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Messages - FalconJimmy

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Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: Wayne State: Worth it?
« on: March 31, 2011, 05:56:29 AM »
Good call.  I forgot that Wayne's classes are so large.  So, yeah, 3-5 applicants sounds good, but that's going to end up being the top 1.5% - 2%.  I see what you mean:  the folks likely to do that well probably didn't appear out of thin air and probably had a great academic background, anyway.  So, U of M doesn't gamble much by admitting them.

The implications are pretty profound, though.  Not only do they get one more U of M grad, who is likely to be very successful, AND who pays sticker price for two years, but they deprive other schools of their top grads.  So, that guy who would have had a really good law career as a Wayne State grad will now go on to have a really good law career as a U of M grad.  This makes U of M's alumni network stronger and Wayne State's alumni network weaker.

Really, the name of the game is that U of M wants graduates who inspire people to think of "top law school".  It makes it all the harder for Wayne State to get people to think "top law school" if so many of the people who would have made the best alums end up going to a different school.

Minority and Non-Traditional Law Students / Re: Law School at 52
« on: March 31, 2011, 05:39:52 AM »
Employers are not going to be crazy about that.

True, but there are two factors that come in to play, here.

First, age discrimination is illegal.  Granted, some of the private sector employees will skirt that just by finding other reasons not to hire you.  However, governmental agencies are closely regulated and scrutinized and are ripe for an age discrimination lawsuit if they hire a lesser-qualified young person over a better-qualified oldster.

Second, you can always hang out a shingle and some clients prefer dealing with somebody with a few gray hairs on their head.  Ironically, the hard-charging young person who is 27 and is making bank as a biglaw associate is likely to make less of an impression than a mid-50s attorney with comparable experience in a lot of situations because real-world clients seldom ask for your class-rank or GPA, but they know a person who appears experienced and competent.

Job Search / Re: Military after Law School
« on: March 31, 2011, 05:29:56 AM »
What are the best options for military service after law school?

If you want to be an attorney in the military, your only real option is JAG. 

The other option would be some sort of logistics officer and do defense contracting (the "buy a $600 hammer" guys).  You don't need to be an attorney to do that, but a law background wouldn't hurt.  You can also get a job with the DOD as a civilian to do this.

You could also decide you want a multi-year vacation from the law and go fly jets or get your grunt on in the infantry.  I once knew a Notre Dame law grad who enlisted in military intelligence to get student loan forgiveness.  He didn't last long.  Pursued a JAG commission once he realized what enlisted life was like.

As far as I know, you can be an Army JAG as either a member of the reserves or national guard. 

Navy Reserve, I know they don't bring in civilian attorneys for commissioned duty as reserve JAGs, generally.  (No direct commission program for JAG in the Navy.)

Right now, competition for JAG positions is pretty fierce.  I wouldn't rank it anywhere near biglaw, but it's probably on par with trying to get a position with the federal government as an attorney.

For example:  "The Navy received 923 applications for the 2009 fiscal year, Goldsmith said, and accepted about 75. Slightly more than 8% of the applicants made the cut"

As far as I know, there are no signing bonuses for JAG.  I think the Marines were the last to offer one, but with civilian sector hiring soft, and patriotism high, the military (all branches) is having no difficulty finding people.

Also, joining either the Air Force or Navy is no guarantee of a short combat tour.  When the Army is short of people, they can tap other services for what's called an "Individual Augmentation" tour, meaning you get issued Army uniforms, do Army duty, and deploy for the Army length of time (a year +).  The only difference is that your service tape says "US Navy" instead of "US Army".

One last word of warning during a time of two wars.  Chaplains, medics and doctors don't have to engage in combat.  (They may be IN combat, but they are not doing the fighting.)  In fact, if they do, they jeopardize their status.  (This is why the Marines don't have any.  All Marines are expeditionary combat resources.  So, the Marines get their chaplains and medical personnel from the Navy.)

Everybody else, and that means EVERYBODY is expected to be combat-ready and willing to put a bullet in the forehead of the enemy if the situation calls for it.  There are no passengers on convoys.  If you're ambushed moving from point A to point B, you are expected to pick up a weapon and start killing the bad guys and breaking their stuff.  As an officer, you are REQUIRED, not expected, to assume command in these situations if you are senior. 

If the idea of killing somebody or leading other young people to kill and be killed isn't something you want to deal with, then this is not the deal for you.

As for pay, frankly, military pay and benefits are exceptionally good these days.  Nowhere near biglaw, but if I had to WAG, I'd say that 60% of lawyers won't do as well as military officers.  After you make O-3 (I believe that happens after 2 years for most JAGs), you're basically making $80,000 a year, with continued upward potential.  After 20 years, you can retire with a 50% retirement.  After 30 years, you can retire with 75%.  If you're in for 30, you'll probably be an O-6, at a minimum.  So, the pay is substantial, and the retirement is considerable.

You can get an idea of military pay, here:

Keep in mind that in addition to base pay, you also get a housing allowance and meal allowance.

Best of luck. 

They all work out for most people. However, I don't think any profession is as glamorous as an incoming student makes it out to be. Again that is only my two cents and I could be completely wrong.

I think you're right about that.  At best, most people can get a summary level introduction to a profession, but won't know the details of the grind until they have to do it day-in, day-out.

Based on both your and my points it does sound like either of us really know anything about the medical profession and you saying the med students were whiny are exactly what they think about law students who say they can't find jobs. I think law students have some idea that doctors have some easy path and many doctors think the same thing about lawyers. The grass is always greener on the other side.

I do agree that all professions have a lot of whining, especially if they're insular.  For instance, doctors tend to hang around a lot of other doctors.  Teachers tend to hang around a lot of other teachers.  So, yeah, it makes the grass look greener.

Doctors have a lot of legitimate reasons to gripe, but compensation and job opportunities are not valid ones, IMHO.  Again, the numbers simply don't bear out any compliants along this dimension.

If you dig a little deeper, the reality is that doctors think that businesspeople and attorneys have it easy because they believe that doctors are smart and businesspeople and attorneys are stupid.  Because of this, they automatically put themselves at the very highest percentiles of earnings in the belief that their superior intellect would make them, say, the CEO of the company because they're so much smarter than everyone else.  Or, that they would make partner automatically because they're so much smarter.  In some cases, they might be right, but for the most part, they're seriously misjudging the factors of career success in business and maybe in the law, too.

Their basic premise is this:  "I'm a doctor and I'm smart.  I only make $280,000 a year.  But if I had gone into business, I'd be a CEO making $7 million a year.  At a minimum, I'd be a senior VP making a million.  And those guys didn't have to go to medical school which was not just hard, but expensive."

Not to shill my blog too much, but I did discuss this at length, here, and also cast the net to include some whiney attorneys, too:

I hope what you say is true regarding the possibility that any law school graduate can get work doing document review.  That's not my understanding, but frankly, I have to admit that I am operating solely on secondhand knowledge.

As for residency, specialties require longer residencies.  However, your garden variety doctor is just one year.  We don't have to be medical students to find this out.  Google suffices.

Visits, Admit Days, and Open Houses / Re: Wayne State: Worth it?
« on: March 30, 2011, 12:49:01 PM »
You may be right, and it may be that folks entering law school now will skip over the ones who graduated earlier and will have career paths that will justify their large debt loads.  But it's not a gamble I'd want to take.

Ah, yes, I agree.  I wasn't stating that point so much to say that future grads will have it good.  I was saying it more to imply that current grads may not necessarily be in front of more recent grads when things open up in the future.  Your point about experience in the law is a good one.  I agree that if an employer can chose between an experienced applicant and a new applicant for the same money, the experienced applicant is probably at an advantage.

I think a lot of this, though, is self-imposed.  By that, I mean, if you graduate during a hard time, and you have a devil of a time finding a job, then eventually, you do contracts for a title company for $50,000 a year, it's entirely possible that after a few years, you're making, say, $60,000.  The new grads who come out could come out into an environment where the midsized firms are starting people at $65,000.  It's not that the experienced person doesn't want that job.  It's that they may not be looking at all.

Or maybe they're making $62,000 at the title company, and the midsized firms are starting folks at $58,000.  However, the associates at the midsize firms have a lot more salary upside potential down the road.

There are lots of ways that this can play out where a person's starting salary has some stickiness to it and it impacts their future earnings.  However, for the sake of current grads in the soft market, I hope you're right.

To answer the question at the end of your post, almost all Wayne students are Michigan residents, so their transfer destination of choice is UM.  In a typical year, after the 1L grades come out, about 3-5 will transfer.  You need about a 3.7 to be confident of a transfer (that's top 5% or so) but  I've heard of kids with a 3.5 getting in (and that's more like top 10%).   People don't typically look at Ohio State or Notre Dame.

Wow, you think that maybe as many as 3-5 1Ls are able to transfer to Michigan?  That's amazing.  Pretty encouraging, really.  Granted, you have to be darned good, but it's a nice second-chance for folks who might have attended Wayne State because they couldn't get into Michigan to begin with.

I have friends in nursing school and I have only talked to a few med students don't personally know anyone. I know the nursing students are worried about finding jobs and my one friend is in a program where they have failed out 80% of the students that started, the remaining 20% are still worried about finding jobs at graduation.

The market for nurses is softer than in previous years, meaning that instead of 100% of nursing students having a job before graduation, maybe it's 50%.  The remainder have to look for a few months.  In some parts of the country, there are no nursing jobs, but overall, there's still a severe shortage.  So, yeah, they may have to relocate to get a job.

However, when was the last time you saw a news article like this about attorneys?

Yeah, those are in California, but keep in mind, the unemployment rate in California is about 10%.

Registered Nurses are still getting jobs.  Anybody saying otherwise is flat-out lying or just plain stupid.  Don't confuse RNs with LPNs or NAs.  They're not even remotely the same thing.

For med students as I understand it from a few brief conversations is you go to med school then you do your residency, which locks you in for 4-5 years at 50,000 a year after having paid 100K+ for med school. All the med students I talked to were saying how much easier it would be to be a lawyer and I thought the exact opposite, but it turns out neither one is all that great. You can succeed in either one, but it is not a guarantee. I also think when your residency ends you are not guaranteed a job it is a competitive profession just like everything else. Again, this is based on two very brief conversations regarding M.D.'s.

Those med students are whiney and delusional.  What you describe is common to hear them say but absolutely none of it is borne out in the numbers.  Even after residency, primary, family and pediatric physicians earn an average of 180K per year.  Those are the lowest paid category of doctors in the country.  Yes, their earnings are delayed, but you can become an MD with 4 years of grad school and I believe the residency unless you specialize is only 1 year.  So, you can have a career that spans 4 decades.  Not hard to pay back student loans when you make $180K a year. 

If you specialize, the pay goes up, though the residency requirement does, too.

I do know nursing students are not guaranteed anything and it is extremely difficult to even get accepted into any nursing program.

fair enough.  However, that's my point:  their job security is secure in part because they're not getting a degree that just anybody can get.

If I am correct about the M.D. process, then I think my point still stands there is no guaranteed way to financial success.

So long as you define financial success as being something more than $180,000 for your career, then yes, you're right.  Getting an MD is no guarantee of financial success.

If there was most people would probably be doing it.

We must be talking about different things, here.  One of the reasons most people can't do it is that they can't qualify for medical school.  Right now, the average GPA for ANY medical school is about 3.7.  The only difference is the HBCUs, but frankly, that only applies to a certain segment of the population.

So, yeah, getting into medical school is not guaranteed.  Not everybody can take the pre-med core classes and still leave school with a 3.7.

Your success after getting your MD or DO is pretty much assured, though.

Likewise, being a major league ballplayer for a decade is a guaranteed path to financial success.  Even so, most people are not doing it.  It requires ability that most people do not have.

"In 2008, physicians practicing primary care had total median annual compensation of $186,044, and physicians practicing in medical specialties earned total median annual compensation of $339,738."

"Job prospects. Opportunities for individuals interested in becoming physicians and surgeons are expected to be very good. In addition to job openings from employment growth, openings will result from the need to replace the relatively high number of physicians and surgeons expected to retire over the 2008-18 decade."

Contrast to attorneys:

"Competition for job openings should continue to be keen because of the large number of students graduating from law school each year. Graduates with superior academic records from highly regarded law schools will have the best job opportunities. Perhaps as a result of competition for attorney positions, lawyers are increasingly finding work in less traditional areas for which legal training is an asset, but not normally a requirement—for example, administrative, managerial, and business positions in banks, insurance firms, real estate companies, government agencies, and other organizations. Employment opportunities are expected to continue to arise in these organizations at a growing rate."

"As in the past, some graduates may have to accept positions outside of their field of interest or for which they feel overqualified. Some recent law school graduates who have been unable to find permanent positions are turning to the growing number of temporary staffing firms that place attorneys in short-term jobs. This service allows companies to hire lawyers on an “as-needed” basis and permits beginning lawyers to develop practical skills."

"In May 2008, the median annual wages of all wage-and-salaried lawyers were $110,590. The middle half of the occupation earned between $74,980 and $163,320."

 Education is a risk and when you graduate the annoying process of job hunting begins no matter what you are doing.

Ummm... yeah, we live in different realities.  I would say that graduating with an MD, where 100% of the members of your class who want jobs will have jobs, and graduating with a JD from a 4T where maybe half of your class who want jobs may not be able to find one is a completely different thing.

If you think they're analogous, then more power to you.

However, I am not sure there is a huge demand for M.B.A's, Doctors, Nurses, Teachers, Cops, I honestly am not aware of any position that people are like man there are just not enough of these around.

This is off-topic, but I'm not sure what you're saying is true.  Nurses?  Doctors?  They go to an academically rigorous course of study and there IS demand for them because the degrees aren't that easy to get, and the number of schools that can confer the degree is limited.  Some nursing schools are difficult to gain admission to, and all MD and DO programs are difficult to gain entry to.

Teachers?  Other than in inner cities, teaching jobs have been hard to get for the last 4 decades.  The degrees are not hard to get, and the jobs are relatively attractive (to the right kind of people.)  Lots of grads relative to the opportunities = hard time finding a job.

MBAs?  I think there's a cautionary tale in there for JDs.  Granted, JDs have two things that MBAs don't:  the bar exam and ABA accreditation.  MBAs have an equivalent accreditation:  AACSB, but you can open up an MBA program without being AACSB accredited.  I'd say about 1/4 to 1/3 of MBAs aren't.  Ultimately, there are a few elite MBAs that will open doors.  Unfortunately, the remainder are unremarkable and undistinguishable.  Your AACSB accredited MBA from University of Texas at Arlington is not really that different than the non-aacsb program at University of Dallas in the minds of most people.

Plus, business is very different than law.  Business has always been an area where A students work under C students because business success depends a lot more on intangible and interpersonal factors.  For the most part, an MBA is more of a check-off degree.  It doesn't do much for your career, other than lets you continue on the trajectory you're already on.  A few business employers want to know your gpa.  The vast, vast majority will never ask.  Class rank is essentially a non-factor.  5 years into your career, nobody will ever care where your degrees came from.  (Contrast to law where you carry your law school's name and class rank with you essentially throughout your entire career.)

Basically, when a degree becomes ubiquitous to the point that pretty much anybody who feels like getting one can get one (which is basically where the MBA is, now), it loses pretty much all its value.

Again, Law isn't EXACTLY like that, because of ABA and bar exams.  However, it's a lot closer to being an MBA than being an MD.

I sincerely doubt that any med school grads are wondering if they'll be able to get jobs.  Even nurses may not be able to get the exact jobs they want, but they can find jobs right now.  In fact, they're finding jobs that pay as much as a lot of law jobs, and you can be an RN with an associate's degree.

With Law, my impression (non-expert, obviously) is that most reasonably bright people who want to go to law school can go.  However, only SOME will be employed as attorneys, later.  The weed-out process happens after graduation, not before.  Contrast to med school where the weeding out happens pretty much before your first day of med school classes.  If you get in, chances are you'll finish.  If you finish, you'll get a job in the field. 

With Law, if you get in, chances are you'll finish IF YOU WANT TO, but when you finish, if all you did was get the degree, without excelling in some way (by either going to a very distinguished school, or placing high in your less distinguished school), that's just not a guarantee of employment.  In that way, the law degree is a heck of a lot like an MBA or teaching degree.

Current Law Students / Re: Latest you have got an acceptance letter?
« on: March 30, 2011, 04:41:50 AM »
I sent them my application the day I got my LSAT.  They sent me an acceptance packet within a week.  I believe my packet was in "review" for about 3 days.

OTOH, another school I applied to (call it my stretch school) had me in review for about 3 weeks and eventually rejected me. 

Current Law Students / Re: Latest you have got an acceptance letter?
« on: March 29, 2011, 07:19:58 PM »
BTW I hate the mailman with his smug blue shorts, goatee and chipper disposition.

He's mocking you.  If he's wearing one of those jungle-explorer pith helmets, that's a direct insult. 

I'm accepted to the only law school in my hometown.  So, I'm happy.

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