Law School Discussion

Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.


Messages - PSUDSL08

Pages: 1 ... 3 4 5 6 7 [8] 9 10 11 12 13 ... 52
71
Transferring / Re: NYU vs. top 20 school full ride
« on: August 01, 2007, 09:13:26 AM »
loans don't look so scary when you're making a $160,000 starting salary with all kinds of bonuses.  i'd much rather than the $160,000+ job with $100K in debt than start off at a medium firm with $80,000. 

So what if he figures out he doesn't want the biglaw job that starts at $160K per year. You're only looking at the best option for the OP without taking into account the fact (1) he doesn't necessarily want a biglaw job and (2) he doesn't necessarily want a career in law altogether.

And maybe the NYU waitlist students will be greatful, but I wonder how many of them have full rides to top 25 schools.

72
Transferring / Re: NYU vs. top 20 school full ride
« on: July 31, 2007, 08:39:33 AM »
When you go to a school like NYU, loans shouldn't be a huge problem.  You're virtually guaranteed to be making $160,000 a year if you choose biglaw and your loans can be taken care of rather easily.  If you go to a T20 even with scholarships you risk not doing too well and biglaw may not even be available to you.  If you're planning to do government work or public interest work then the scholarship may seem great but otherwise i'd recommend NYU.

ALso, if you ever plan to go into academics, your NYU JD will look much better than any T20 JD. 


I tend to be a risk averse person, so I think the best way to look at the situation is what would your situation be if you don't land or dislike BigLaw (worst case scenario), or decide you don't want to be in the legal profession altogether. Like you said, you're already considering an alternative career and you're not even done with school yet. Going to NYU will give you an advantage in seeking a Biglaw job, or if you want to head into teaching...but I feel as though it's forcing your hand into making a career choice based upon (1) paying off loans (2) the feeling that since you're going to a higher ranked school, that you need the "higher ranked job" to complement this move. I think that if you couple these things, you're adding another stressor to your life that is pretty much unnecessary.

Let's say you hate the biglaw atmosphere, and decide to go work for a mid sized firm, or choose to head into investment banking or international finance. You're looking at $100-120K in debt that would have been eliminated had you stayed put. That amounts to about $1K per month for 10 years. That's a lot of money to spend for what amounts to a marginally better opportunity. Think about what you can do with that money. If you invest half of that money you'd be paying in loans into IRA's, 401K, etc...you'll have a nice nestegg for retirement instead of making some bank money.

You seem to have a great quality of life at your current school (strong law school, friends, etc) and don't have to pay a dime in tuition. With zero debt out of school, you can really pursue a strong legal or business career with no economic pressure. Aside from an initial biglaw job, I can't see the NYU degree bringing you that much of a benefit...and like another poster mentioned, if you're at a top 25 school, NYC firms are likely recruiting there anyway. Your credentials at your current school definitely put you in the mix for biglaw and teaching positions.

If you were on a full ride at a lower T2 and down, I'd say make the move. But I think tackling debt, putting pressure on yourself to pursue a V30 job, moving back home, leaving a top 25 school and friends that you love isn't really worth it. Finish out at your school, enjoy the experience, and have the peace of mind to know that you are not bound to any job or profession once you graduate. Best of luck to you.

73
Transferring / Re: How to transfer???
« on: July 30, 2007, 06:22:40 AM »
I am going to be a 1L this year at a school ranked 37th and in a not-so-great neighborhood, safety-wise. I want to keep my options open for transferring to a higher-ranking school in the bay area so maybe Berkeley or Stanford. I am wondering if anyone knows the following: 1) if I should re-take the LSAT to get a score higher than 161 (my previous score) in order to transfer, and 2) any tips on how to transfer apart from the usual study hard, do well, etc. Thanks!!

There's a million or so of these threads already but I'll bite

1. Except for a select few schools, you don't need to retake the LSAT. It's a complete waste of time...which would be better spent studying instead of doing LSAT prep work. Stanford might look at LSAT's, but I'm inclined to guess that it wont matter much if you're doing really well.

2. Aside from the doing well thing, I'd say begin to get your transfer LOR's, personal statement etc going in March, and get your apps out early. Not that it will be a huge help, but at the very least, shows your interest.

 

74
Transferring / Re: Can't decide....stay at Tier 4 or go to T14?
« on: July 18, 2007, 06:57:27 AM »
Ok..maybe it's dumb...but here's my situation...
1L at Tier 4, top 1-2%, Law Review, scholarship, biglaw possible but only within local area.

In at Michigan (obviously T10), Law Review unlikely, no scholarship (so at least $40k more per year), regional and national, etc. etc.

Not sure where I want to practice yet, but aware if I stay at Tier 4 I will have no other choice but local.  Everyone (attorneys, family, friends) tell me Michigan, no question, and that I'm an idiot for agonizing over it. 

But yet I'm still conflicted.  Is it worth the debt? Any advice?

My friend from my old T4 school was in the exact same boat: ranked 3/160, Law Review, no scholarship, and liked the locality with which this T4 had the most pull. She kept reiterating that she liked the city and was "afraid to give up her GPA and law review status." I told her she was f-ing crazy and needed to go to Michigan. Needless to say, she's at Michigan, has a BETTER GPA than she did at my old school, wrote onto law review, and will be tutoring 1L's this fall. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that UM's OCI is ridiculous...where employers actually compete with eachother to plan interview times that fit with the candidate's schedule, and not the other way around. Moral of the story: go to UM and don't look back.

75
Online Law Schools / Re: Stop Hiding behind your ABA school...
« on: July 13, 2007, 06:50:18 AM »
What is so complicated about the law? You have lawyers in the United Kingdom who are lawyers on an undergraduate degree. You are not talking rocket science and the law is no more complicated than any other discipline. What is taught in U. S. law schools could be easily taught in a 4-year undergraduate program. Your credentials tell me that you donít have much faith in yourself since you have to hide behind academic credentials.
 


I never said the law was overwhelmingly complicated. I just said that the law is more complicated now than in the 1800's where the OP inferred that if Abe Lincoln could learn the law himself back then, that it's just as easy now. I agree that it can be done in a 4 year undergraduate program. The issue is do we want kids fresh out of high school trying to handle the rigors of law school? The dropout rates would be significantly higher for a multitude of reasons: (1) 18 yr old kids really don't know what they want to do yet...it usually takes a couple years of undergrad and even an entry level job before you know what career path you want to take. (2) maturity - can they handle studying on most weekends when their friends are out partying all the time, etc. (3) Risk/reward: provided you don't completely screw up, you can earn a college degree with a minimal amount of work. Are parents really going to encourage their teenagers to take out loans and go to law school when they could very well drop out or fail out, leaving them in the hole with no degree? The system may be costly and inefficient for some, but I don't see a reason to change it.

And aside from mentioning the fact that I transferred up, I mentioned nothing about my academic credentials. Please tell me how I'm "hiding" behind my academic credentials and how I don't have faith in myself..


76
Current Law Students / Re: Where does the bottom 50% end up?
« on: March 28, 2007, 05:47:45 PM »


why is it that so many bottom half T4 grads stay in school? False hope? Lack of candid advice after their first year of school?

All of those things, plus the American attitude that only losers quit something.

Agreed. Can't tell you how many people at my former T4 with top third grades and limited to no scholarships stayed put at the school for the sake of not wanting to move away from friends and the false belief that any JD is a good one


If having the JD hurts you in obtaining non-legal jobs b/c companies may be worried that you're going to bail for the first available job...I don't understand how this is possible for a strong interviewer who honestly and openly tells a potential employer that he/she is not interested in the law and finished the degree because they had already invested enough time and money into the degree to back out.
Quote
Can you truely honestly say that? I don't recall any people in my law school class who truly weren't interested in being lawyers. Law school had the opposite effect on me. Doing nothing but law school every day for three years really makes you gung ho about wanting to go out there and be a lawyer.

This also creates a whole bunch of negative inferences. Why did this candidate decide to do something and then change his mind? This guy will probably work here for a few months and then change his mind again and decide this also isn't what he wants to do.


While it's not likely for most, I wouldn't say that it's too farfetched for someone (especially an individual who has their parents covering the cost of the education) out of undergrad with no "real world" experience to have rushed into going to law school, finish their first year and decide to stick it out, obtain a 2L job and decide they would hate practicing law (or some other trigger causing them not to want to practice), and come down to a decision whether or not it would be worth it to quit after 1.5-2 years for one more year of entry level experience rather than finish the degree and see what "doors" it opens.

Yes the negative inference of "Why did this guy 'waste' so much time in law school" I'm sure crosses the mind of many employers looking at people with JD's who don't want to practice law. But I think when you mention an employer is saying "why did this person do something and change his mind", you're not taking into account when this person changed their mind. If I'm interviewing for a job in a corporation/govt, I'm going to focus on the fact that I made the decision not to practice law after working a 1L/2L internship/clerkship, yet decided not to quit something I had already invested so much time and money into...spin it around like the reason you completed your degree was because you set a goal for yourself.

Quote
Whatever the case, if you're trying to get a job doing X, there are a lot of other people also trying to get a job doing X, and most of the other candidates were probably doing something during the last three years which demonstrates their interest in X while you were spending the last three years preparing for an entirely different career. Nope, it's really hard to spin this as a plus

I'm 4 years removed from undergrad and attended a university (take a wild guess) with one of the top business schools in the nation. All of my friends that I know who attended the business school finished with above a 3.0 GPA...only reason I'm bringing this up is to demonstrate that there are no slackers amongst the bunch. I can tell you that with the exception of a few of my friends in specialized industries, namely business logistics, I can't tell you too many of my friends who (a) like/love their jobs (b) have progressed to management positions (c) have jobs that are so complex and time consuming that it would take a significant amount of time to learn the intricacies their positions. From my experience, other than mere seniority, the majority of people in their mid twenties working at companies haven't evolved to positions of power within the company that couldn't be reached or eclipsed by the right motivated person...enter law student

Now, I could see where the red flag would be lifted for a journalism major with a JD who all of a sudden decides he wants to enter the business world. However, for the case of an accounting major with a JD, who wants to go work for Ernst & Young...I think your argument has less pull

Quote
Yes, doing nothing at all for three years is worse than going to law school.

I just pushed the dates ahead on all my previous experience. Of course this limits your job possibilities to firms who won't check up on these things, but a surprisingly large number of firms don't bother with reference checking.

Duming down your resume is a common strategy if you appear "overqualified" for the job you are applying for. Do a Google search for dumbing down your resume. I plucked the following advice from a WSJ article:

The best advice is to contain the problem. One way is by dumbing down your resume so you donít seem so overqualified. For instance, we advised one customer to delete his Ph.D. in chemistry when he applied for jobs as a junior chemist.

Speaking of "dumbing down" a resume, it's pretty dumb to falsify dates of employment on your resume...and I must say that you got lucky. Any reputable company will check your references. I was employed at the North American HQ of the world's largest container shipping company. I got the job despite the fact that I was a Crime, Law, and Justice major, and despite the fact that I was specifically asked "whether I'm considering law school." My college jobs were far from great: basically a part time weight room monitor and pizza delivery boy. The people from HR called the owner of my pizza shop inquiring whether (1) I was reliable (2) I was on time for work (3) I was well liked and worked well with other employees. Definitely not the smartest move to fabricate dates on your resume during the hiring process, and it could impose future problems if your employer finds out 5 years down the road that you lied to get hired in the first place.

While pushing up the dates on your prior achievements might have scored you your current job, what advice would you give to someone with prior work experience who didn't feel comfortable about lying on their resume? And what advice would you give to someone with a JD fresh out of undergrad with little to no real world experience? These two sets of people will obviously have to fill in a three year gap without being ballsy enough to lie about when they obtained their prior experience, provided they had any prior experience.

In terms of dumbing down your resume, I can see where that is necessary if you're desperate for a job that you're overqualified for. If you have a chemistry Phd, you don't want to put this on a resume when you're applying for a junior chemist position. Same for someone with a JD who is applying for a full time paralegal position. But I don't see why it's necessary for someone, with a JD and a business degree, to feel the need to "dumb down" their resume when they have little to no experience in the industry and know nothing about how their potential employer operates.

Quote

Employers recognize, with some justification, that individuals who work below their competency level wonít realize their true potential and enjoy the work. They wonít be committed employees.

Employers would just as soon promote someone whoíll find the work challenging. Additionally, employers wonder whether you truly want to be on their payroll. Among their concerns: Why arenít you able to command the salary you deserve? How long would you stay with us? Wonít the work bore you?

You're making a lot of assumptions here: (1) that they're hiring you to do one job, and one job only (2) that someone with a JD, although bored with their entry level job, won't push themselves to take on more responsibility and realize their potential (3) that employers have two sets of salaries they believe a potential hire feels he/she deserves: a higher one for JD's and a lower one for everyone else.

Since I knew I was going to law school, I learned enough and did enough work to adequately perform my job. However, had my company been a career job for me, I would have taken advantage of conferences, classes, guest speakers that the company put on to educate individuals about the container shipping industry. If I mastered my current position (i.e. got bored), I would speak with my manager and encourage him to give me more responsibility...such as allowing me a minor management role in operating one of the less frequently used shipping routes. If that could not be done, I would apply to be transferred to a different department (like sales) where I could learn how that aspect of the business operates, master that position, then apply for management position...onto director...you get the jist.   

This is what a good friend of mine did, and now he's a department manager at a well known company making $90K in Pittsburgh.  He started with the same bad desk job that I had, and transitioned it into a challenging position with another company. It wasn't the degree itself that helped him...it was his eventual motivation that took him that far. In another example, my girlfriend's mother has a masters in child psychology..what's she doing now? Assistant VP at a corporation.

77
Current Law Students / Re: Where does the bottom 50% end up?
« on: March 28, 2007, 07:48:42 AM »
Why do you think this?  I never stop hearing or reading about the versatility of the JD.  What are your sources?

Personal knowledge of the job market. I have a JD and don't work in law, so I have firsthand knowledge of the fact that a JD does crap for you if you're not working in law.

I usually leave it off my resume because it's seen as a negative.

If you have a JD and you are seeking a non-legal job, the employer thinks

(1) This guy will leave as soon as he finds a job in law (and this one is HUGE if you're just out of law school, the kiss of death)
(2) He is overqualified for the job, because "everyone knows" that people with JDs make a lot more money than we're willing to pay
(3) This guy couldn't find a job in law so he is a loser, and we don't hire losers around here we hire only winners.

etc.

I'm sorry to shatter your illusions, but this is the truth.

A law degree will only help you if you're looking for very high level jobs, but those aren't the kind of jobs that people will hire you for without fifteen years of experience.

If you're looking for a generalist degree that's seen as a plus (albeit usually a small one) in any position, get an MBA. (Not that an MBA will magically open any doors if it's not from a top school, but it's not seen as a minus.)


Bob...if a JD doesn't really help you in "non-legal" careers...basically you'd recommend to pretty much everyone in the bottom half of their classes at T4's (except for those with family owned law firms and other connections OR those looking to do public service work) to withdraw? Since these people have will have limited legal job opportunities altogether, and will be at a disadvantage seeking non-legal work...then why is it that so many bottom half T4 grads stay in school? False hope? Lack of candid advice after their first year of school?

If having the JD hurts you in obtaining non-legal jobs b/c companies may be worried that you're going to bail for the first available job...I don't understand how this is possible for a strong interviewer who honestly and openly tells a potential employer that he/she is not interested in the law and finished the degree because they had already invested enough time and money into the degree to back out. If anything, I would think you could spin it by saying "look, I finished my JD, have no interest in law yet finished just to get the professional degree, and if anything, this proves that I will be able to learn the business quickly and in greater depth than the average person." I can see where an employer would be skeptical about (1), but I think this would explain away (3) in that it was a conscious choice not to seek legal employment. Also, for (2), couldn't the same be said for a Wharton grad who is seeking a $35K entry level business job, since his peers are generally starting out at $50K (I'm fabricating these #'s, but you get the point)?

Also, if many people with JD's seeking non-legal employment leave off the accomplishment of obtaining the JD from their resumes, how on earth do they explain in interviews what they did for the last 3 years? Wouldn't it look worse to say "I haven't obtained any work experience in the last 3 years" than by saying "I made a mistake in obtaining a professional degree, yet have learned a way of thinking that will help me be an asset to your business/company/firm"?

78
I've read quite a bit about the epidemic and it seems to be most prevalent in Corporate Law for obvious reasons. The most happy attorneys seem to be public defenders and prosecutors. I personally want to become a prosecutor, but the $51K starting salary a year doesn't seem too exciting especially with the law school debt. I would be making more as a police officer (because they have a strong union) and most officers around here just have a high school education. That is simply ridiculous.

On the other hand doing something like family law can get emotionally charged because many times you have to see the kids suffer as a result of your work.

It would be neat if both happy and unhappy attorneys would post on here and give us their points of view.

My father is an assistant homicide prosecutor in a crime plagued city, and absolutely loves his job because he knows that he is helping to put violent criminals behind bars. My father suffers from depression, and his first couple of years after graduating, his depression became so bad that he didn't work for 3 years. Once he finally got help, his first job was with a law firm. He absolutely hated it. He then opened a private practice,   and hated it. He eventually became a prosecutor, and it changed his life for good. Once a couch ridden depressed young man, he is now a vibrant professional who, 25 years later, loves getting up every day for work. He just put a gang member behind bars and received a letter from the mother of her murdered 18 year old son raving about what a great job he did and how they now pray for him and my father every day. It brought him to tears just knowing that he was able to help this family obtain some closure. He doesn't make a lot of money, but makes more than the average professional, has great job security...and in fact he said that he doesn't plan on retiring until his early 70's!

My friends father is a prominent real estate attorney in the same town in Northern, NJ. He makes a shitload of money, and when my friend mentioned to him that she was considering going to law school, he advised her otherwise. He has specifically told her that he hates his job but makes too much money to back out of it now. He just couldn't give up his lifestyle for the sake of having a more satisfying career.

The reason I bring all of this up, is that I've learned from this that I'm not going to put that much pressure on making money or having some big prestigious firm job. I will probably seek employment with a mid sized firm upon graduation as a learning experience. However, I'm not going to let debt, "prestige", or the possibility of being wealthy keep me employed in a job I hate. I think too many lawyers are hellbent on making the big bucks, and compromise their happiness for the sake of wealth and prestige. And even some of the financially successful lawyers might be depressed because they're not doing as well as they thought they would. I think these things lead to the depression, divorce, alcoholism, etc...that is so prevalent in our profession

If I can find a job where I make good money and love what I do, great. However, if I hate the firm life, I'm either going to hang a shingle or do some type of government work. If it means I'm only making $50K starting out, and can only climb up to $75K or so as a plateau...then so be it. The way I look at it is, I'd rather make the minimum payments on my loans for 30 years and enjoy life, than be like my friend's dad...unable to escape the drudgery of his job because he's grown accustomed to living a lavish lifestyle.

Speaking of depressing jobs...While I'm only 25, most of my friends my age, or a little older are stuck in crappy, dead end business jobs. The few of my friends without graduate degrees that actually like what they're doing aren't making much more than $35K. The ones that make more than that either openly admit that they hate what they do, or try to sugar coat what they're doing. I think the way to tell whether someone really likes what they're doing when they tell you they've found a "great career" is whether or not they actually provide examples of what they like doing (specific clients they've met with, who they've helped) vs. giving you a job description that you'd likely find on a company's vacancy website. For example, my friend got a job doing IT work for a pharmaceutical company, who when I asked him about his job, gave me a BS line that "It's a real professional atmosphere where I'm integrating their business information systems and coming up with integrative technological solutions for corporate problems"...which I translate as "I wear a shirt and tie to work despite being an IT female dog for my company...and the highlight of my week is when the hot girl from sales calls me when her Microsoft Excel crashes or when she can't locate a file on her hard drive"

79
Transferring / Re: 3.4 at T4 -- Where to transfer...
« on: March 25, 2007, 06:23:53 PM »
I'm a 1L at Suffolk Univ. Law School with a 3.4 after first semester (top 20%). I would like to stay in Boston next year, perhaps at BU or BC. Any thoughts on my chances? Is anyone familiar with BU/BC's transfer policies (i.e. are they transfer friendly?). I also gave some thought to Fordham, Brooklyn, American and GW. Any thoughts?

Not sure about the transfer policies at any of these schools, but I think without improvement, that BU/BC/GW are stretches...I think you need to be in at least the top 10% to get into one of those schools. Fordham might be a stretch as well, but if you can get up to top 15% you've got a shot. I'd say you have a good shot with American, and a very good shot at getting into Brooklyn.

If NY/Boston/DC are the areas you're considering, why not look at the following as well: Northeastern (#87); St. Johns (#80); Cardozo (#57). I'd say with your grades, these schools are likely a lock for you. Are there any other areas you'd consider relocating to?


NY and DC are the only other cities I'm interested in at this point. To be honest, I wasn't considering Northeastern; reliable sources have told me that NU is overrated and that, despite its lower ranking, Suffolk is a better school in the Boston market. Thanks for your advice / suggestions, however...

How well do UConn grads do in Boston? I know it's not Boston/DC/NYC, but I would imagine it would have a pretty decent rep in New England.

80
Transferring / Re: 3.4 at T4 -- Where to transfer...
« on: March 25, 2007, 05:21:41 PM »
I'm a 1L at Suffolk Univ. Law School with a 3.4 after first semester (top 20%). I would like to stay in Boston next year, perhaps at BU or BC. Any thoughts on my chances? Is anyone familiar with BU/BC's transfer policies (i.e. are they transfer friendly?). I also gave some thought to Fordham, Brooklyn, American and GW. Any thoughts?

Not sure about the transfer policies at any of these schools, but I think without improvement, that BU/BC/GW are stretches...I think you need to be in at least the top 10% to get into one of those schools. Fordham might be a stretch as well, but if you can get up to top 15% you've got a shot. I'd say you have a good shot with American, and a very good shot at getting into Brooklyn.

If NY/Boston/DC are the areas you're considering, why not look at the following as well: Northeastern (#87); St. Johns (#80); Cardozo (#57). I'd say with your grades, these schools are likely a lock for you. Are there any other areas you'd consider relocating to?

Pages: 1 ... 3 4 5 6 7 [8] 9 10 11 12 13 ... 52