Law School Discussion

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Messages - Maintain FL 350

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21
Where should I go next fall? / Re: USD vs. Pepperdine
« on: August 04, 2014, 12:23:59 PM »
The above advice is solid, I would only add that you need to really consider location. Pepperdine and USD are both fine schools, but neither is so elite that you'll be able to rely on your pedigree to open doors. Connections and the ability to tap into the local market will be of great importance.

Simply put, Pepperdine will have better LA connections, and USD will have better SD connections. However, unless you graduate top of class you'll have to hustle to get a job graduating from either school. 

The cost of attendance at USD, however, looks considerably less. This is a HUGE factor. Personally, I'd go for the cheapest degree and then focus on making connections and getting a foot in the door of the local market. Longterm, that lack of debt will be important and will allow flexibility in the job search.

Another option: reapply and try to get a full scholarship to another school.

22
Law School Applications / Re: Law School Admission Options
« on: August 04, 2014, 12:02:27 PM »
Until you have an actual LSAT score and final GPA everything is pure speculation. As Miami said, 160-170 is a huge range and your law school options would vary quite a bit depending on your specific score.

That said, assuming you score a 3.0 and somewhere in the mid 160s you would have many options. Elite schools and the T14 are out. They have so many applicants with high GPAs and LSATs that there is no real incentive to take a risk on applicants with lower numbers.

Many respected regional and local law schools, however, would accept an applicant with such numbers. Once you get an LSAC GPA and LSAT score, my advice would be to think about where you want to live and how you can avoid debt. Once you get away from the elite schools rankings matter less and geography and connections matter more.

23
Law School Applications / Re: Looking for Advice, Please
« on: August 02, 2014, 12:55:25 PM »
As between UCSB and USD, law schools will not consider either to be significantly more prestigious than the other. If anything, UCSB is a tougher school to get into and a respected research university. It may therefore be considered little more prestigious generally, but it won't make any difference when you apply to law school.

Private schools are not generally considered more prestigious than public schools. Schools with highly selective admissions are considered prestigious, whether public or private.

24
Minority Topics / Re: Am I a Minority According to LSAC Standards?
« on: July 22, 2014, 08:25:43 PM »
You can always write a diversity statement and make your case, but I doubt if it will make much difference. My understanding is that it's not just about whether there are few lawyers from your specific group, but lots of sociological and historical factors weigh into the equation. For example, there probably aren't many white South African lawyers in the U.S. either, but a white South African isn't considered URM.

I don't think being Jewish/Russian/Persian is going to make any difference, as none of those groups are underrepresented as compared to their percentage of the population.

25
General Board / Re: Why Go?
« on: July 22, 2014, 08:17:30 PM »
what is their average rate of pay? Are they actually taking cases or just doing office manager/paralegal work at a higher billable hour?

Honestly, I don't know what the average pay is for my former classmates. Some are doing just fine and others are probably struggling. If I had to guess (and this is just a guess), I'd say that most who went to small/mid sized firms are now in the $60-80,000 range. About the same for those in government.

As far as the solo practitioners, the ones I'm in touch with say that it was tough at first but has gotten steadily better as they get more experience. I know one solo practitioner who did very well right off the bat, but I think that's the exception rather than the rule.

26
General Board / Re: Why Go?
« on: July 19, 2014, 01:34:37 PM »
Two years later, I'd say it's close to 100%.

It is  not very common for any job industry to have close to a 100% employment rate. I just have a hard time believing it is that good in a highly saturated field in the midst of a huge recession. Wow, I'd say that is pretty impressive if it is actually true....but what kind of employment is it? If a lot of those are unpaid internships, then no, I don't consider that real employment - no matter how great someone thinks their chances are of someday being hired permanent. Employment = paycheck.  Unpaid internships are a huge problem today, not just in law, but in other careers.

It's an estimate based on anecdotal evidence, I don't know what the specific number is. But two years after graduation, yeah, the vast majority of my classmates are employed as attorneys.

That doesn't mean that they're all making great money or working at swanky firms, but they are employed as attorneys (not LL.M students or unpaid interns).

Remember, I'm talking about two years after graduation. It took some people a long time to find a job, and for many they're certainly not working at their dream job. Some have great job that they love, some are slogging through insurance defense. Others tried to get hired at firms, had no luck, and hung out their own shingle. 

One thing that is different about law from many of the other fields mentioned is that you can always open your own office and start taking cases. Will it be hard to find clients? Yes. Will there be a learning curve? Yes. Will you make big money immediately? No. But it can be done, and you get better with time. If you know how to hustle and are willing to work hard, you can build up a nice practice. 



27
Where should I go next fall? / Re: FIU VS FSU LAW
« on: July 15, 2014, 04:59:17 PM »
Congratulations, FSU has a good regional reputation and the debt won't be too bad (comparatively).

I used to be on the other camp on this, but you know what, debt sucks.
If you can get into any Michigan school other than cooley odds are you have a 160 lsat. That is a free ride at cooley. Take the zero debt.
Employers may laugh at the degree, but you will have a spotless creditscore.

Seriously. I really don't think the average 0L has any idea what it means to be $150,000 in debt, or how low the chances are of scoring a high paying Biglaw job as a new graduate.

The fact is, the vast majority of even T1 law grads will not be making all that much more than their T3-T4 counterparts to start. I know tons of T1 grads who work at small firms and govt offices and are saddled with huge debt. Several of them have told me that they wish they had just taken a full ride another school. 

28
M / Re: Monterey College of Law
« on: July 11, 2014, 10:02:39 PM »
As long as the school is upfront and honest about the curve and attrition, I don't really have a problem with it. If the school is misleading or doesn't disclose its policies, that's completely different.

One way to look at T4 attrition, however, is that these schools are offering people who wouldn't otherwise have the chance to attend law school a shot at being a lawyer. Once the student matriculates, it's up to them to make the grades. I have no problem saying "You didn't get in anywhere else and we'll take a chance on you, but you've got to do your part."

The school is going to attrite the lowest performers in order to protect bar pass rates, and this should be clearly explained to the students at the start.

Attrition rates are easy to find, and prospective students should take the time to research this kind of stuff. 

29
General Board / Re: Why Go?
« on: July 09, 2014, 03:46:36 PM »
I don't think the stats are lying, I just think you have to understand how they're derived in order to make sense of them.

For example, my class graduated in May and began immediately preparing for the July bar exam. No one was looking for a job between May and August. Bar exam results are not released until November, and most grads aren't very employable until they have a license to practice law. So when the employment surveys were sent out in January, people had only had 7 or 8 weeks to really look for a job. As a result, the employment stats didn't look too good. I can't remember exactly, but I think something like 60-70% were employed as attorneys.

Two years later, I'd say it's close to 100%.

Not all attorneys are making big money, but they aren't exactly the working poor either. Based on purely anecdotal evidence I'd say that most attorneys I know/work with who have 10+ years experience are earning an upper middle class income. A few are rich, and I don't really know any who are struggling. Again, I'm talking about lawyers with experience, not new grads.   

30
General Board / Re: Why Go?
« on: July 09, 2014, 12:27:25 PM »
Troll? Maybe. I'll answer anyway, maybe someone will find the information useful.

Yes, the legal job market is tight but plenty of law grads find decent employment. Your first job straight out of law school may not be so great, but as Citylaw said it gets much better after you have a couple of years' experience under your belt.

Employment statistics have to be viewed in context. They are usually a snapshot taken nine months after law school graduation, when most grads have only just passed the bar a couple of months earlier and are looking for work. It's not a very good metric for gauging long term prospects.

I graduated in 2012 from a non-elite law school in a very crowded market (CA). Two years after graduation, the vast majority of my classmates are gainfully employed as attorneys. Some are with big firms making big money, some are prosecutors and public defenders, and some are solo practitioners.

If someone is a disciplined, motivated, and knows how to make connections they can absolutely have a successful career even if they don't graduate from Harvard. However, if someone is unrealistic, entitled, and doesn't know how to hustle they're going to have a hard time finding a job. I would imagine that this is true for all fields, not just law.

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