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Messages - FalconJimmy

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661
Also, in my not so expert opinion, the one area of business that corresponds best to a law degree is human resources.  That area is full of regulatory compliance and labor law type issues.

That having been said, it's going to be sort of hard to frame your law degree that way.

Also, there are drawbacks to HR.  For one thing, most companies use it to advance URM and females to executive ranks so they can brag about more URM and female executives.

Also, starting pay is low, but frankly, I don't think the competition is that tough.  You can advance quickly in a big organization.

662
I wouldn't make a lot of decisions in your current state.  Sounds to me like you're stressed and worn out.

Get your degree, then go be a park ranger or something.  Clear your head.

Whether you accept it or not, a degree from a T10, even if you're dead last in your class, is a great credential that most people in society wish they had. 

I'd do something that lets you relax for a while.  You may see things differently after a little time away from the grind.

663
Personally?  I'd say OSU.

For one thing, they have a better football team.

j/k

I know that being in the top 1/3 of your class sounds like a modest goal, but honestly, who knows?  If you go to a school that fits your academic profile, the reality is that pretty much everybody there will be roughly as smart as you are.  So, being in the top 1/3?  I can pretty much assure you that every single person who got accepted thinks they're top 1/3 material.  2/3 of them are wrong.

Ohio State's requirements to renew the scholarship seem much, much more reasonable, IMHO. 

If you take the Pepperdine scholly, you may find yourself having to pay sticker price for 2 or even 2.5 years of your degree.

Plus, frankly, OSU is a better school.  Will it open doors to a totally different strata of jobs than Pepperdine?  Personally, I doubt it, but it is the better school, which means that all other things being equal, a degree from OSU will carry slightly more weight than a Pepperdine degree.

Now, that having been said:  time is the stuff life is made of.  If you want to spend 3 years in a dreary midwest city, versus perhaps the coolest part of the world, that's a real factor and I think you're right to consider it.

And when you graduate, yes, OSU and Pepperdine grads practice law all over the world, but OSU grads are going to be geographically concentrated in Ohio and the midwest.  Pepperdine grads will be concentrated in California.

Where do you want to live?

Personally, I don't consider those silly questions.  You don't want to be 70 years old thinking, "Man, I've had to waste my life with these corn-fed midwestern trogs, when I could have been at the beach checking out scantily clad waitresses waiting for their big break into the movie industry".  Or, if you're a woman, put in the appropriate gender-based generalities in there, too.

Personally, I love Ohio.  Lived here 3/4 of my life.  I'm not an OSU grad, but the ones I know are really happy that they went there.  Sports teams may seem like a frivolous reason to go to a school, but OSU grads party their asses off when the football season rolls around and now, they party when the basketball season comes, too.  They not only enjoyed their time at OSU, but it enhanced their enjoyment of life afterwards.

That having been said, the industrial midwest is a dreary-assed place to be.  It's friggin' depressing, here.  California is in the toilet right now, too, but I guarantee, they'll be recovered and wiping their asses with C-notes a loooong time before the industrial midwest recovers. 

So, basically, from a law-school/lawstudent perspective, you should go to OSU.  But I wouldn't blame you if, from a quality of life perspective, you picked Pepperdine. 

664
<<, when you run your own business you are able to form a llc and pay yourself a very small salary which will allow you to pay the minimum amount on student loans. Eventually the debt will be forgiven and all will be good. >>

Hmmm... just to pick a nit, here, but if you form an LLC, than any income of the LLC is considered your personal income.  It's not like a Chapter C corp, where the corporation, itself, can retain earnings.

If your LLC makes $100,000, then you, personally, have $100,000 in earnings, or if you have partners in the LLC, you split up the income and everybody pays their share of taxes.

It's what's called "fall through" taxation.  Meaning all the income falls through to the income of the individual partners.

665
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Taking the plunge!
« on: March 14, 2011, 08:05:18 AM »
is the o/p still around?  If so, I have a few things to add.

First, don't let what other people think get you down.  Some people are obnoxious and unnecessarily harsh.  That's no reason to get hurt and offended.  Keep this in perspective:  this is just words on your computer screen.  They have no ability to harm or help your life in any way.  Only your actions are going to do that.

If I understand the question correctly, you're wondering if it's advisable to clean out your 401(k) in order to finish a law degree?

And the law school you're looking at is 4th tier? 

In that case, I'm going to say it's probably a poor decision from a lot of perspectives.

First, you can get good jobs out of a 4T law school, but it's only going to happen for the very, very, very top of the class.

You might be thinking, "no problem, I always was one of the smartest people in my class."

Now, as much as people bag on law school as a refuge for unemployables with humanities degrees, the reality is that your typical law student is one of the smarter people you encountered in undergrad.  The guys who scraped by with the university's minimum acceptable GPA are not likely to be applying to any law school.

Even if you go to a 4T law school, there will be some seriously smart people there.  So, doing well in your class?  It could happen but it might not.

The other thing to consider is that the salaries in law are extremely bifurcated.  A smattering of new attorneys are nailing the biglaw jobs at $160,000 per year.  The rest?  Duking it out for jobs that pay maybe $60,000 a year.

(Also, note that although it is illegal, it is highly likely that your age will be held against you for biglaw jobs.  They're looking for that young pup who graduated first in their class, won't mind spending 80 hours in the office every week so they can bill 60, and who won't ask for time off to see their kids' piano recital.  Even if you would never take a moment off to see a piano recital, just keep in mind that old folks like you and me aren't what they're generally looking for.  They have very few jobs that pay obscene amounts of money.  There is a vast supply of people who want those jobs.  They can get whomever they want and don't have to compromise.)

(I apologize that I'm not more of an authority on this.  I'm just relaying what appears to be the consensus based on what I can gather from friends who are attorneys or what I find on the net.)

Sorry, but some of those 4T grads, the ones at the very bottom, are unlikely to get a job at all that's related to the law.

In fact, in this hiring climate, it appears that folks in the bottom of their 2T graduating class are having trouble finding jobs, too.

In law, more so than other disciplines, the two things they're going to look at to determine whether they'll hire you or not is the strength of your school and your class rank.  Really, almost all other factors are, if not irrelevant, darned near.

Contrast to business where, say, a lot of employers aren't that concerned with gpa or strength of school.  They want to know if you have the basic educational credentials, then you can sometimes work your way into a job by displaying superior interpersonal skills.

If you've ever met a biglaw associate, it's undeniable that they're smart and hard-working.  It's also pretty obvious that they weren't hired for their interpersonal skills.

I'm sympathetic to your situation.  I did a career change at your age.  I emptied my 401(k) and started a business and at least so far, it's paid off.  I have taken out 4 times that amount in cash and if I sold the business today, I'd probably get about three times what I invested. 

I'm just not sure that if your decision is purely economic, that a law degree is going to be as lucrative a choice for you.

Now, for a few things that could swing the decision back to the “pro” side.

First, I am a slow learner, but eventually figured out that working for yourself can pay more than working for somebody else.  I then made the quantum leap into realizing that having other people working for you pays better than working for yourself.

If you are entrepreneurial, then you don't really need to worry about what the starting salaries are.  You can hang out a shingle and start going for it.

Second, the only reason to go to law school is that you really want to practice law.  If that's your dream in life, well, sometimes dreams are worth pursuing even if they aren't economically optimal decisions.

Just keep in mind that your decision to get a law degree has two components of cost:  direct cost and opportunity cost. 

This blog post breaks it down pretty succinctly:

http://lawgoround.blogspot.com/2011/03/random-thoughts-while-i-wait.html

In a bad economy like this one, if you have no prospect of a job, the opportunity costs aren't a factor, though.

I will also add that financial advisors will say, universally, that your retirement savings are sacred, forever and ever, amen.  You never touch them, period, for any reason.  (Yes, I know I personally violated this rule.) 

Like any rule of thumb, I think it's safe to say that the people who follow this rule tend to do much better than the people who don't, in the long run, over a large enough sample size.

Best of luck to you, but I'd advise you to either go to a better school, or find a way to do it without raiding your retirement savings.  Even taking out student loans is better than emptying your retirement savings, IMHO.

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