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Messages - loki13

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Current Law Students / Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« on: December 11, 2015, 07:54:30 AM »

It is far from perfect and by no means a guarantee, but again neither is anything else.

One more time- you are making the wrong comparisons. If you just look at the numbers (actual numbers) you will see that even with the market correction, there are too many law school, admitting too many unqualified people, with too few jobs available. This is not a matter of opinion- these are facts.

Saying things like, "Don't worry, you can be the guy (or girl) that spends $260,000, and then doesn't work for five years, but, dadgummint, you can persevere and after five years, you too might get your entry level job in the law" just isn't correct.

Do you know how long five years is? More importantly, would *you* hire someone that is five years out of law school and has no legal experience? I know I wouldn't. That's the killer. The longer you don't work in the law, the worse it becomes- it's a spiral of doom. The hardest job to get is the first- and the longer it takes, the harder it becomes. Just toss in the added factor that if you were one of the people that didn't get a job to begin with, it is likely for a reason (didn't pass the bar, didn't do well at a lower-ranked school) - and those reasons aren't going to get much better.

So we start with those base propositions; there are too many law schools, with standards that are too lax, admitting too many students, with too few jobs. Which means that if you are a student admitted to a law school with extremely law standards (that's a good way to put it, right), and that school is not offering you a scholarship ... don't become one of the statistics. We have enough of those.

Yes, there are different cases. Someone might want to practice in Maine and go to UMaine Law School. But for generic advice, it's best to tell a person to run ... not walk ... away.

Current Law Students / Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« on: December 10, 2015, 12:45:14 PM »
This is why you are unnecessarily optimistic. You post that there are jobs, but you fail to note the vast number of people applying, and the lack of jobs. To put it in more perspective- it's one thing to get a job as an attorney when you are already a practicing, employed attorney. It's entirely different when you are unemployed and have no experience.

So when you offer generic, "You can do," advice, you are actively hurting people. It's this same advice that was given out (wrongly) before the legal market crash, and it's just wrong to offer it now.

So, for anyone still paying attention in a thread nominally about 1L First Semester Grades ... if you have scored so low on your LSAT/uGPA that you have to pay full freight to go to a school like GGU or Cooley or *shudder* an unaccredited law school, don't go. Really. There is no possible world in which the risk-reward ratio can possibly make sense, absent some unusual circumstances (your grandfather's will states that you will get ONE BEEELEON DOLLARS when you get the JD). Just look at the numbers. Look at the debt.

Now, if you're looking at scholarships (and pay attention to the terms of the scholarship!) that advice may change. But for generic advice- there's a metric ton (or imperial ton, if you prefer) of attorneys applying for every job opening. The employment rate for newly-minted JDs is *worse* than that of English undergraduates. So, please consider things very carefully. Many people believe that they are the unique and special snowflake that, despite the cruddy GPA and LSAT score, will make it on to a journal and/or moot court, and graduate at the top of their class. But the past is prologue.

Current Law Students / Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« on: December 10, 2015, 07:23:26 AM »
It all just comes down to a bit of common sense. If you get a J.D. and pass the bar you can get a job practicing law, but your first job will not be ideal. However, that is the same in any profession.

I think law might be one of the few professions were people a large amount of people enroll to give up three years of their life and $100,000 of money to do something they don't want to do.

Just to quickly review.

1. It's not common sense. There's, like, actual numbers for people to use.

2. It's not $100,000. The actual costs of attending these law schools is much higher- expect (to use Golden Gate, for example) $260,000. The average cost of tuition alone (not including cost of living) at *state* schools is $25k a year. The average cost of tuition (not including cost of living, books, and other expenses) is over $45k a year at a private school.

3. This entire idea is premised on the concept that you get that first job. Again, the idea that a person can *because common sense tell you that there are jobs in South Dakota* doesn't cut it. The actual numbers (and everyone's actual experience) shows you that your outcomes in terms even getting a job vary widely depending on the school you graduate from.

4. So, it is imperative that a person be able to understand their ability to practice law prior to making to making the decision. Despite what CityLaw keeps saying, both "common sense" and actual statistics show that far too many people graduate with no ability to get any job that requires a JD and massive amounts of debt that will haunt them for the next 25+ years. And that's not even taking into account those who go to law school and still have UG debt.

Current Law Students / Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« on: December 05, 2015, 06:26:39 AM »
So many quick things-

"That is my overall point I suppose and why I don't like stats, because it negates common sense."

O ... M ... G. Yes, and that's exactly why statistics are useful (or, as so many people who go to law school say, "I didn't know that there'd be math!"). So-called common sense is neither common, nor sensical. What a person believes to be true (from their own anecdotal information, from what they see in the media, and from what friends tell them) isn't as valuable as, well, numbers. Do outliers exist? Sure. But how do we know, for example, what the odds of getting a federal clerkship if you go to Golden Gate are- well, there are numbers on that, and they influence your decision. You don't ask Uncle Bob. Same with everything. Problem is, people suck at evaluating decisions. For example, people overestimate their chances of getting killed by extremely unlikely events (shark attacks, terrorist attacks, and so on) and underestimate their chances of dying as they most likely will (car accident, heart attack, cancer). Numbers (real numbers) help. Common sense doesn't.

"Each form of school is a risk even Med School plenty of people fail out of that or don't make it through residency etc. There are plenty of people that regret every enrolling in Med School.
What it all comes down to do is common sense and a brief reality check. Law school is not a golden ticket, but there are no other golden tickets either."

Please, just stop with this. For anyone reading this- if you have are choosing between Law School and Medical School, and you have the ability to do both... go to medical school. Period. No, there isn't a 100% guarantee. You could die. You could become a drug addict during residency. You could decide you hate being a doctor. Of course, there are equal risks (if not greater) with going to law school. And the upside is much greater. Period. While there are cases that this won't apply to (brilliant mind, but comes from a family of lawyers and will take over an established and thriving family practice, say) ... that person will already have *actual reasons and will not be debating the question*. No, nothing is guaranteed, and medical school is very tough on you, but it is pretty much guaranteed employment at a good income for the remainder of your life. When you write that there are "plenty of people that regret enrolling in Medical school," I can 100% guarantee you that the number of people in that category is < the number of people that have regretted law school. By a large, large, large degree.

"That person is probably capable of passing the bar and getting a job at a P.D's office somewhere, which is that person's passion as you state."

No. That's what you keep missing. Many of these positions just aren't as available as they were. And many of the people applying have no idea what a PD does. It isn't all of this glamorous, "I'm going to defend a client falsely accused of murder." It's, "How do I manage 500 cases, knowing I'll get to meet the client for 10 minutes, and try to move my caseload with the most plea deals, so that, if necessary, I can occasionally take one of these to court - knowing that I won't be able to get any resources to fight the prosecutor?"

Instead of saying, "It's all out there, follow your dream." Try and be real. Courts are open. A person should sit in and watch proceedings for a few days. Not a murder trial. But a foreclosure docket. Some minor criminal proceedings. Bail hearings. Then that person should realize that (if they go into litigation) that this is *the most exciting part of an attorney's job*. They should understand what due diligence and discovery entail. They should talk to a few practicing attorneys in transactional and litigation.

Then, assuming this is a job they want to do (and for some people, such as us, it really is!), they need to evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as their likelihood of success. If a person is paying full freight at Golden Gate- that is just not a good investment in their future. Period.

Current Law Students / Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« on: December 04, 2015, 10:06:11 AM »

 I will be the first to say that your uGPA and your LSAT score are the full measure of a person.

Are not the full measure of a person.

Why can't we edit out posts!!??!!

Current Law Students / Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« on: December 04, 2015, 10:04:31 AM »
And I'm going to expand on this, and why I get frustrated that, despite our areas of disagreement, I think you continue to be overly ... cheery when it comes to people thinking about law school.

It is very difficult for a person to estimate how they will perform in law school, and in the law profession. I will be the first to say that your uGPA and your LSAT score are the full measure of a person. That said, they do measure *something.* There is some correlation between your LSAT score, for example, and how you will perform in school and on the Bar.

If a person cannot even score a 150 (for example) on the LSAT, that person should be seriously thinking about why they are going to Law School. Because getting into a law school isn't the battle- it's success at the law school, it's passing the Bar, and it's getting a job as an attorney in what remains a difficult market. Remember- the *nationwide* unemployment rate for new JDs *nine months after graduation* (and this is all jobs, including flipping burgers) has remained about 10% since the beginning of the great legal recession. And it hasn't looked like it's going to under it.

In addition, my anecdotal experience is that, if anything, a JD makes it more difficult to get hired in many non-legal fields. Having spoken to some of the alums from my school who were not as fortunate as I was, I have heard variations of the same story when they have interviewed for non-legal positions- "Why aren't you working as an attorney?" "What happened?" Many non-legal employers view JDs as more expensive as other hires, more likely to cause "problems," and failures if they weren't employed as an attorney (this is different if you've worked and you're choosing to leave the profession, fwiw). There are people I've known that omitted their JD from their resume in order to get employment.

And all of this is why I get so discouraged. I love the law. I love practicing the law. I have a hearing this afternoon that I am going to just dominate in (it's possible that the judge might be wrong... heh). Last night, the appellate court just cut & paste my brief and vacated the lower court's order. I live for this. But this isn't for everyone. I saw people who worked with me at BigLaw who are still doing due diligence and discovery, and have never taken a deposition- they get money, but hate their jobs. I know classmates who have left the profession in order to write books. One of the people I know, who worked in the PD's office and was as good an attorney and as good a person as you will ever meet, just up and quit because she could no longer, in conscience, continue to do a credible job for her clients with the caseloads and resources the state gives her. Seriously- she worked harder than a second year at Cravath, and it never ended. And that's the point- practicing attorneys, we are the successful ones! We are the ones who made it. And this isn't for everyone.

So we need to be very cautious about giving optimistic advice to people. If you're not going to a top school, or you don't have a free ride, a 0L needs to seriously consider whether law school is right for them.

Current Law Students / Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« on: December 04, 2015, 08:53:13 AM »

You could go on and on and poke holes in any stat, including job placement for law grads.

Frankly, everyone I know that graduated with me 4 years ago is employed.


I snipped the rest because this perfectly encapsulates the difficulty you are having. The conflation of statistics and anecdotes, and why each has their purpose.

Let's take this one- Personally, everyone I knew well at law school my year passed their Bar on the first try and had no problem finding a job.* Then again, I was heavily into the Law Review at a T50 school, so my law school friends were my law review friends and it was a good school. My anecdote doesn't really help other people.

On the other hand, everyone I knew after that wasn't getting jobs. But that's because I was working with the alum office with people that weren't getting jobs during the greatest legal recession our country has seen.

So if I was to say either that everyone gets jobs (based on first-hand knowledge) or that no one gets jobs (based on first-hand knowledge) that would be wrong.

Where statistics often go wrong is when they are used to prove something. Take a bunch of stats to show, definitively, that X School is the #18 Law School and Y School is the #22 Law School. Or that these specific factors make a city the best place to raise a family. But what shouldn't be wrong is the underlying statistics. What is unemployment rate in that city? What is the population?

You keep making generalized statements about the employment rate (well, it's probably wrong). But here's the thing- it isn't. They do it nine months after graduation (that takes into account the Bar Passage rate). Sure, sometimes there are ways to game any stats- after years of suspiciously high employment numbers at some schools, they started looking at school-funded positions (the school hiring people, or funding jobs, in order to make their employment statistics look better). There are also the government's statistics on employment for JDs, which I have also cited.

And that's what I keep returning to. Both of us agree that people need to be better informed. But part of that information is a clear picture of what is really going on. Not your anecdotes; not my anecdotes; not the school's brochures; but the real statistics and probabilities of what will happen.

Put it this way- law school should be a passion (as is the profession), but it's also an investment in your future. Would you tell people to invest $260,000 based upon your anecdotes that, "Hey, it worked out okay for me and some buddies," or would you expect people to actually look at how the investment has performed with, you know, numbers? Statistics? Annual rate of return? Likelihood of success? Because the problem with law schools isn't that people are overly pessimistic about their chances; it's the exact opposite.

*With one medical exception.

Current Law Students / Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« on: December 02, 2015, 02:12:51 PM »
Again, I agree with everything, but not the numbers there are far more than 21% of Golden Gate Graduates that passed the bar working in law-firms right now.


If your open to moving to Mendocino County to be a Child Support Attorney and get your feet wet, because you really want to be a lawyer you can go on to make a living as an attorney.

Two quick points. Statistics aren't everything, but ... I have seen you make this argument before, and you've never backed it up with anything. The statistics I see back up my anecdotal knowledge of the job market, as I have worked with law schools, worked with law students looking for jobs, and have hired for law firms. Stating "statistics are wrong" doesn't quite cut it.

Next, the point you miss is that even undesirable job opening are hard to find. Those PD positions, for example, usually require 1 year of experience ... from? And even when they are posted, they are oversubscribed. And if you get them, remember what I said about debt? Yes, you can work in public interest for a long while for loan forgiveness, but you *should be aware of that going in.*

I could never, in good conscience, *with the market as it is today*, recommend that someone go to a school like Golden Gate paying full freight. I just couldn't. If they lack the requisite abilities (given the current climate) to score well enough on the LSAT to go to a school like that on a significant scholarship, they need to seriously consider why they are going to law school. Because this is a gigantic investment. You don't normally tell people, "Hey, spend $260,000 and three years of life, and maybe you can find a job you don't want in a place you don't want to live for a salary that you could have received without the investment ... and that's if you're one of the lucky ones."

Current Law Students / Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« on: December 02, 2015, 12:35:51 PM »

Allow me to illustrate with one of our former examples. If someone who is 14 years old tells you that they will play in the NBA, a person could reasonably note that this is a very difficult career path. Now, that doesn't mean it's impossible- some people, quite clearly, do make it! But perhaps that path is not for everyone.

So let's take generic student thinking of attending Golden Gate University (to use one example). Absent scholarships, his expected debt at graduation is approximately $260,000. After graduating, he has an approximately 21% chance of working at a law firm, an 8% chance of working for the government (this includes PD jobs), a 10% chance of working for some type of "school-funded" job (the school pays money to make their employment stats look a little better), and a 0% chance of a clerkship with the state of federal judiciary (really- they haven't placed one recently). They have roughly the same chance of being unemployed as being employed at a job that requires a JD. And, remember, that most of those JD jobs will make it hard to pay back the debt that was incurred.

The trouble is, a lot of people believe they are the unique and special snowflake. Here's the thing- unless someone was offered a free ride to Golden Gate, in this climate, *there is no way they should go there.* None. The debt/reward ratio doesn't make sense. But every year, 0Ls go there at full freight, get deep into debt, and graduate and either aren't employed in the legal field are struggle for years to repay their debts on low legal salaries. 

That's just common sense. You don't have to have a 180 and go to HYS to be an attorney (especially if you've seen the level of practice we've all seen). But you do have to properly value the money and the time to get the degree, and try to decide if, in the long run, it will likely be worth it. Some attorneys (me, you, maintain) find a high degree of satisfaction in their jobs. Others hate it. Prior to the 2007 correction, things were a little different; but, in good conscience, the only advice you can give a student thinking of law school is to *seriously consider the options*.

Current Law Students / Re: 1L First Semester Grades
« on: December 02, 2015, 08:00:41 AM »

But let's look at the specifics. I happen to know a lot about the medschool career path. But let me ask you- how many unemployed doctors do you know? Have you thought about why? Well, long story short, the AMA artificially restricts the number of openings. They run a match program for residents and med school graduates. In short, it's pretty much guaranteed employment. Maybe you might not become a dermatologist (cool fact- that's one of the hardest specialties to get into!), but you're going to work at a very good wage. Provided you don't wash out, and you don't hate being a doctor, it's a great investment. Period.

Becoming a pilot is similar. Now, a lot of commercial pilots really come from the military. Many people aren't aware that becoming a commercial pilot involves working at a commuter airline for many years making the equivalent of minimum wage- if you make it. But you know what the profession entails, and it's not hard to figure out.

The trouble with our profession is the combination of opacity, reputation, and supply. Let me go, briefly, through each.
Opacity- Most people don't understand what a lawyer does. They may have a vague idea from, say, Law & Order reruns or some other TV show. Or maybe it's just "three more years of not working after UG." But, assuming they even find a job, they don't realize what being an attorney really entails. If I had a dime for every 0L who said they wanted to be a "Mergers and Acquisitions Attorney" or "Human Rights Lawyer" then I could retire already. "Discovery" and "Due Diligence" are likely foreign concepts for them. The divide between civil and criminal law (and what that entails) or, even more importantly, transactional v. litigation or government v. private sector work? In house or firm work?
Reputation- Most people, again, have the vague idea that becoming an attorney gives you magical and increased standing in the community, just like a doctor, but without the blood and science. Eh ... not so much. Going to law school doesn't mean you magically get a corner office in LA or NY on the 42nd floor with a killer wardrobe.
Supply- There are too many JDs and too few jobs. Period. Even a public defender's job, now, is competitive. At the local PD's office, there were over 3,000 applications for a new opening (one to three years experience necessary) before they closed the process. No, it's not nearly as bad as it was four years ago- but it's still pretty bad.

And that's why I keep asking you not to post such optimistic assessments. I am perfectly aware that any career goal has its drawbacks; heck, think about getting a PhD in English with the goal of becoming a tenured professor! But people should very carefully consider the risk/reward ratio for law school. They should know that-
1. There is a decent possibility that they will never work in the legal profession (which means that if they go to law school, they should work their butts off).
2. It is an investment (which means that if they chose to go, they need to lower costs, unless they are going to a T14 school and are open to the possibility of working in BigLaw to pay off debts).
3. It is not glamorous (which means they should talk to a few practicing attorneys to get a feel for what actual practice is like prior to committing).
4. And they should never, ever, ever go with the vague idea that "A JD can be used for all sorts of things," or "I'm not sure what I want to do, so I might as well go to law school."

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