Law School Discussion

Consumer Fraud?

Re: Consumer Fraud?
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2006, 02:45:08 PM »
The law schools will trick prospective students with bogus statistics about the great career opportunities available to graduates. Don't believe everything you read. First of all, there are the documented lies, like the admissions brochure for my law school alma mater, Arizona State University College of Law (ASU), which listed the average starting salary for graduates with job offers at graduation from private law firms. But what percentage of the class graduates with a job offer in hand from a private law firm? About 10%? Trumpeting the average salary for 10% of the class is d**mned deceptive. I further suspect that some law schools outright lie on their reported career placement statistics. Think about public companies. They have a strong incentive to lie on their financial statements, so that is why they have to prepare their statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and the accounting has to be audited by an independent public accounting firm. Despite these safeguards, companies like Enron are still caught lying on their financial statements.

I completely agree. Before I entered law school, I was a successful stock trader and the reason why I went to law was to achieve some sense of security in my life. I went to a 4th tier school (the highest I could have probably qualified for was 3rd tier) because it was the only 2-year school in the nation. When I entered law school I studied 12-16 hours per day and had very little discretionary income. I had a great first semester (a 4.0 GPA) but I got exhausted very quickly and my competition was wising up fast. My grades were average by the time I graduated and all I had under me was an internship in a boutique firm. To make matters worse, I could barely cover my living expenses between the time I was studying for the bar and the time when I got my bar results. For the first time in my entire life I had my electricity turned off :(

Anyway once I got my bar results, the only offer I got was from the boutique firm in Westchester, NY that I interned. The firm only paid $50k/yr with an opportunity of getting a raise to $60k after 3 months. I worked 50-90 hours per week at that firm with little time for myself and limited funds to make use of any free time I had. My net pay was just under $2,800 per month and I could barely make ends meet. Anyway, after 3 months my raise never came so I decided to work way fewer hours because at that point I wouldn't even be satisfied with a $60k/yr salary. The culture of the firm is completely intolerable because the legal assistants give attitude, the receptionist is slow and rude and the boss has the most volatile temper I have ever seen; boy what a dysfunctional firm I have to work for! The legal assistant doesnt do anything that I ask of her and always finds an excuse for not doing anything. The receptionist is very cold and slow working and one of the secretaries although her heart is in the right place is a disaster!

Instead of devoting most of my time to my firm, I decided to work the standard 35 hour work week. Fortunately for me, I was also retained part-time to represent a corporation that operates in multiple states. Now with the consent of my employer I am working 7 days per week and earning something close to six figures. Before I entered law school I had a feeling that if I dont go to a top tier school, there's no point in going. I went anyway and paid the price for it. Had I known how difficult the 1st year out of law school would have been for me, I would have never gone to law school and instead went for an MBA in a top tier business school (My GPA and GMAT scores qualified me for any business school in the country). For those of you going to law school, I strongly recommend that you either go to a 1st-tier school or seek another profession because career propects are very brutal.

Re: Consumer Fraud?
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2006, 04:09:23 AM »
Someobody cut and paste a real post here

Re: The Big Lie
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2006, 08:43:33 AM »
Every year tens of thousands of wannabe lawyers enter law school. The majority will be extremely disappointed by their career opportunities. Law school is a big lie. People enter law school with the idea that a law degree is their ticket to a comfortable upper middle class lifestyle. In fact, just the opposite, law school for most is a ticket to a worse financial state than if they had not attended at all.

This news is hard for people to accept, because "everyone knows" that lawyers make a lot of money. Right? Well look at the salaries for government lawyers in your area. They probably start in the 30s. Why would anyone take a job paying in the 30s if law jobs pay six figures? They wouldn't. After a decade or more of service to the state, you salary will most likely max out in the five figures. That's a pretty lousy salary for a job that requires 3 years of graduate school education filed out with inordiante amounts of stress. There are plenty of people without any graduate education earning six figures, and they don't have to pay back the student loans that lawyers have to take out in order to pay for law school. Bill Gates is the richest man in the world and he doesn't even have an undergraduate degree.

There are some lawyers who start out with a good salary. They work for what they call "BIGLAW" on the internet message boards. Big law firms pay their associates a starting salary in the six figures. But here's the sad news: only a tiny percentage of law school graduates will ever get these six figure jobs at big law firms. Unless you go to a top law school, the six figure big law firm job will most likely not be yours. There are only 14 top law schools. That's right. Not 10, not 15, but 14. They are, in descending order of prestige: Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, NYU, Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, University of Virginia, Duke, Northwestern, Cornell, UC Berkeley, and Georgetown. And that's it. Go to any other law school, and your chances of getting a big law firm job will be slim to none. There are also distinct levels of prestige within the top 14. Yale, Harvard, and Stanford are head and shoulders above the rest. Then Columbia, NYU and maybe Chicago round out the top 6. Attending one of these top top law schools will vastly improve your odds. The guy graduating at the bottom of the class at Harvard will have better career opportunities than the guy graduating at the top of the class at an ordinary law school.

Outside of the top law schools, the only law school graduates having decent job opportunities will be those who graduated in the top 10% of the class and who made law review. Law review and top 10% are usually the same people because at most law schools the law review members are selected from those whose grades are in the top 10% at the end of the first year. If like me, your grades weren't in the top 10% at the end of the first year, but you managed to graduate in the top 10%, you are screwed because you weren't on law review. Furthermore, most big law firms make offers to their summer associates, who get interviewed and hired during the second half of the second year, thus it's mostly your grades during the first three semesters of law school that determine your entire legal future. If you are reading this, and you're a law student who already received your first semester grades, and they aren't top 10%, then my advice is to drop out now instead of throwing more money down the law school black hole.

Despite being warned that the only way to get a decent job in law if one attends a non-top 14 school is to make law review and the top 10%, tens of thousands of suckers will enroll anyway. They think "I will be the one who makes the top 10%" or "even if I don't make the top 10%, things will work out." Let's state the odds clearly: 90% of the class will not make the top 10%. You are not the only person in law school thinking they are going to bust their ass to make the top 10%. 80% of the people start out thinking they are going to bust their ass. And some people from the 20% who are slackers are going to wind up in the top 10% too, because law school grades have a huge random element. One of the biggest slacker/party girls in my first year law school class made the top 10%. She wound up getting a high paying job at a big law firm because the law school gods decided to randomly grace her during her first semester.

Stop complaining! I agree that law school is not an automatic ticket to easy street. But I think its necessary to take a long term perspective, and over the course of a career you will probably make more as a lawyer than without the law degree. OK - I went to one of the 14 schools, but plenty of people at the next tier of schools (15-40) also do fairly well without having to be in the top 10%. I also disagree with setting government salaries as the baseline - most lawyers are in private practice, and most lawyers with 10 years of experience in private practice do a lot better than public sector lawyers - and that has little to do with where you go to school and how you do.

Furthermore, the opportunity to not just be an employee but to have a share in a law firm is pretty rare in this day and age. And because lawyers build up experience over time, you do not run the same risk of being laid off as a middle-manager who is too specialized to be of use somewhere else - there's always a need for experienced lawyers, it's just a question of how you are in the pecking order. I do not dispute the incentive of law schools to exagerate their placement records. And as far as the non-elite law schools, it is even harder to be in the top 10% than most people realize. At most of these schools, about 10% of the class is made up of scholarship students - who were given a deal: they pay little or not tuition. And their above average track records assures the school that it will have some stars with successful careers that it can trumpet to prospective students. Take that into consideration in calculating your odds for finishing at the top.

And I agree that the big firm life is difficult. I never imagined I could work 60, 70, 80 hours a week for years on end at rather tedious tasks. But the $100 an hour is a living wage - I can support my family by myself. Overall, I believe you're better off as a professional in a thriving field where there is a lot of demand. And if you can't go to medical school, law school does offer security not available in other careers. My vote for the Big Lie goes to non-professional, non-business graduate programs. The career prospects and risk/reward radio for M.A. and Ph.D. candidates is much worse that for law school. You see a lot more unemployed M.A./Ph.Ds than J.D./MBAs, and a lot more students drop out of the former programs than the later once they figure out their prospects. I know a number of M.A./Ph.D. dropouts - and, worse, people who finished those degrees and now have jobs that have nothing to do with their degree

Re: Consumer Fraud?
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2006, 01:42:34 AM »
Law school is what you make of it. Sure maybe your grades may not place you in the top 10%, but how hard did you really try to write-on to law review. How hard did you really try during OCI?

I'm not accusing you of not having tried hard enough. I'm just trying to make a rhetoric point that several ppl are disappointed b/c they expect everything to be done for them. This is the advantage that T14s have. For those that do not attend a T14, you really have to try hard when it comes to getting a job and writing onto law review.

Re: Consumer Fraud?
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2006, 07:49:53 PM »
Many people operate under the belief that "all" lawyers make a lot of money. This is largely incorrect. Furthermore, you must look at what you are being paid by TIME not final dollar amount. Here's what I mean. Let's look at a lawyer that makes $80,000 per year. Sounds like a lot at first, but it's not, because he works 60 hours per week, 50 weeks of the year. In the end, he is putting in close to 3,000 hours annually at a pay rate of $25 an hour. Does $25 per hour seem like a lot for you? I am not a lawyer and make $30 per hour now.

The point is, there are plenty of ways to make money in the United States. I can look around my city and show you hundreds of lawyers who make minimal hourly rates. So, let's say you go through law school and get a job making $25 per hour. Will you be happy?

And no, you won't be buying a Ferrari. If you live in a good area, $80k annually will just keep your head above water.

Going through law school can open up many doors, but thinking you are going to become rich is a fool's dream -- especially if you can't go above and beyond the call of duty.


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Re: Consumer Fraud?
« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2006, 08:06:50 PM »
of course a lot of those jobs that pay 25/hr dont give overtime.

Re: Consumer Fraud?
« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2006, 01:28:39 AM »

Anyone who goes into law school thinking that a law degree guarantees, in and of itself, financial wealth, personal fulfillment, and/or good health is a complete moron. Where you go to school simply dictates how difficult it is going to be to achieve the aforementioned success. It is easier for a HYS to find his or her choice job, be it BIGLAW, DOJ, or NRDC, that it is for a tier 4 grad. That does not mean, however, that every HYS grad will be successful and every tier 4 grad will be unsuccessful.

Let's look at a lawyer that makes $125,000 per year -- someone who works for a big law firm. Sounds like a lot at first, but it's not, because he works 70+ hours per week, 50 weeks of the year. In the end, he is putting in close to 3,500 hours annually at a pay rate of $35 an hour. Does $35 per hour seem like a lot to you? The guy is not a lawyer and makes $30 per hour now.

Re: Consumer Fraud?
« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2006, 03:14:54 AM »
John Glat, f**ck you, @#!* you and law school!


Re: Consumer Fraud?
« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2006, 03:49:27 PM »


Fourth, if you can make $30/hr now and you don't want to be a lawyer, than don't be a lawyer.


I understand, being called "lawyer" is important for some people, although for the next 10-15 years after they finish school they'll have less money on their hands than, say, the paralegal working for them ..


Re: Consumer Fraud?
« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2006, 06:37:39 PM »

I understand, being called "lawyer" is important for some people, although for the next 10-15 years after they finish school they'll have less money on their hands than, say, the paralegal working for them ..