Law School Discussion

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Messages - stateofbeasley

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1
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Any thoughts on Drexel?
« on: December 25, 2008, 10:31:02 AM »
I assume I'll be getting accepted to Temple and Villanova also, but do you really think people who take up Drexel on their offer are that thoroughly doomed?

Also, as I said, their first class has not yet graduated, so there are no employment statistics.

Drexel is a thoroughly bad choice for those who have Temple and Villanova as alternatives.  Keep in mind that Drexel's graduating class will be competing with a flood of people from Temple, Villanova, and Rutgers Camden.  And don't forget that graduates of Widener Delaware will be coming into Philadelphia as well.

Drexel Law has no reputation and no alumni network.  It's an extremely risky school for the cost in time and money.


2
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Is it worth going to a 2nd tier school?
« on: December 09, 2008, 07:33:42 PM »
Generally, I would say it is NOT worth going to a second tier school outside of the geographic area you want to settle in.

In my geographic area (Delaware Valley/Philadelphia), outside of T14 schools, everyone waits in line behind graduates of the three larger local schools (Temple, Villanova, Rutgers).  Even a degree from a respectable T1 like OSU or Wisconsin generally will not give you a leg up, as their alumni networks are not strong here.

Try to get into a law school (1) Where you want to settle down (2) Where you can get relatively cheap instate tuition.  Nothing sucks more than paying full price for law school and then not being able to find a job.

3
If you take your average tier 2 private school (Villanova for example), it costs over $120,000 in total, but only 10-15% of the graduating class is going to be making biglaw salary.  Maybe even less than that in these hard economic times.  A 1 in 10 gamble costing $120,000 is a foolhardy choice IMO. 

how much are the other 85-90% making? 

In the low 40's for small firms & state court clerkships. As low as 30k out in the far counties.  A friend of mine who went to 'Nova got an offer at a small firm for 43k/year, no benefits.  40-50k and lousy benefits are typical if you are lucky to land a small firm job. 

A lot of people can't pay off their debt and still live on 43k/year, so they end up working for an Insurance Defense sweatshop for 60k/year or review documents for large firms.  The ID sweatshops I've seen want 2200 billables per year, but people who have worked there will tell you that they cut your hours actually billed or even steal your billables and reallocate them to someone else in extreme cases.

At the smaller places you get the same abusive working conditions as the big firms, but without the pay or benefits.  Better to go into the government to get experience if you want to go out on your own later.

4
Avoid overpriced private law schools at all costs.

which private law schools are overpriced?  all or just some?

I think a law school is overpriced if there is substantial chance that a student at that school will not be able to find a job that will make school debt manageable after graduation. 

If you take your average tier 2 private school (Villanova for example), it costs over $120,000 in total, but only 10-15% of the graduating class is going to be making biglaw salary.  Maybe even less than that in these hard economic times.  A 1 in 10 gamble costing $120,000 is a foolhardy choice IMO. 

5
http://money.cnn.com/2008/12/03/news/economy/legal_industry/index.htm?postversion=2008120305

Quote
With $166,000 in loans and no legal job in sight, Rob Cox, 33, is beginning to question his decision to go to law school. He has expanded his job search to include other industries, but he sometimes finds his schooling works against him.

"My resume, which consists mostly of schooling and volunteer positions I held during school, is less than appealing to the type of companies I'm aiming for," he said.

For those considering expensive private law schools, don't fall into the debt trap like the folks interviewed in the CNN article. 

Law school is NOT worth the mortgage that this level of debt will put on your life. 

A debt at the $150-160,000 level means paying about $1000-1200/month to the loan company for the next 25 years.

And also, the debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.  If you default, the loan company and its collections agents can still come after you and your assets.

For most people, law school is a disastrous financial choice.  Avoid overpriced private law schools at all costs.

6
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Economy and Law School
« on: October 18, 2008, 03:10:50 PM »
I think more people will apply to law school if the general belief is that jobs will be scarce.  On the flip side, fewer people will probably be able to attend law school even if they get in because of the scarcity of credit.

Hopefully the credit mess will prevent people from going to law school at overpriced private universities that provide little if any value.  The easy money that was available in my era (2002 through 2004) resulted in far too many people accumulating 100k+ worth of debt for a TTT degree. 

I also want to add this:  People in my day went to law school when the economy was down.  We hoped that when we graduated, the economy would be booming and there would be lucrative jobs for all.  Sadly, this turned out not to be the case.  The anointed top 15% + law review got biglaw jobs, and the rest of us were left to struggle on 35-50k/year at bottom barrel firms or government offices. Many of us turned to document review out of financial desperation.  The crushing hours and low salary of the small firm and insurance defense sweatshop pushed many to the brink of disaster.

7
Reviews, Visits, and Rankings / Re: ABA the true villian
« on: October 12, 2008, 10:00:53 AM »
There are plenty more reasons to hate the ABA. 

The ABA continues to accredit new law schools despite the overwhelming number of new law graduates.

The ABA sanctions outsourcing of attorney jobs to foreign countries.  Why is it ok that Americans have to spend 7 years and tens of thousands of dollars AND pass the bar in order to practice law, when foreigners with no bar admission and often just an undergrad degree are allowed to engage in de facto practice?

The ABA does not require accredited law schools to submit their published employment data for independent audit as a condition of maintaining accreditation.  This so-called 'profession' claims to be self regulating, but it is clear that many law schools engage in deceptive marketing practices that are illegal in most states.

Despite what the ABA states about diversity, advancing the profession, etc, these people are not our friends.  They are little more than a lobby that advances the cause (increasing Profits Per Partner) of biglaw partners.

8
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Another Tier 3/4 question
« on: October 01, 2008, 08:35:52 PM »
That is exactly the problem. 99% of law students have no idea how to find a job, take away OCI and they have no clue what to do to find a job (see student side of this board for plenty of examples).

...
And that says something about the student and the future type of lawyer they will be. You don't make partner sitting around waiting for your school to hand you a new client.  You either make things happen or you sit around and wait for things to happen to you. The later is the default option for most people, as itís the easiest path.

What people fail to understand going into law school is that law is a business.  Most of my classmates just wanted a job.  Go to work, go home, read to the children and put them to bed.  What they didn't understand is that outside of the big firms, corporations, and government, you've got to make rain, even if you are the lowest person on the totem pole.

I'd say if you're not entrepreneurial or government oriented, a lower tier law school is an utter waste of time and money.  You are basically getting a degree so you can sit for a licensing exam so that you can start your own business.  If that's not what you want, forget law school unless you want to be a doc reviewer or ID toileteer.  It's useless.

9
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Thoughts on Villanova
« on: September 18, 2008, 08:27:16 PM »
What are your thoughts on Villanova, I know the USN ranking isn't great. It seems like a pretty solid T2 school career wise though, and they are getting a new building. From I've heard their current facility is quite bad. How would you compare it to say a Case Western or Pitt?

If you're a PA or NJ resident, Villanova is a ripoff.  Temple (for PA residents) and Rutgers (for NJ people) get you the same amount of prestige and job opportunities for far less money.  I would not recommend Villanova at full price to anyone, unless they are comfortable with having an 85-90% chance of paying $1,000+/month in student loans for the next 30 years without the benefit of a biglaw salary.

10
Where should I go next fall? / Re: Your job can be outsourced.
« on: September 13, 2008, 10:54:15 PM »
Of course, if people prefer to see themselves as victims of broader trends, instead of taking advantage of the many opportuntities they create, that's their choice.  I believe there's an entire political party in this country built around that mentality.

Unfortunately, the Libertarian party hasn't a chance in this year's election, although I think they can probably make gains at the local level.  Judging by the number of Ron Paul stickers I still see on bumpers, the Libertarians seem to have a good amount of enthusiastic supporters.

I don't think it's as simple as victim/opportunity.  Auto workers in Michigan, for example, may be older and have financial obligations that impede their ability to adapt.  How easy is it for an Auto worker to move or retrain, when he or she is 50 years old, has a kid or two in college, a mortgage, and other expenses? 

So you tell them to pack up and move where there are jobs.  Ok, but what about their house?  It's not easy to get rid of a house when nobody is buying and banks aren't lending.  Paying for retraining?  Retrain for what?  When much scientific and engineering work is outsourced, what is left?  And where's the $ for tuition going to come from when you've already got a family to support?

A young person like me can easily adapt to the global economy.  No jobs in my state, no problem!  I pack up my car and move.  I've got no kids, no mortgage, and no health issues.  I can go where I please, work where I wish, and pretty much take any opportunity anywhere.  I can easily reap the benefits of a global economy, but not everyone can.

Americans have to realize that there is collective as well as individual responsibility.  The whole "ME ME ME" culture of narcissistic glorification of the individual over all else has degraded the sense of collective responsibility, but that is a topic for another thread.

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