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Author Topic: Desperate for good advice  (Read 2123 times)

Jeff

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Desperate for good advice
« on: June 13, 2004, 12:08:45 AM »
Just finished 1st year at Cardozo.
Was big let down.
Grades are all over the place- a few As and B- leaving me with a B/3.0 GPA.(B- were in 6 credit course).

I am starting to regret ever going to law school.

I am rethinking my career strategy and I am very confused. Reality is that coming out of Cardozo with 3.0 I have NO shot at big law and will probably have to take job at small firm making 40K.

First year was absolute hell. (I have been in the military and I swear there was nothing harder then this). I worked my ass off and feel like it did not get me anywhere. I was always to of the class (3.98 GPA in college) and now I struggle to get a B.

Thinking of several options:
Dropping out- but I think that this would be a waste after all the suffering- might as well get JD.

Switching to part time school- possible getting a job (in law or back in finance) and at least getting experience and making some money.

Switching to CUNY- finish degree with minimal debt.

As of now- i have very little debt from cardozo- got fat scholarship- and lost it.

Also, I am married with 2 kids and money is starting to get a bit tight- thinking that going to school full time and not working might not be worth it if i have no shot at big law.

what do u think?

Ryan

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Re: Desperate for good advice
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2004, 09:04:19 AM »
Your situation sounds very difficult and rough.  I will be heading to Hofstra and borrowing $40k for my first year.  I have been wondering what will happen to me after my first year if I end up with a 3.0 as well.  As such, I don't have any advice to help you, but I am very interested in your plight as it could end up being my plight as well.

I guess I wonder if a 3.0gpa really does close off biglaw completely?  And if you don't go biglaw, is $40k all you can get with a JD today?  That is pretty scary knowing we could graduate with $100k in debt.  If we can only make $40k out of the gate, then how in the heck can we make those loan payments?

I wish you the best of luck Jeff, and will actively monitor this thread.

Ryan

SirenSCF

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Re: Desperate for good advice
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2004, 10:56:30 AM »
I say stay at Cardoza, you still have the name of the school.  What happens if you transfer to CUNY and for some reason aren't able to do a lot better.  Also I doubt many from CUNY go into big law either; and don't forget there are other things besides Big law and small firm.  Maybe you will have to take a job for 50/60K at first but you can work up. As far as part-time, that might be good, I think if you could get a job in the industry somewhere to get experience, that might help.  For instance, go to a large company that you might want to work in-house for.  When I was in NYC I worked for Sony, I have a feeling if i had stayed I could have become in-house just because I got to know everyone there including HR.  What about working for a bank in the legal dept?
Also keep in mind that that some people do worst there IL year and are able to pick up from there.   
good luck, I can almost assure you you're through the worst

risk

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Re: Desperate for good advice
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2004, 12:30:42 PM »
Dont get caught up in this big firm nonsense.Talk to some attnys in large firms and small ,and some "general practitioners" and get their advice.many associates are misreble being overworked fishes in a big pond.

lawgirl

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Re: Desperate for good advice
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2004, 12:37:56 PM »
Ask yourself: Do I really want this? If you do, don't let this get you down. Figure out what you need to fix, find whatever help you need and JUST DO IT. If you really want it, you can make it happen.

dgodin2

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Re: Desperate for good advice
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2004, 05:06:55 PM »
Isn't a 3.0 GPA around average at Cardozo?  I was under the impression that the median salary for Cardozo grads was over 100 K.  If that is the case, why would you have to settle for a 40 K job?  Do you really believe that the average Cardozo grad makes
40 K?  Relax. It seems like you are somebody who has always been an A student.  You are now shocked and disappointed by the grades that you achieved because you underperformed based on your expectations.  You may just have to lower your expectations a little.  If going to school part time at Cardozo while working is the best thing for you, do it.  However, keep in mind that working full time would prevent you from taking on an internship which would ultimately hinder you in gaining a good job. 

My advice is to talk to people at the career office at Cardozo.  Do research to find out what the difference would be in terms of job prospects as a result of working and going to school part time instead of going to school full time.  In addition, consult with attorneys especially recent Cardozo alumni.  Recent Cardozo alumni would have a good idea of what the current job market is like.  The most important thing you can do is not panic.  Make the best decision you can based on the information that you have.

onehandedreader

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Re: Desperate for good advice
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2004, 06:07:02 PM »
Grades are all over the place- a few As and B- leaving me with a B/3.0 GPA.(B- were in 6 credit course).

I am rethinking my career strategy and I am very confused. Reality is that coming out of Cardozo with 3.0 I have NO shot at big law and will probably have to take job at small firm making 40K.

the B- is in a 6credit course, but it's still just one class?  if that's correct, i would say don't worry too much about it.  one disparate grade isn't going to kill your job prospects, and you can even include your undergraduate transcripts in your letters to potential employers to show them what you're capable of. 

also, as risk mentioned, i can't tell you how many times i've heard of people going into a large firm and leaving after a year or two.  alot of people work for a large firm and become really miserable because of the hours and type of work, and then go to a smaller firm and are really happy with what they do. 

stop freaking out over a bad grade.
www.antihumanity.com
how real can one keep it?

Jeff

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Re: Desperate for good advice
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2004, 12:58:42 PM »
Hey Guys. Me again.

Thanks for the replies. It was helpful to hear your opinions on the matter. Still dont have a solution but over the weekend, I began doing some research and spoke with 2 partners in big and midsize law firms. I have some pretty decent connections with attorneys firms of all sizes (family connections) and I hope to seek some good advice from these practicing lawyers.

However, things are still looking pretty gloomy. I know that I still have to speak to more people and that 2 lawyers is not enough, but the conversations I  was having were not too encouraging. Albeit, I am glad they took place because I would much rather prefer hearing reality (as bad as it may be) then a bunch of fluff from someone who does not know what they are talking about (i.e. cardozo career office).

Big Law Partner Said- "what were you thinking when you went to Cardozo in the first place? That you would have a shot at big law if not in top 10%?"
His arrogance was a bit offensive, and I do take everything he said with a grain of salt. His point was that if you are not top 10 at cardozo (>3.55) you have no shot UNLESS you have connections. Truth is he is right. This year at cardozo (to my knowledge) only top 10 found these jobs- in fact there are 2 law review and top 10 students that i am aware of who are still jobless.


Midsize partner said- "if you make a journal you still have a shot by us"- only problem is that usually the better students are the ones to make the journals too. However, there is still hope there.

several of you had suggested that one bad grade is nothing to cry about- but the point is I am still left with 3.0. Additionally, being married with 3 kids puts an entirely different spin on the situation. Living expenses are enormous (eating into savings) and the fact of accumulating another $70k of debt to finish off the next 2 years at cardozo is extremely frightening. That is why I thought of the CUNY option. But as SirenSCF suggested- finishing with a 3.0 at cuny would be a complete disaster.

very tough call.

The part time option seems to me the best - if i could actually do it and manage both. The only problem is - and I have been looking in to this over the last few days- is that with a 3.0 you are not going to have an easy time transferring into an even lower school. right now it looks as if the best shot i have would be only at st johns part time. (but this does not reduce debt). Even NY law does not look like an easy shot. (no offense to ny law and st johns - great schools- i am interning with students from them and they are very bright and nice people).

dgodin2 - sorry to bust your bubble- very few people at cardozo start off in 6 figures. That is reality. perhaps if economy picks up- employers will go deeper into the cardozo class. 3Ls at cardozo are struggling to find work-  a lot take jobs with small PI firms for 30-50k.Also I have heard of quite a few people not practicing law- but taking other types of jobs.

gotta run now, but i will check in later with some additional thoughts.
BTW, any questions about cardozo feel free to as

rainmkr07

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Re: Desperate for good advice
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2004, 01:16:02 PM »

dgodin2 - sorry to bust your bubble- very few people at cardozo start off in 6 figures. That is reality. perhaps if economy picks up- employers will go deeper into the cardozo class. 3Ls at cardozo are struggling to find work-  a lot take jobs with small PI firms for 30-50k.Also I have heard of quite a few people not practicing law- but taking other types of jobs.

gotta run now, but i will check in later with some additional thoughts.
BTW, any questions about cardozo feel free to as


Yikes.  I hope the market isn't like this nationwide.  I know Cardozo is a far better school than Hofstra, at least rankings-wise, and I would fear not making the top 10% at Hofstra, and also be facing unemployment, or $50k at a small firm.  If I wasn't going to owe $145k in loans, that would be one thing, but if the highest salary a non top 10% law student can get is $50k, then that is disturbing news to say the least. (Considering 90% of students at Cardozo or Hofstra would fall into this bracket each year).



canuck

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Re: Desperate for good advice
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2004, 01:53:05 PM »
just wondering....did you just have another child?  is that why you feel so stressed about the money?

there's still 2 more years for you to boost your grades and by that time you'll resume will stand out from the rest even if you don't have that BigLaw summer experience.

don't lose hope.