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Author Topic: is law a good career to get into?  (Read 9627 times)

sh89

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is law a good career to get into?
« on: August 18, 2007, 04:57:11 AM »
I posted a similar thread in the pre-law section, but I want hopeing to get some more feedback from the law students/lawyers here.

Anyway, I've been doing a lot of research, and most of it shows that law is NOT a good career choice. For example, big organizations like U.S. News rate is as one of the worst/most overrated careers. There have also been a flood of anti-law books and websites that show the field in a very negative night.

I am only 18 and I don't have a single college credit, so I may be jumping the gun. Yet, I have always seen law as a fascinating and some-what lucrative buisness, but the research that I have seen states to the contrary. I have felt that my dreams are shattered(which has resulted in nightmares and stuff  :'( ).

The negative things about the legal field are supposedly as follows:

--most big firms(mostly corporate law) hire young lawyers but work them to death for 7 years, and then they fire/hire some other new lawyer fresh from a top school

--the hours are crazy, and it's hard  to raise a family. Sometimes you work 60 to 70 hours and on the weekends

--once you're in law, it's difficult to start afresh in another field

--the massive tuition is a scam to get $$$ from students.

Is all of this true? Should I really worry about all of this, or should I be less gullible?

TDJD84

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Re: is law a good career to get into?
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2007, 05:14:57 AM »
right on the money ::)

lawdaddy

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Re: is law a good career to get into?
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2007, 08:30:20 AM »
The negative things about the legal field are supposedly as follows:

--------------------------------------------------------------
--Is all of this true? Should I really worry about all of this, or should I be less gullible?

Yes, you need to be less gullible!  Just think it through.

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--most big firms(mostly corporate law) hire young lawyers but work them to death for 7 years, and then they fire/hire some other new lawyer fresh from a top school

Yes big firms hire young lawyers and work them to death but it works both ways.  You can work a few years and pay your loans off
very quickly.  At that point you can go anywhere and do anything you want.  You are not tied to that job.  It was a means to an end.  If you want to make partner - great, keep going. If not - that's great also.  You got options.
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--the hours are crazy, and it's hard  to raise a family. Sometimes you work 60 to 70 hours and on the weekends

You got to remember it all comes down to the billable hour.
40 hr/wk x 50 weeks (less some vacation time) = 2,000 hours and that is if you bill every minute of every day between 8-5.  That's not possible.  Hence, yes you have to get those extra hours in somewhere.  That's not to say you cannot be at home at night (sitting in bed reading), or the weekend (at the beach reading) and bill for hours worked there.  If your a morning person go in at 6am instead of 8am.  There are all kinds of ways to find extra hours.

Will it get old - sure.  It's not forever (see above).
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--once you're in law, it's difficult to start afresh in another field

Maybe, maybe not.  Look around - just on TV alone you see all these reporters who have JD's and MD's.  If you want a portable degee that allows you to do most anything - get an accounting degee with a CPA.
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--the massive tuition is a scam to get $$$ from students.

Get real.  It's not a scam.  Education is a business, nothing else.  They have a product to sell and they charge a premium price for it.  They have buildings to maintain and salaries to
pay - they have to make a profit just like any other business. 
Just like any other business if you think the price is to high - just don't pay it.  Go somewhere or do something else.

---------------------------------------------------------------

Yes, a law degree is expensive.  You could end up 50 - 150,000 in debt.  That's a lot of money to pay back.  If you're one of the lucky ones who are good enough to get the BIGLAW job then you
can pay them off quickly.  If not, you have to be prepared for what it will take.  If your really good you can make partner and then be set for life.  But, there are no guarantees.

Like anything else, you need to do your due dilligence, and then make an informed decision.  It comes down to: What is it you want and how passionate are you about it.

NOTE: You listed all the bad things.  You also need to make a list of all the GOOD things.

LVP

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Re: is law a good career to get into?
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2007, 09:07:01 AM »
There's more to law than working for a big firm.  What you're saying about big firms does square with what I've heard from other people about big firms.  But there are a lot of other things you can do with a law degree.  Our school hosted a panel of prosecutors and public defenders and every single one of them loved their jobs.  You can also work for small firms, do solo practice, work for a court, work for a non-profit, clerk for a judge...

As far as anti-law books and websites...  It's probably true that we have a glut of lawyers in this country.  On the other hand, the market wouldn't support the number of lawyers we have if we didn't in some sense "need" them.  I wouldn't worry about what somebody who wrote a book thinks.  If you want to be a lawyer, go to school, work hard, do well, and be a lawyer.  Research the various jobs, and don't do one you won't like.  Or, if you don't want to be a lawyer, don't!
Pizza is the reward, death is the risk.

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sh89

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Re: is law a good career to get into?
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2007, 08:44:17 PM »
Thank you for your replies!

jacy85

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Re: is law a good career to get into?
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2007, 08:46:55 PM »
It's overrated because a ton of people go to law school for lack of a better thing to do, or else they have uneducated ideas of making huge money from the moment they receive their diplomas.

If you are really interested in the law, and know what you're getting into, then you will likely enjoy your career.  Go in with open eyes.  You haven't even started college yet, so go out and get an internship, or volunteer for some legal organizations, even as a gopher.  Talk to attorneys, make some contacts, and do some research.  You can figure out if the law is right for you.

sh89

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Re: is law a good career to get into?
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2007, 01:40:59 PM »
--once you're in law, it's difficult to start afresh in another field

Maybe, maybe not.  Look around - just on TV alone you see all these reporters who have JD's and MD's.  If you want a portable degee that allows you to do most anything - get an accounting degee with a CPA.



SO getting my CPA license(and other similar licenses) and perhaps majoring in finances/business administration is a good alternative to law?

I'm just exploring my options.

lawdaddy

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Re: is law a good career to get into?
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2007, 04:21:08 PM »
It all depends upon what it is you want. What do you have a passion for?  Nobody can answer that for you.

From my experience accountants are ALWAYS in demand.  With an accounting degree with a CPA you could do most anything - sales, operations, management, start your own accounting practice, etc, etc. 

If you threw in a masters degree (accounting, finance, etc)maybe WALL STREET.

If you threw in a JD it would become invalable as understanding the law and how business works would help you tremendously.  You could specialize in tax law or business law.

With accounting/JD you might have a shot with the FBI.

What would be the cost of a master degree vs a juris doctor.
Some grad schools are as expensive as law degrees (per year) yet you don't hear people calling them a scam.  Grad school is 2 years, law school is 3.  Therefore, a JD costs 50% more.

How adverse to debt are you?  How smart are you?  You might not be smart enought to get into law school.  You might hate accounting.  You just gotta sit down, plan it out and think it through.

Somewhere along the lines you might even go OOOPPPS boy did I ever make a mistake.  Backup, punt and startover.

Thats what happened to my daughter.  She talked of law during High School but didnt go that route to start with.  One day I asked her why.  She told me Law School was about 4th on the list of things she wanted to do first. If she had gone to LS right out of college she proablu would have hated it and regretted not doing the other things first.

She went down the list and experienced them all and is now is law school (3L).  She is smart enough to go to a T1 but attends a T4 (right school, right place, right time) and has an "OH MY GOD" offer for when she graduates next year.

Figure out what you have a passion for, make a plan, tell your parents to get out of the way and go for it.






Ad oculos

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Re: is law a good career to get into?
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2007, 02:55:48 PM »
It's a good idea to be wary of anyone giving advice on a message board, particularly if they're the father of someone who attends a tier 4 law school.  I'm not sure that LawDaddy is giving the best advice here.  He--like most fathers--is obviously proud of what his daughter has accomplished, but that clouds his understanding of how things really work. 

In particular, his advice to consider accounting is perhaps misguided.  A close friend got his degree in accounting, then passed the CPA exam.  He works at one of the Big 4.  I, on the other hand, went to a t14 law school and will be working at a firm next year (if not clerking).

We'll work comparable hours.
He'll make $45k; I'll make $160k + bonus.
He has a 13 year partnership track.  I have an 8 year partnership track.
He does audit, which means he drives around BFE, stops at gas stations, and counts the rolls of toilet paper in stock.  I do regulatory work.  Admittedly, it's not super exciting either, but it sure beats what he's doing.

A regular accounting B.S. plus a M.P.A./M.Acc. isn't going to put someone on Wall Street unless they're from a fairly elite undergrad. 

If you want to work for the FBI, the JD route is by far the easiest, assuming you go to a decent school.

If you have the grades/LSAT to go to a t14, do it without hesitation.  If you don't, only go to law school if (1) you can make it into a top tier school, or (2) you can take a full ride to some school and you're okay with making 30-40k coming out.

lawdaddy

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Re: is law a good career to get into?
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2007, 04:42:25 PM »
Instead of bashing me - give the boy some options (the benefit of your great wisdom).

1. Yes she does go to a T4 - by choice, not by necessity.

2. She is not on full scholarship.

3. We won't discuss $$$$$$$ but you have nothing on her.
   Do not mislead people that if you DO NOT go to a T14 you might as well stay home.
   T14 = better options (you bet).

4. Proud of you - YOU BET.