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Author Topic: Fiancee says kids or law school - pick ONE - advice please  (Read 9071 times)

lawislaw2000

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Re: Fiancee says kids or law school - pick ONE - advice please
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2008, 04:55:26 AM »
Basscadet, I'd like to chime in.

A) If this is a strictly financial decision in that you want to make more money, this is a no brainer... drop the law school idea now and don't look back. There is no way to justify three years and $100K for a marginal increase in salary. A couple caveats: if you do well on the LSAT and are able to get a full ride somewhere or if you are confident you can kick butt and finish in the top 5-10% depending on where you go, and get a Biglaw job to pay off the debt. But as you indicate, you are not a gambling man and keep in mind the vast majority in law school are there to do well.

B) If this is a more of a personal endeavor, then you need to weigh how much this means to you in terms of "completing" and "fulfilling" yourself vs. how much your fiancee means to you. If, when you are old and sitting on your rocking chair, would you regret having not gone to law school? If you feel this is the right decision, then I think you can convince your fiancee it can be done. You CAN raise a kid in law school. I've heard of people raising newborn in medical school, which is probably more grueling than law school.

I don't think you should go to law school if you want to test the waters to see it is right for you. I think even for a 21-year old out of college this is a bad idea, although many do. At this stage, you don't have that luxury and you need to decide yay or nay beforehand. If yay, commit and don't let up.

The bottom line, it can be done. The question is, can it be done by you?

Basscadet

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Re: Fiancee says kids or law school - pick ONE - advice please
« Reply #21 on: March 11, 2008, 10:11:30 AM »
lawislaw,

I am not a gambling man but I am an ambitious one. I do not intend to "test the waters" but simply try my very hardest for at at least half of the first year.  If it is evident that I am not capable of being in that top 10%, I will simply abandon the endeavor. Starting salaries at the local bigger law firms are well north of my current salary, and again, the ceiling that I am already bumping against in my current field will be raised.

We all know that everyone going into law school expects to be in that top 10% of their class. I won't know until I am there.

It will be something I will regret for the rest of my life if I don't get a higher degree, especially in a field that interests me.

34 is old enough that I have to take a hard look at the returns. If I go $80k in debt, will the salary differences between my current job and my lawyer job make it feasible to pay that off in an accelerated time frame? I don't have my 20s to burn off that debt...so I need to make at least $15k-$20k more a year, starting, to really make it worth it, IMHO.

One other thing that I really am interested in knowing is the summer clerkship positions. Is there enough money in those jobs to help offset the debt load? Or are these essentially $10-an-hour jobs?

tmeacham

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Re: Fiancee says kids or law school - pick ONE - advice please
« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2008, 11:02:54 AM »
"test the waters" = trying your very hardest for a semester and then quitting if you're not in the top 10%. If there is some real distinction between those, it is subtle beyond my ability to perceive.

The fact that everyone expects to be in the top 10%, only shows how unreasonable that expectation is.  I'm a little confused when you say you'll quit if you're not in such a bracket, but then you continue on to say that you will regret it for the rest of life if you don't actually get (finish) a higher degree. Will you regret it if you don't try or will you pursue a different degree if you don't make the top 10%?

There is a significant difference between not being capable of the top 10% and not being in the top 10%.

From what I understand of summer clerkships, at least the first year very few people get jobs that pay more than $10/hr.  I've wondered about that option too, but I'm not confident enough to ink it into my financial calculations.

L+C

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Re: Fiancee says kids or law school - pick ONE - advice please
« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2008, 04:47:42 PM »
Caught this thread late... I started law school at age 36 (T4 full scholarship), my fiancee and I married during the summer of 1L.  That same summer, we transferred to the west coast to a different law school.  The following summer we bought a house and remodeled it ourselves.  Our first child arrived  six months after that.  I went full time during 1L, and transferred to a PT program that offers night classes (it will take 3 1/2-4 years for me to finish and I may elect to not even practice.  The education was a priority, we have a great life... it can be done.

As for the investment, 4 years of not working and paying tuition during my prime earning years, it is a huge hit as I have no aspirations of BIGLAW.  4 years with my wife, schedule flexibility, and time with my son?  Like the corny commercial says... PRICELESS!

lawislaw2000

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Re: Fiancee says kids or law school - pick ONE - advice please
« Reply #24 on: March 11, 2008, 05:06:05 PM »
lawislaw,

It will be something I will regret for the rest of my life if I don't get a higher degree, especially in a field that interests me.


Basscadet,

This says it all. Then I think you should pursue a law degree. BUT... I think you should get rid of your unrealistic, bordering silly idea of finish in the top 10% or quit. A couple things to keep in mind regarding the 10% or 20% thing:

A) This only matters if you want a Biglaw job. There are plenty of medium and small sized firms that will hire lower into the class. If you are limiting yourself to a biglaw job, then the best route is to study hard for the LSAT and get into as highly ranked of a school you can. But I'd advise you to do more research on how easy/difficult it is to get a biglaw job from the school you will attend. Even if you do finish in the top 10% that only gets you an interview. Getting hired is even more improbable. I read a situation on the boards that from a Tier 3 school, of the top 10% that got interviewed by big law firms, only 4 were extended offers. That breaks it down to approximately 1.5%. This makes sense as it would not be possible for big law firms to hire all 10% of all Tier 2, 3, and 4 schools. Also, I'd advise you do more research about the age factor and biglaw hiring. From what I hear (not very reliable sources) the odds are against older candidates.

BTW, same thing for summer clerkships. The $2,600/week jobs are out there and for those that get one, that'll take a good $20-25K chunk off your tuition. But the same rules as above apply. You are silly to expect to get one as these predominantly go to those at highly ranked schools and a handful of students at lower ranked schools. Don't quote me on this, but again, do your research. I don't think I'm far off, if at all.

B) Grading, which will determine your class ranking, is notoriously arbitrary in law school. The exams are written as opposed to multiple choice, so the grading is very subjective. This fact alone, should make you think twice about the top 10% or drop out mentality.

I'm just trying to keep it real with you. I'm definitely an advocate of pursuing your passion, but I'm also an advocate of doing so realistically. And you going through all the application/admission/taking classes trouble to expect top 10% is definitely unrealistic.

I would advise you to focus on learning and becoming the best lawyer you can be and not to focus on class rank. Keep in mind, even if you don't graduate near the top, you can still prove yourself at a medium to small size firm and transfer laterally or move up to a higher paying job. Two to three years out of law school your class rank won't matter as much as your work accomplishments and legal skills, which goes back to my advice about focus on learning and becoming a great lawyer.

If you take a more realistic approach, you sound like you have the ambition to make a career in law happen.

Basscadet

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Re: Fiancee says kids or law school - pick ONE - advice please
« Reply #25 on: March 12, 2008, 05:05:37 PM »
I wanted to thank you for putting so much thought and time into this informative post.

My response is tardy because I have made the difficult decision that I want to be with a gal who will support me with my goals and not stand in my way.

And to the rest of your post...

I am not set on a biglaw job. Actually, I'd prefer not to chase biglaw dreams. I certainly have no delusions of six-figure starting salaries or any other such nonsense.

I want to go to law school because I feel like it is what I need to do. With that does come a (legitimate, IMHO) concern about my ability to repay the debts I incur while in school. Perhaps I am overly sensitive to this concern considering what I am going through right now in my soon-to-be-over relationship.

But you and others on this board have bolstered my resolve and I no longer feel that it is unfair that I want both law school and children.

Thank you very much.

lawislaw,

It will be something I will regret for the rest of my life if I don't get a higher degree, especially in a field that interests me.


Basscadet,

This says it all. Then I think you should pursue a law degree. BUT... I think you should get rid of your unrealistic, bordering silly idea of finish in the top 10% or quit. A couple things to keep in mind regarding the 10% or 20% thing:

A) This only matters if you want a Biglaw job. There are plenty of medium and small sized firms that will hire lower into the class. If you are limiting yourself to a biglaw job, then the best route is to study hard for the LSAT and get into as highly ranked of a school you can. But I'd advise you to do more research on how easy/difficult it is to get a biglaw job from the school you will attend. Even if you do finish in the top 10% that only gets you an interview. Getting hired is even more improbable. I read a situation on the boards that from a Tier 3 school, of the top 10% that got interviewed by big law firms, only 4 were extended offers. That breaks it down to approximately 1.5%. This makes sense as it would not be possible for big law firms to hire all 10% of all Tier 2, 3, and 4 schools. Also, I'd advise you do more research about the age factor and biglaw hiring. From what I hear (not very reliable sources) the odds are against older candidates.

BTW, same thing for summer clerkships. The $2,600/week jobs are out there and for those that get one, that'll take a good $20-25K chunk off your tuition. But the same rules as above apply. You are silly to expect to get one as these predominantly go to those at highly ranked schools and a handful of students at lower ranked schools. Don't quote me on this, but again, do your research. I don't think I'm far off, if at all.

B) Grading, which will determine your class ranking, is notoriously arbitrary in law school. The exams are written as opposed to multiple choice, so the grading is very subjective. This fact alone, should make you think twice about the top 10% or drop out mentality.

I'm just trying to keep it real with you. I'm definitely an advocate of pursuing your passion, but I'm also an advocate of doing so realistically. And you going through all the application/admission/taking classes trouble to expect top 10% is definitely unrealistic.

I would advise you to focus on learning and becoming the best lawyer you can be and not to focus on class rank. Keep in mind, even if you don't graduate near the top, you can still prove yourself at a medium to small size firm and transfer laterally or move up to a higher paying job. Two to three years out of law school your class rank won't matter as much as your work accomplishments and legal skills, which goes back to my advice about focus on learning and becoming a great lawyer.

If you take a more realistic approach, you sound like you have the ambition to make a career in law happen.

MahlerGrooves

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Re: Fiancee says kids or law school - pick ONE - advice please
« Reply #26 on: March 12, 2008, 05:21:44 PM »

My response is tardy because I have made the difficult decision that I want to be with a gal who will support me with my goals and not stand in my way.


Does this imply that you have ended your relationship?

Basscadet

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Re: Fiancee says kids or law school - pick ONE - advice please
« Reply #27 on: March 12, 2008, 05:33:36 PM »

My response is tardy because I have made the difficult decision that I want to be with a gal who will support me with my goals and not stand in my way.


Does this imply that you have ended your relationship?

Yes.  There are contributing factors that have lead us to break up, but clearly the subject of my original post is a major reason.

She does not deal with stress very well and I am someone who is not content to coast the rest of my life for the sake of not rocking her boat. I simply cannot put it any plainer than that.

MahlerGrooves

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Re: Fiancee says kids or law school - pick ONE - advice please
« Reply #28 on: March 12, 2008, 05:39:52 PM »

My response is tardy because I have made the difficult decision that I want to be with a gal who will support me with my goals and not stand in my way.


Does this imply that you have ended your relationship?

Yes.  There are contributing factors that have lead us to break up, but clearly the subject of my original post is a major reason.

She does not deal with stress very well and I am someone who is not content to coast the rest of my life for the sake of not rocking her boat. I simply cannot put it any plainer than that.

Well, good luck to you. 

lawislaw2000

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Re: Fiancee says kids or law school - pick ONE - advice please
« Reply #29 on: March 12, 2008, 09:39:54 PM »

Yes.  There are contributing factors that have lead us to break up, but clearly the subject of my original post is a major reason.

She does not deal with stress very well and I am someone who is not content to coast the rest of my life for the sake of not rocking her boat. I simply cannot put it any plainer than that.

Wow, sounds like some major changes are taking place over there. Good luck and kick some ass!