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Transferring / Re: Admitted to Appalachian but I want to go to Uconn
« on: February 21, 2013, 03:50:54 PM »
It was not my intention to offend, or come off as antagonistic.  However, you know your numbers are bad, and the only schools you are getting into are the lowest ranked schools.  That should be a red flag.  Additionally, the bar exam is basically one giant, long, complex standardized test (the MBE alone is 200 lengthy multiple choice questions, with each question having 2 right and 2 wrong answers and you need to choose the answer that is 'most right'). Furthermore, law exams are arbitrary and drafted in a way that awards points to those who are good test takers.  If you aren't doing well on standardized tests now, and in your general studies, it isn't rocket science that getting top grades during your 1L year (thus enabling you to transfer) is going to pose difficulties.  95% of Appalachian students are going to be gunning to transfer out, however, only the top 5% will get that chance.  Given the unpredictable curve, the odds are very much not in your favor. 

I too emerged from the notorious class of 2011, where I saw only 55% of my classmates find jobs.  It's no secret that law school doesn't prepare you to practice law.  I am only trying to dissuade you from law because I have seen and experienced, first hand, what law school and the legal field is currently like.  When you push back against my advice, and others' advice who have gone through the same experience, it leads me to believe that your judgment is too clouded by prestige and pride to truly listen to us.  You can make up every excuse in the book as to why you think transferring to a T1 school will be a possibility, but we have all been there, and seen it.  We are telling you it's not likely.  Furthermore, we are telling you that going to such a low ranked school is a bad idea.  Listen to us. If you have contacts in the legal community, as you suggest, ask them what you should do, instead of coming to a forum full of random strangers.  They will tell you what we are telling you.  Law is brutal right now.  Making $45K per year with $100K in student debt is depressing, and that is if you are one of the 55% who find a job.  Find a job where you can make $45K without any debt.

It is laughable to argue that law school, ABA accredited or not, gives you the tools to become a lawyer.  Ask any new attorney the day they are sworn in to draft, file, and argue a summary judgment motion.  Ask any new attorney to attend a mediation and open with a reasonable bracket.  It is a well known joke that law school, and the bar exam, are terrible indicators of how to practice law.  And comparing the legal field to the medical field is, well, incomparable.  The medical field is subsidized by insurance, and so it grows in correlation with a growth in population.  Law, on the other hand, enjoys no such subsidies, and is therefore adversely impacted by a declining economy (seriously, who can afford $300/hr rates right now?).

Again, I apologize if I came across as rude.  It is a byproduct of a profession which forces one to put on his adversarial glasses at breakfast every day.  I just wanted to emphasize that you know your numbers are bad, and you are looking for advice.  Take ours and run with it.  There are plenty of other careers out there that are growing and rewarding right now.  Don't settle for living in Grundy, VA for 3 years, paying 150K for a nearly 50/50 shot at making 45K per year practicing family law, doing document review, or acting as a coverage attorney.

Transferring / Re: Admitted to Appalachian but I want to go to Uconn
« on: February 14, 2013, 03:35:16 PM »
Honestly, I wouldn't go to law school right now unless you are admitted to a T14 or have a job lined up waiting for you after school.  I am a second year associate at a mid-sized law firm, located in a mid-sized city in the south.  I went to a T2 and graduated with honors.  We are currently looking to fill a position and received 104 resumes for one spot.  The starting salary at my firm is $50,000. The legal market is collapsing like a sand castle in a rain storm.  The only reason we are growing is because we specialize in a niche field.

Face it: your numbers suck.  Don't blame it on anything else but your ability to take a standardized test and get good grades.  If you suck at doing this now, you will most likely struggle in law school.  You aren't a special snowflake.  You aren't suddenly going to excel in law school when during undergrad you were merely adequate.  Law isn't your calling, so turn off Law & Order and find something more suitable to your talents and skills. Everyone has a place in life, but this isn't yours.  Law schools are a business, and they see 'sucker' written across your forehead, guaranteed by non-dischargeable loans.  The market is much different, akin to, ahem, real life.  It's all about competition.  The cream rises to the crop.  Those who have connections and went to highly ranked schools are the ones who get the jobs.

You want to go to law school at Appalachian, which has one of the worst job placements of all law schools and is located in the backwoods of Virginia, by all means, give them your money for a chance at hanging your own shingle in a market absolutely flooded by lawyers, experienced and inexperienced alike.  Sure, you won't know how to draft a pleading, answer discovery, or craft a settlement agreement.  You won't have access to Lexis, you won't know which judge prefers morning hearings, and you won't know how to conduct voir dire, but hey, you will be a lawyer. 

While you are visiting ALS, ask them for a complete breakdown of job placement statistics.  Ask them how many 2012 grads were hired by law firms, what size the law firms were, and the starting salary for these firms.  Ask them how many grads are practicing in careers that require bar passage.  Ask them how many went solo.  ALS doesn't publish this information publicly.  There's a reason.

Caveat emptor. 

 I got a "bad shake"? You have got to be kidding me, right? I really hope we meet in court someday. Since you obviously have resorted to quasi-personal attacks, and can't for the life of you back your statements up with facts, I have, in the spirit of open discourse, presented you with a random spattering of credited media outlets reporting on the oversupply of attorneys, the result of which is giving us all a "bad shake."  If all you can do is respond with an inflammatory opinion, well, actually, I am anticipating nothing less.

I would avoid law school at all costs right now, especially a tier four. Yes, I am an anonymous poster, but when there are hundreds, if not thousands, of us out here talking about how bad it is, if law schools are getting sued, if law grads are struggling to find a job that just pays 40K per year without benefits and all of this is well documented at reputable news outlets such as Bloomberg and the New York Times, you cannot ignore the weight of evidence and think otherwise. STAY AWAY!!!

Where do I get my information from? Most of it is personal. I graduated last year from a T2 (which basically means a T4 in this economy).  Very few of my friends right now have jobs, and those of us who are lucky enough to have a job in the legal field are pulling in around 50K.  But Bloomberg, NYT, Wall Street Journal, lawsuits, scam blogs, it's everywhere.  Don't be an idiot and ignore all of noise.

Furthermore, don't listen to this crap argument "yeah, but you will struggle to find a job in any other field. May as well go for it."  What a stupid, illogical argument.  "Yeah, you may as well take on 150K of non-dischargeable debt to wait at tables/be a barrista at Starbucks/go solo and get sued for legal malpractice. That makes total sense."  I have an idea: take your B.S. in a useless humanities subject and go teach English overseas.  You will make about what you would make as a first year associate at a law firm, without a 2000 hour billable requirement and an egomaniac of a boss demanding you take two depositions per day for weeks on end.

Before I file a lawsuit, I make sure I do some investigation.  I do a background check on my client, research case law, etc.  If I were contemplating law school, a simple Google search would be all it would take to make me run very, very far away.  I was lucky enough to get a good scholarship, so I wasted 3 years of my life and have very little debt.

Run as far away from your T4 as you can.  You won't transfer because you have absolutely no idea how well you will do your first year.  And going from T4 to T14 (the only place you can actually get a decent job these days) is near impossible.

A major news outlet just did a story about how NYU and Columbia law grads are struggling to find jobs that pay 50K per year.  Given the weight of evidence against going to law school, what makes you think you will be different?  I swear if you say it's because you are "special" or "have a drive no one else has", then you are a lost cause and it's not worth anyone's time trying to convince you otherwise.  You know the answer to your question. 

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Should I reconsider?
« on: March 12, 2012, 06:25:56 PM »
Most, if not all of the schools you have listed, are currently embroiled in a massive class action lawsuit for deceptive and fraudulent job statistics (perform a simple Google search).  Your LSAT is very low.  Coming out of any of those schools is going to leave you 6 figures in non-dischargeable debt and dismal prospects.  I practice down here in Florida.  Barry is considered a joke.  Nova isn't much better.  I graduated from a T2 school with honors last May.  I found a job just before December.  I get paid 50K/year and have to hit 2000 billable hours per year (around 60 hours of actual work per week).  Luckily, I had a hefty scholarship that covered nearly all of my tuition.  Otherwise, I would be paying a thousand bucks a month to loan companies.  Law is wildly over-saturated market right now.  A recent NY Post article documented how Columbia and NYU grads are struggling to find jobs that pay 40K per year.  The true average starting salary of a lawyer is 40-50K.  You can make just as much money as a manager at Target, and that only requires a B.A.  My advice is to stay as far away from law school as you can.  But if you aren't going to listen to me (and you probably won't, because I have first hand experience, but you will undoubtedly feel as if you will somehow be the exception), then take a year off and study for the LSAT.  Truly study.  It's teachable.  I had your same GPA and, after taking some time off to study, I hit a 164.  I had some great scholarship offers as a result.  That makes my life as an overworked, underpaid attorney slightly less miserable.

But seriously, don't go to any of those schools.  If they are being sued, or about to be sued, you would be an idiot to even consider them.  If you absolutely must go to law school, go for free or nearly for free.  That means retaking the LSAT.  You don't need to graduate in 3 years, as the job market is going to be just as crappy as it is now.  Take a year off and study.  As an attorney, you will have to do your due diligence.  May as well start now.  I wish I would have.

Black Law Students / Re: Accepted at Touro...
« on: January 06, 2012, 04:57:43 PM »
Don't go into law school with the intent to transfer. Chances are very low you are going to be in the top 15%. Your 1L year is gonna have a brutal curve at a school such as Touro, and everyone is going to be gunning for the top 10-15%.  At a school like Touro -- much like Cooley -- most go in with the intent to transfer, and not everyone is going to be able to. The curve forces a spread: so many people must get Cs, must fail, etc.  Only the top 15% will be top 15%, and yet you are going to be fighting against everyone for this.  No one at Touro is going to go in there being satisfied with being in the middle of the pack.

Furthermore, your first year of law school is going to be like nothing you have ever experienced before.  It's a ton of work, and there is no way to know how well you are performing until you take your final exams.  This is because your entire grade is based on your final.  And then it takes about a month to get your grades back, so you are into your second semester by the time you know how you did in your first semester.  Look at it this way: you take Contracts your fall semester.  You have no quizzes, homework, or tests until December 15th, when you have your final exam.  The only feedback you have received is from your fellow classmates and maybe an office hour with the professor.  You take that final, wait a month, and then find out you got a B.  You will never be in the top 15%, and lost your chances of transferring.  That's how law school, especially the first year, works.  Everyone wants to be at the top, and no one really knows what they are doing.  Like a bunch of chickens running around with their heads cut off.

I would advise against going to Touro with the intent of transferring, and would stay far away from it unless you can get tuition covered by a scholarship.  I went to a T2 state school and had a good scholly, so I came out with little debt.  I took and passed the July bar, and I received a job offer just before Christmas (after sending out 200+ resumes).  They started me at 47K/year.  If I had serious loan payments, I would be screwed.  That is the reality of this profession as it currently stands.

Do a simple Google search: many schools that are just like Touro are currently involved in a massive class action lawsuit.  Although you are a 0L, you know what a class action suit is.  They are fraudulently misrepresenting career statistics and starting salaries.  There are very few jobs waiting for those who graduate from the top schools, let alone those who fall out of the T14.  Unless you have connections, or the means to go solo (which you won't right out of law school unless you have prior experience), law school is a losing game right now. 

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Massachusetts School of Law
« on: December 15, 2011, 04:20:02 PM »
Another thing you need to think about is reciprocity. Although you can practice law in any of the states you listed, in order to do so, you may have to retake the bar exam (I know for sure you have to with Florida and Arizona). I am not sure if reciprocity differs between ABA and Non-ABA schools, but I graduated from an ABA school, and my score on the MBE (160+) means I can practice law in the state I took the bar exam, I can waive into North Dakota, and I can waive into D.C.  I can also waive into a number of other states after practicing for a few years without retaking the bar exam.  After taking one bar exam, I know I am not going to want to take another one in 5 or 10 years.  Reciprocity will definitely help me out in the future if I want to waive into a different jurisdiction.

I also echo the same sentiments about paying ridiculously high tuition for a T4.  Go to a T4 only if it is a state school with cheap in-state tuition (such as Florida A&M in Florida), or if you have a scholly that isn't contingent on anything.  Otherwise, you are paying the same amount you would to go to Harvard, but your options after law school are severely limited.

And, in the big scheme of things, no one should be considering law school right now. You already have a job, and it most likely pays better than the starting salary for an attorney right now.  Most firms are starting attorneys at 45K-50K per year.  They can do this because the market is absolutely flooded and there is no end in sight.  Keep your job where you get benefits and a stable salary. I have been looking for a job since May and after sending out 250+ resumes and interviewing at a handful of places, I am heading into the New Year jobless.  It's not good out there.  Right now, law school should be considered if you can take on little-to-no debt, don't currently have a stable job, and you know someone who can hire you/mentor you right out of law school.

Read this article from the NY Times. It was published last week. If there's any doubt that law school is a terrible, awful choice right now, this article will get rid of it.

"Altogether, the top 250 firms which hired 27 percent of graduates from the top 50 law schools last year have lost nearly 10,000 jobs since 2008, according to an April survey by The National Law Journal."

This is the problem with arguing: people like to use personal anecdotal evidence or opinion over facts.  The "I know someone who got a job right out of law school" story is used repeatedly, and yet there are actual, objective facts such as the one I just posted from a credible source that states hiring in essentially non-existent in this legal market. Google it for yourself, this article is just one of many written by the Times, Wall Street Journal, etc. who are all documenting the monumental downshift in the legal market, and how the law schools are hiding these facts while raising tuition.  I have not seen a single similar article about nursing or engineering. In fact, engineering and healthcare are in the top 6 of degrees that employers demand right now:

Will you automatically get a job with an engineering degree? No, you need to go to a reputable school and have high grades. But the differences between this and law school is that (1) it costs much less (2) the starting salary is much higher (3) four years of school versus 7 (4) no bar exam and (5) there is a market to be hired in.  While some engineers are being hired and some nurses are being hired, no attorneys are being hired.

It's bad out there. Don't go join the slaughter. Get a degree that is in demand, that costs so much less, that takes less time to get. They do exist, and you will be happier for it.

Aglittman: I completely agree with you. I posted something similar to this vein on this forum a couple of weeks ago. I graduated in May at top 25% of my class at a T2 school that has a very strong name in the state it is located. I have also clerked for a mid size law firm for nearly 2 years (unfortunately, they couldn't hire me on, as the legal market is, well, you know, absolutely atrocious). I passed my state's bar exam, so here I sit, sending out resumes every day, going to bar functions, doing anything I can to "network" and make connections. For all of those considering law school, let me break down where you stand as a lawyer:

0-2 years: you are a newbie. You have no experience and no one wants to hire you. The best way to get hired at this stage is at OCI, but if you don't go to a T14 school, your school's OCI will suck and basically most of the firms that show up are just resume collecting anyways. Now you have sunk 150K into a degree, an additional 5K to take a bar review course and pass the bar, and now you are struggling just to land a job that pays 35K/year. Every position you apply to is flooded with resumes of those who are in your shoes, and, more importantly, there are hundreds of resumes of those lawyers who do have experience and thus do not need any training. Why would a firm sink time and money into you when they have someone who already has litigation experience willing to do the same job at the same price?  Not even doc review recruiters want to touch you, because you don't have doc review experience.

2-4 years: you are somewhat more marketable. You have most likely gained trial preparation experience, some litigation experience, and, more importantly, you have practiced in front of judges in the area. You can easily take the jobs those that have 0-2 years experience are fighting for. Although it pays crap, it still pays, and you have loan principle that is due.

3-6 years: now we are talking.  Recruiters start calling you.  You are beginning to specialize in areas of law that make you marketable.  Six figure jobs are on the horizon.  You may still work 70 hours per week, but now you are more comfortable doing so.

6+ years: you can apply to most of the employment ads out there and be satisfied that you will have a shot at getting an interview.  Recruiters will contact you as well.

*Note: these facts were given to me after I spoke with a recruiter over the phone. I did not make all of this up.

Sure, once you have 6 years under your belt, you are an attorney, making good money, and you can look back and say it was all worth it. But the problem is that you can't even get to that 6 year mark now because the jobs to get there just don't exist. They aren't there. Trust me. After sending out over 100 resumes and getting a few worthless interviews where the jobs went to those with more experience, I have some authority on this subject. Go get a degree or certification in something worthwhile, such as medicine or engineering.  Who cares if you don't have an interest in it, because it pays, and in the end, it is the person who can put food on his table that will be happiest. It is miserable living off your parents when you are 26 and can't land even an interview for a job that starts you at 35K (oh, but you have a J.D., so that makes it all worth it, right? Not.) And no matter what any idiot on this forum tells you, you will fall into this unemployed category. You will not be happy. You will not land a good paying job unless you have a connection, or you go to a T14 school and graduate top of your class. 10 years ago, you could work your way to the top. That isn't the case now. It is bad out there. I spoke with one partner at a firm who suggested I start delivering pizzas to help pay the bills while I continue searching for a job.  This was after I took the partner out to lunch to try and "network" with him like my useless career services told me to do. Awesome. At least he received a free lunch out of the meeting.

Oh, and the best part of it all?  What pizza company/any company other than a law firm is going to hire a licensed attorney? They know you are going to quit as soon as something better comes up.  So you go ahead and remove it from your resume.  Good luck explaining a 3 year employment gap.

I went to a bar function last month. Half of us were new attorneys (about 15 of us). There we were, standing around like jackasses handing out our business cards to anyone who gave us a curious look. Have I heard anything back? No. None of us have. We have nothing to offer a firm. They want attorneys with experience. When you get out of law school, you have nothing but debt.

Seriously, find another profession. Preferably, one that isn't dying.

Before I went to law school, I was making 45K per year with benefits.  Now that I am licensed to practice law, I am fighting to find a job that pays 40K per year. Who really gives a sh** if the school is ranked or not. The jobs aren't out there. Don't believe the department of labor, and for God's sake don't believe the law schools.  Google it, see for yourself.  There are way to many lawyers out there.  Do your own due diligence. It isn't about rights, or doing what you are passionate about. That's how you feel as a 0L, or a 1L.  Call me jaded, call me greedy, but I want a job. That is why we all go to school, right?  To get a job as a lawyer.  Right now, this is impossible.  The jobs simply don't exist. New York currently has an oversupply of 7,000 lawyers.  California has an oversupply of 3,000 lawyers.  The jobs don't exist, and even if you have the skills to hang a shingle when you get out (which you won't, because law school is about theory, and is not practical), you are fighting to get clients who can go to the larger firms and pay less, just like Wal-Mart can sell goods at a lower cost than a mom and pop grocery store.  Law schools are getting a ton of scrutiny from the press, and the ABA is under fire from members of Congress.  Don't be stupid.  Of course, this is a forum filled with idiots giving other idiots advice on which law school to go to in the worst legal environment in decades, so what I am saying will most likely fall on deaf ears. 

Am I negative?  H**l yes.  I wish someone could have given me this advice 3 years ago.  My degree sure looks all fancy sitting in my closet as I send out 10 resumes a day, only to hear nothing back from anyone.  Am I smart?  I graduated a T2 LS with latin honors, but this means nothing when the guy in front of me has 5 years of litigation experience.  You want advice on whether or not law school is worth it? Get off your pedestal and admit it isn't.  10 years ago it was.  Now it is doc review hell (if you are lucky even to get that).  In one interview I recently had, the interviewer told me they had over 100 resumes sent in, for 1 position.  I was lucky enough to be one of the 10 chosen for an interview.  Apparently, I was not lucky enough to get the position, which started at $55,000 per year and required 1900 billable hours (if you don't know the billable hours system, think 60 hours per week.  You can bill maybe 6-7 hours per day.  It's not the number of hours you actually were at work).

My shingle is out, but since law school was so awesome, I know defeasible estates, but can't for the life of me figure out how to prepare and file for a preliminary hearing for a basic DUI, and I am constantly opening myself up to liability as a result. Thanks, law school.  Most people are going to advise you to follow your dreams, to do what feels right.  You are an adult now, and not 5 years old.  You are not going to be an astronaut, and you are probably not going to be the next president.  Approach this rationally. Do your research, see what fields are hiring, and get a degree/certification in that.  Otherwise, your degree is a $100,000 paperweight collecting dust in your closet.

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