« on: July 29, 2003, 04:45:01 PM »
First of all, let me echo the sentiments above. If you don't absolutely love everything about law, don't go to law school. The law is not a sure-fire shortcut to big money. Most lawyers start out making 40-50k. While it is true that some graduates from some schools make more than graduates from others, the "top-14" mentality is a sham that is encouraged by... lets see... about 14 law schools. If you want a law degree that is portable, i.e. which will get you a job in any market in America, then you should go to a top-10 ish school. If you want to work in Boston, you are better off at BU than at Georgetown or GWU, even though both are "ranked" higher. If you want a job in in L.A., you are better off going to USC or UCLA rather than Duke, for the same reason, so figure out where you want to live before you try to figure out where you want to go to school.
I was just like you a year ago when I was trying to figure out where to go (currently starting 2L at BUSL). I was obsessed with rankings, and attending a top-14 school. I certainly agree that the USNEWS rankings are the only ones that matter to the public at large, but I don't think lawyers and recruiters care at all what a school is ranked. Every market will prefer certain schools over other schools, and that's why determining which market you want to live in is so important. If you don't know, and don't get into a "national" school, just make sure you are ok with spending the rest of your life in the city where you attend law school. I decided that I wanted to live in Boston, and even though I was accepted into Georgetown and GWU, I came to BU.
AGAIN: If you aren't absolutely sure you want to be a lawyer (regardless of whether you make 40k or 140k), then get your MBA or skip grad school altogether. Law school is a MISERABLE experience if you don't enjoy studying the law. The hours are very long, the material very difficult, and every student (and I mean EVERY student) is eventually humiliated by a professor in front of 100 of his section-mates. The pressure to make law review and journals is intense, as is the pressure to get good grades, and every single person here is brilliant and qualified, so don't think that YOU are a shoe-in. Finding and keeping a high-paying job gets more difficult every year as law school continue to saturate the market with newly minted JDs.
And don't forget to consider the massive debt you have to incur to attend most good law schools. What if you graduate and take a BIGLAW job that pays six figures only to discover that you HATE IT? You won't be able to quit, and in 20 years you'll wonder where your life went.
Sorry to be so negative, but people need to be prepared for the rigors of law school and life after law school. I absolutely love law school, but it is not a glamorous life, and I would recommend to most people that they find some other way to spend 3 years of thier lives.