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Author Topic: Scared to return to law school... Not sure where to go....  (Read 2315 times)

returntostl

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Scared to return to law school... Not sure where to go....
« on: January 20, 2008, 04:02:15 AM »
I have been seriously thinking about going back to law school lately... Five years ago, I started law school at a T25 (with a partial scholarship). I was twenty years old, and I missed orientation entirely because I was in the hospital giving birth to my daughter. Needless to say, I dropped out within one semester. Fear of debt, missing too many classes, not having childcare, overall immaturity -- all reasons that I left.

I'm thinking about going back now that my daughter will be attending kindergarten, but quite frankly, I'm scared. Last time around was such a complete disaster, not to mention that I'm still sort of against taking on more debt. I already have 50K in undergrad debt as it is.

Do you think I should attend a good school and go in debt, or take a scholarship to a lower-ranked school or just go to my state school (which is actually in the top 30)?

Hammerstein

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Re: Scared to return to law school... Not sure where to go....
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2008, 10:50:56 AM »
I have been seriously thinking about going back to law school lately... Five years ago, I started law school at a T25 (with a partial scholarship). I was twenty years old, and I missed orientation entirely because I was in the hospital giving birth to my daughter. Needless to say, I dropped out within one semester. Fear of debt, missing too many classes, not having childcare, overall immaturity -- all reasons that I left.

I'm thinking about going back now that my daughter will be attending kindergarten, but quite frankly, I'm scared. Last time around was such a complete disaster, not to mention that I'm still sort of against taking on more debt. I already have 50K in undergrad debt as it is.

Do you think I should attend a good school and go in debt, or take a scholarship to a lower-ranked school or just go to my state school (which is actually in the top 30)?

I'm sorry to hear that last time things didn't work out too well.

But, in response to your question, I would encourage you to reflect on the reasons you want to go to law school.  Since your daughter is in kindergarten now, it seems probable to me that you'd have more time to do the work.  Nevertheless, is it worth it to you?  Do you have a career goal that requires a law degree or do you feel that you ought to just "finish" what you started back then? 

Since you already have $50,000 in debt, it's pretty clear that you'll either have to work yourself or you should be sure that your husband/significant other has a stable (and, preferably, fairly recession proof) job, so that you can pay off what will be likely over $100K in cumulative debt. 

The point is -- unless you need the degree, I'd carefully assess your debt load and consider if it's in your best financial interest.  Since you have a daughter right now, that would probably be my biggest concern in your case.  In addition, you should also consider if a law degree will get you where you want to go, and, if so, then consider where that place is.  If it's a very high position (BigLaw, prestigious government, etc.), then a top school is preferable, but then again you will see your daughter less.  Your state school will probably not place as well at the top end, but you will save money there, and that might be more important.

I don't know if that helps, but I wanted to lay out your options a bit to offer some food for thought.  Personally, if I was in your situation, I'd not get a JD, unless I was absolutely certain that I wanted to be a lawyer, and I went into law school realizing the downsides (most notably a difficult job market and less time with your daughter, since you should be studying a good amount).
CLS 2011.  All done.

returntostl

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Re: Scared to return to law school... Not sure where to go....
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2008, 05:39:12 PM »
Thanks for the advice. Debt is definitely a huge consideration. My husband is a senior internal auditor, so he does have a pretty stable job. However, the only reason I want to return to law school is to become a prosecutor/Assistant District Attorney. I have very little interest in private practice. I've considered other careers, but I honestly can't picture myself doing anything else.

The difficult job market IS a concern. I applied to my local district attorney's office and got rejected for even a secretary position. They rarely have openings for actual prosecutors. I did look at other cities, and they seem to be just as competitive. IS it hard to get even a public interest law job these days?

vjm

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Re: Scared to return to law school... Not sure where to go....
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2008, 12:20:20 PM »
I bet you have developed a lot of useful skills from raising a child which could make law school a whole different experience the second time around. Time management, patience, focus, a broader viewpoint, etc.

If you have a good safety net for those times when your daughter is sick/ off school, or you are drowning in work, I think school becomes a lot more possible.

A school with a great LRAP program might make the debt easier as well.

Good luck in whatever path you choose to pursue!

vap

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Re: Scared to return to law school... Not sure where to go....
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2008, 08:33:24 PM »
Thanks for the advice. Debt is definitely a huge consideration. My husband is a senior internal auditor, so he does have a pretty stable job. However, the only reason I want to return to law school is to become a prosecutor/Assistant District Attorney. I have very little interest in private practice. I've considered other careers, but I honestly can't picture myself doing anything else.

The difficult job market IS a concern. I applied to my local district attorney's office and got rejected for even a secretary position. They rarely have openings for actual prosecutors. I did look at other cities, and they seem to be just as competitive. IS it hard to get even a public interest law job these days?

Sounds like you've answered your own question about debt.  No reason to take on substantial debt if you're seeking a lower-paying job.

TRad

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Re: Scared to return to law school... Not sure where to go....
« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2008, 02:57:25 PM »
If you're thinking public interest law check out this website:

http://www.equaljusticeworks.org/resource/ccraa

federal loan forgiveness

HippieLawChick

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Re: Scared to return to law school... Not sure where to go....
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2008, 01:10:06 PM »
Thanks TRad...you read my mind.  Here is an explanation of what TRad is inferring:

THE CCRAA provides that those with low incomes and high loans (in any area of law) can pay their loans back using Income Based Repayment.  (See the EJW website for the formula, but suffice it to say that a person with $110,000 in debt and income of $40K would pay about $350 per month on loans, as opposed to $1,100 without this program).  After 10 years in a public interest (includes gov't and non-profits) job, you get the remaining balance forgiven.