - you would have to be nuts to take on that debt right now in this job market.  Not wanting to be rich sounds good right now, but you need to be able to eat and pay bills (and student loans).  Believe it or not, you WILL want an improved lifestyle. 

I need a JD to practice law. It would be a nice to have a fancy degree and I agree it would make me more marketable but at the end of the day I need a legal education to get me where I want to be. I'm not interested in BIG Law or clerking. Besides being poor isn't really a new condition for me.

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