Law School Discussion

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Topics - jack24

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11
I generally agree with the law-school-defender bigs5068, that school is an investment that can pay off in the long term, and that effort is often a huge factor in finding success.

But I suggest you go through the decision like an equation, and see if you can truly make an informed decision.

Roughly, Financial Security after law school = Take home pay - Cost of Living (different depending on lifestyle and location) - Debt Payments.

Debt payments include tuition payments, lifestyle during school, and scholarships.   Those are all basically predictable and nobody should ever complain too much about that part of the equation.   Scholarships can variate a little bit, but most students know what they are going to get going in.

Cost of living can variate depending on where you are in life, but this is always unpredictable no matter what you do. 

Take home pay is usually influenced by your class rank, your job seeking efforts, the city you live in, the rank of your school, and the economy.

The rank of your school is pretty static, although some do change a lot over the course of three years.  However, you still have a good idea of what to expect going in.
You can predict your effort level (although some people vastly overestimate this) so you do have control in this part.
You have some control over the city you live in, but it's going to be affected heavily by the economy and the type of law you want.
Your class rank:  Yes, you have some control, but you cannot predict this worth crap.  Maybe you are put in classes with professors that you don't work well with, maybe your classes have the smartest students who wreck the curve, maybe you don't do well on essay finals, maybe maybe maybe.  Some might make the argument that anyone can do well in law school if they work hard and smart, but the fact is that NOT everyone does well in law school, and almost everyone does worse than they thought they would.

So look back at the equation
Financial security as a lawyer = take home pay (you really have no solid way to predict this) - cost of living (relatively set) - debt payments (easily estimable) 

So when people like me tell you to think hard before going to law school, we generally want you to consider whether you may have an option that includes a more stable and predictable future.  Law school is nothing close to a sure thing, and is a huge investment. 

I would recommend that you take the highly innaccurate income data from your school and cut those numbers by at least 33%.
If the average or median income level at graduation is 60,000, then consider whether or not you  can have the lifestyle you want and pay your debt payments while making an average of 40,000 over the first ten years.
(After the first ten years, the outlook will probably get better if you are any good at all.)

When you have almost no way of predicting an outcome it's ill advised to take on too much risk.  That is why law school is so different than other fields.  The investment is as high or higher than most other graduate degrees, but the predictability is insanely low.

Now you can estimate that you are special and that your income will be near the top of your class.  Unless you have previously measured your test taking abilities against your fellow classmates, you have no real idea whether or not you will be at the top of your class.  If you get a 180 on the LSAT, maybe you can be confident, but you'll have a scholarship or go to Yale anyway, so this doesn't apply to you.

That mistake of overconfidence is like going into debt to invest in a new company's stock because you "really feel like it's going to go up," and many stocks do go up. 

12
General Board / Computers in the classroom
« on: October 20, 2010, 12:42:29 PM »
Some professors say that it is their job to command the attention of the class, and if the class were engaging/demanding enough, very few students would surf the internet.

First of all, would the limitation of distractions really increase student performance/education?  Is there a correlation between computer use during class and test performance?  Is there a causal link?

Second, If a student can get good grades without paying attention, why should they have to listen?  Why do they have to go to class at all?

Finally, what do you think about having an internet free section of a classroom. (e.g., front three rows, left side of the class, etc.)

13
How is she even remotely qualified?

Are people hoping she'll be the republican candidate in 2012 just because they agree with her?
Why not choose Joe the plumber for VP?

Mitt Romney, who most people have problems with, is 20 times more qualified than Palin.

Anyone have an explanation?

14
General Off-Topic Board / Wii vs. PS3 vs. Xbox 360
« on: February 03, 2010, 04:34:49 PM »
Discuss.


15
General Off-Topic Board / For fun: How would you spend $1000
« on: January 26, 2010, 01:24:04 PM »
If you had an extra $1,000 what would you spend it on?  What would you buy if you wanted to spend the whole 1,000 on one thing, and then also what things would you buy if you broke it up into smaller amounts?

16
General Off-Topic Board / I hate this crap. How do I stay motivated?
« on: December 02, 2009, 10:33:15 AM »
So I'm nearly half way through law school now and I pretty much hate it.  I understand some people love it, but I don't.
If someone offered me 80k to go back to my old career I would probably drop out.
I liked working last summer, and I'm excited about my upcoming job, but school is terrible.

Most of the material is boring, and there's not a lot of time in most of my classes (especially con law) to have good discussions about issues.
Class time is only remotely related to the final.  Most of the time I do just as well or better on finals when I focus on supplements rather than class notes and cases.
Class time is even less related to passing the bar (according to my graduated friends)
Most people say that law school doesn't really even prepare you to work as a lawyer.

I mean, the "learn to think like a lawyer" justification really only works for the first semester or year.  Now I just get to spend ridiculous amounts of money on books and tuition in order to sit in class and listen to some teacher talk about whatever the hell they want, and in the meantime, most firms in my area aren't hiring.

I'm in the top third of my class, but I have really no chance of cracking the top 10 or 20%.  (Statistically it's very difficult especially since the upper-division curve is higher)

So how do I stay motivated?  Would it really kill me to just get Bs and move on with my life?  Is there some higher purpose to law school that a lowly unbeliever like me doesn't understand?

17
General Off-Topic Board / Recommend a Smart Phone please.
« on: November 09, 2009, 11:47:56 AM »
My contract is up and I need to get a smartphone.

Price is the top consideration. I don't need a lot of minutes, but I need text and sync to gmail.
I'd like a full keyboard, and a decent camera.

I have no preference in:
keyboard type (touch vs. regular tactile)
provider (all provide great coverage here)
brand
operating system


18
General Board / Would you pay to go to class if taking finals was free?
« on: November 04, 2009, 12:33:05 PM »
Comments?


I would only pay for the first semester.  After that I'd take my chances with the free option.

Also, I understand this option will never be available

19
General Off-Topic Board / Argue with Jack
« on: October 26, 2009, 10:16:42 AM »
Once upon a time I came to this board to cure my intense boredom.  The recession was starting to come on strong right before I came to law school, so I had a lot of extra time at my paper pushing job.  I'd come on this board and say something that most people here wouldn't agree with, and then basically get destroyed by the likes of Dash, Katy, IrrX, Matthies, and the Bill Rambis guy.  I'm sure that my opinionated posts cast me as more extreme than I actually am, but I'm certain that my views are mostly in the minority on this board.
But I need something fun to do today to get me through a few boring classes, so I'd like to pick a fight.

Feel free to disagree with one or more of the following statements.  I may not be the most clever message board fighter, but I'm pretty persistent.

1: The US should legalize marijuana. (Maybe I'm no so much in the minority here)

2: The US should legalize prostitution.

3: The US Should not recognize/legalize gay marriage.

4: The Law should protect unborn fetuses from conception forward. (With a few exceptions for extreme cases)

5: About 70-80% of the time spent in Law School is a complete waste.

6: Everyone should have access to necessary medical care, but the government can't be in charge of making sure it happens.

7: Video Rental stores should be able to edit movies for content and rent the edited versions.

8: Juveniles accused of felonies should not be able to waive miranda.

9: Economic strategies are the best way to combat global climate change.

10: Natalie Portman is the most beautiful woman on the planet.

20
General Board / Can you recommend good 2L supplements??
« on: August 27, 2009, 01:02:33 PM »
Can anyone recommend good supplements for these classes? (preferably nutshell or small hornbooks)

Constitutional Law
Federal Taxation
Secured Transactions
Business Associations

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