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Author Topic: Is anyone NOT in it for the money?  (Read 10869 times)

ogs918

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Is anyone NOT in it for the money?
« on: February 27, 2008, 12:47:14 PM »
Hi everyone. I'm new to the board but I'm feeling a little discouraged. I recently receieved my BA and am applying to law schools now. I already work in the legal field and feel that the only way I can find a job in my field that I'm satisfied with is to go to law school. No offense, but I'm tired of being someone's secretary.

I'm not sure of my chances of getting in (not-so-stellar UGPA or LSAT score, but good enough) but I'm going to give it a shot anyway. I have some soft factors that may weigh in my favor. But I'm not interested in applying to any T1 or T2 schools, and I've gotten nothing but flack about it. You can guess the main problem; everyone keeps telling me I won't be able to score a cushy big firm job with a JD from a T3 or T4.

The thing is that I have absolutely no desire to score that kind of job. I've worked in firms like that my entire adult life and they almost turned me off to being an attorney altogether. Doesn't anyone just do it for the love anymore? Or am I being naive?

Would it be worth it to me, financially or otherwise? I should note that I'm married and my husband has the breadwinner role taken care of. But I'm very unsatisfied career-wise and would love to give law school a chance. Not to mention, God forbid *knock on wood* something should happen to my husband and I have to rely on myself for income. I can't image that even the lowest-paying attorney jobs in my area (I live in DC) wouldn't be more than enough to make me financially independant.

(I'll admit, I'm a little daunted by the student loans. This is also weighing heavily on my mind)

vjm

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Re: Is anyone NOT in it for the money?
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2008, 01:08:24 PM »
I am absolutely not in it for the money, but I am planning on becoming a public defender. Because of my career goals, I know that my debt will be manageable, wherever I end up going.

I think it is worthwhile giving the whole debt/ probable income issue a thought. I mean, suppose something did happen to your husband (God forbid)? Would you be able to take care of your family and your debt on the amount you are likely to make? I am not pushing any specific answer to this question, since everyone's situation is vastly different. Broad statements like "Anything under T14 is not viable" don't help much, but neither does "You'll make it work! Don't worry about it!".

You should worry about it, we all should (even the T3 and T14 students among us). Do your research, and then make the best choice for you and your family.

I think it is great that you are considering transforming your life like this!

ogs918

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Re: Is anyone NOT in it for the money?
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2008, 04:59:29 PM »
Thank you for the replies.

As of yet, we don't have any children, so I'm not worried about not being able to take care of only myself if the unthinkable did happen. My debt is minimal already and law school loans wouldn't cripple me if I had a semi-decent salary after graduating. 

Also, I'm not worried about the competition once I get into school. I can cutthroat with the best of them. But I don't think I have the hard numbers to get into a T1 school, even with the soft factors.

I'm definitely trying to stay local. That would cut down on my expenses tremendously.

I have an idea of where I want to apply, it's just that in my spheres, people can be very Tier-conscious. I needed to hear that not everyone in the world is looking to make $160k right out of law school!

vjm

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Re: Is anyone NOT in it for the money?
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2008, 07:19:43 PM »
I was trying to imagine what it would be like if there was no rating system for law schools. If everyone just had to (gasp!) figure out what was important to them, research schools and go (double gasp!) to the school that they felt fit them best.

It was a great dream. Ignore the ratings whores.

Alecto

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Re: Is anyone NOT in it for the money?
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2008, 07:33:17 PM »
I am definitely not even looking to make any sort of six-figures right after graduating.  Ideally I'd like to clerk for a year before joining a firm.  A friend of mine is doing that now and you can make around $50k/yr working state government hours (37.5 hrs/wk).  Right now my husband and I don't even make that combined (I'm a grad student working my butt off way more than 40 hrs/wk, he's self-employed)!  I plan on going to a state school though, and hopefully he will make enough that I don't have to take out any loans for living expenses, so my debt will be much smaller.  I am really interested in PI, bioethics, environmental issues, rather than BigLaw.  Good luck with the decisions!  I wouldn't worry too much about the prestige thing; so much of the rankings are based on name recognition and selectivity.  I mean, I'm sure a lot of people with no chance of getting into a t14 school apply there "just to see" which makes the school look more selective and drives up the rankings. 

Breeca

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Re: Is anyone NOT in it for the money?
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2008, 11:04:43 AM »

I'm with ya!  I have gained loads of information from this site, but I have been very disillusioned as well.  I think going into a situation with your eyes wide open is always the best way, though.  I now know that when I start LS, I will need to have a plan in place for when I graduate (I thought I could just figure it out as I went along).  In addition to that plan, I need to have at least a couple of back-up plans worked out too.

Student loans . . . having a family and being a bit older has convinced me that I shouldn't go to a LS unless I receive a full scholarship.  That may mean that I can't go to my first choice or that I have to attend a lower ranked school.  Oh well.  I will come out of LS being able to make my own choices about where to work and what to do.  I won't be strapped to a loan payment for the next 10 years.  Actually, the school I like the best (for me) right now is a tier 4.  They are the only school that I have seen with a program that will allow you to get a joint JD/Master's of Wealth and Trust Management while working toward your CFP (Certified Financial Planner) certification.

*plan 1a* Ideally, I'd like to work only part-time  ::) in a bank trust department.  *plan 1b* I will work full-time if that is my only option though.  *plan 2* I could also see myself at a small firm specializing in trusts, estates, and wills.  *plan 3* If that doesn't work out, I am also interested in facilitating domestic and foreign adoptions. 

So, don't get discouraged.  There is a wealth of information here - take what works for you and leave the rest.
GPA: 3.5
Feb LSAT: 166

vjm

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Re: Is anyone NOT in it for the money?
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2008, 08:44:24 PM »
If you are interested in Environmental Law, this is from U.V.A.

http://www.virginia.edu/uvatoday/newsRelease.php?id=4332


Alecto

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Re: Is anyone NOT in it for the money?
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2008, 04:13:11 PM »
If you are interested in Environmental Law, this is from U.V.A.

http://www.virginia.edu/uvatoday/newsRelease.php?id=4332



Thanks so much!  That's encouraging.

HippieLawChick

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Re: Is anyone NOT in it for the money?
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2008, 11:05:26 AM »
Please look at the information on the Equal  Justice Works website on the College Cost Reduction and Access Act.  It was made law in September and provides two things:
1) Income Based Repayment for all college/grad school graduates, which make your payments on loans affordable
2) Loan forgiveness after 10 years of public interest, prosecutor or PD work.

This is only for federal loans though, and you have to do the Income based Repayment to get the most out out of the loan forgiveness.  People no longer need to go to top schools with cadillac LRAP's to get a decent deal on loan repayment.  Check out this info now - before you pick a school based on advice from people here.

epicac

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Re: Is anyone NOT in it for the money?
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2008, 03:20:49 PM »
Up until a few months ago, I wasn't sure what my answer was to this question.  I came across an article in the Economist talking about the poorest part of the world, in India, where a family of 10 lived in a space 1/2 the size of a US parking space.  Crazy, right?  Well the article went on to talk about how incredibly happy many of these people are.

I grew up around money, with money, and let me say that people with money aren't any more happy than the rest of the population.  If you have a reason to make lots of money, good luck getting it.  But for me, money won't make me happy.  Being productive and having a great family is what would make me feel fulfilled.

Sounds lame when I type it but that's how I feel.  ;)
riding a gravy train with biscuit wheels...