« on: May 25, 2005, 10:21:35 AM »
Ok dude, seriously if you are going into law for the money, you are making the WRONG choice. Do you know what it means to practice law? Lawyers who make 125k starting or even 70 80 or 90k are all working 70 hr weeks. Interacting with other smart people? Well, doing transactional work you are sitting at a desk pouring over paper work and drafting legal documents for business clients. When questioned, 50% of lawyers would not recommend their children pursue law. Career dissatisfaction and depression is higher among lawyers than almost all other professions. MBA make a lot of money too. Do you actually like law? I mean, I wouldn't mind pulling in 125k either, but I know what costs are associated with it, do you? Plus to get one of those jobs is entirely dependent on first year and to a lesser degree 2nd year grades. As a general barometer most 1st tier schools you'll need to be in the top 25% of your class to even land an interview at firms that dole out the serious cash. The top 14 schools you basically only have to graduate to get a biglaw job, but I wouldn't bank on getting into one of those unless you are sure you can easily break a 165 on the LSAT. You were looking at top five and were like, oh I guess NYU would be ok. Well, top five I hope you've done some really really extraordinary things. Perhaps you've started a non-profit, a business, or been very involved in implementing a well know community project. My best friend has tons of school activities, including class vice president, a 3.7, a 169 and didn't get into pen, harvard, chicago or Georgetown, although he did make it into cornell. What I'm saying is that yes you can get into these schools without the numbers, but you better have done something extraordinary (or at least extremely unique) and have a much more convincing argument in your personal statement than, gee gosh lawyers make some dough.
I would suggest setting up informational interviews with lawyers at firms in your area. Its not that hard and I've never been declined for any informational I've ever requested. Make sure you want to be a lawyer, and not just what you think it means to be a lawyer. Be sure you actaully know the work, because I can assure you, unless you've been exposed to the practice, its not what you think. Its like any office job, but longer hours, and more complex. It can also be very different than that, but not if you plan on taking down 125k your first year (or even after 10 years for that matter). Then get into the best school you can. Most importantly, if you end up applying to schools outside of the illustrious top 14, be aware these schools are regional and your job prospects will not carry far, if at all, outside the region. The lower ranked the school, the more regional it becomes, for the most part. Know where you want to live.
Also what should you do. Find out where you sit on the LSAT now. I waited until two months before taking the test, while working a full time job, studying in the evenings, every evening. My best was 164. Believe me, once you find out where you lack on the test, you are going to hit a plateau and that'll be your score. You aren't going to be able to break it without some intensive focused coaching, and this will take time and strategy. I would suggest getting started on the LSAT to know where you stand and what kind of improvements you need to get at LEAST a 165. You really should be shooting for 170 though. Princeton Review cracking the LSAT is a good place to start, but donít count on it if you are not ďthat smartĒ to help you very far. If improved my score, but I could have done more work thatís for sure. Its going to take more than a book (although start there) and practice tests (i took 13 full practice tests). No matter how hard I tried, logic games always stuck me at about 15 and in order to get a 165+ that was unacceptable, but I couldn't break it, and I no longer had the time. I would suggest buying that book and working through it along with your other course work next semester. Then use the next semester to fine tune the trouble spots by purchasing additional materials for the section(s) that are f-ing you. (most likely logic games). Or do both of these in the same semester, whatever you can handle. Then take the LSAT.
If you don't have the GPA 3.7+ and the LSAT, you need to be extraordinary in your personal life, which most of us aren't. You almost need to do both, but if you have the high numbers, schools want to see leadership. Get involved on your campus, and get in a position where you are a leader and a decision maker. If nothing else, it should give you something to write about on your personal statement. And for the sake of Christ figure out what you want from a law degree. If you don't know what you want, all you'll have is a paycheck and no time to spend it. That'll get you one place fast. It'll put you right up there with all the lawyers who warn their kids at all costs about becomming a lawyer.
MBAs make huge salaries too you know. So do a lot of other careers that you donít go to law school for.