Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: Should I drop out?  (Read 3879 times)

gratif

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 196
  • 2.7/167
    • View Profile
Should I drop out?
« on: January 25, 2008, 10:15:15 PM »
I'm at a T3.  I just got done with my first semester and I have about a 2.02 GPA.  My full-tuition scholarship is contingent on a 2.0.  I think I can graduate with less than 40K in debt but it looks like I'm on pace for the bottom 20%.

Honestly, what happens to the kids at the very bottom of T3s?   Ballpark salary?  Would I be better off as a fireman?

roygbiv

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 20
    • View Profile
Re: Should I drop out?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2008, 10:28:04 PM »
Small time insurance defense, personal injury, and general practice (e.g., write wills, divorces, etc.) or local government work like the public defenders office or as a municipal court clerk. If you can keep your scholarship I'd say stick with it because you're getting off cheap otherwise I'd ask yourself if you'd be happy doing the aforementioned work and if you can pay off your loans.

Skallagrim

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 135
    • View Profile
Re: Should I drop out?
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2008, 11:16:18 PM »
$40k debt isn't bad. Lots of people graduate undergrad with that kind of debt. If you lost your scholarship though...you may want to seriously reconsider law school. Paying full price for a T3 would be rough.

At the very bottom of a T3 I'd still say the options are broader than roy is making them out to be. Assuming you're in a small or midsize market where your school is respected, and if you're not shy about getting your name out there, I'm sure you could get an associate position and eventually rise through the ranks of a respectable local firm.

Government work, on the other hand, might require more than a JD and a pulse, depending on local supply and demand.

Don't lose hope. It's only the first semester. Figure out what happened and do it better next time.


NATUREBOY

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: Should I drop out?
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2008, 02:12:31 AM »
Most people from T3's or T4's end up going into private practice or working for the DA.  You'll make about $50k starting out.

I would question whether the 2.0 is sufficient to keep your scholarship.  Most schools re-evaluate scholarships annually.  In other words, just because you got a scholarship for 1L doesn't mean you get one for 2L or 3L.  Double check.

LegalMatters

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 103
    • View Profile
Re: Should I drop out?
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2008, 03:10:05 AM »
Despite the naysayers, you can improve your academic performance this semester if you isolate your problems from last semester and improve them. If you still have your scholarship, congratulations.

From what I am hearing from attorneys in the real world, after a couple years on your first job, your grades law school grades don't mean anything. If you can't do the job, it doesn't matter if you had a 4.0 GPA; you're worthless.

jacy85

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 6859
    • View Profile
Re: Should I drop out?
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2008, 10:06:59 AM »
You can find a firm job in a small or maybe midsize firm, even with those grades, but you have to network your ass off.  Start today.  I highly recommend Kimm Walton's Guerrilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of your Dreams.  It's a great book, with lots of tips on the job search, especially on networking and how to get noticed no matter what your grades are.

1LMan

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 129
    • View Profile
Re: Should I drop out?
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2008, 12:43:34 PM »
Most people from T3's or T4's end up going into private practice or working for the DA.  You'll make about $50k starting out.

I would question whether the 2.0 is sufficient to keep your scholarship.  Most schools re-evaluate scholarships annually.  In other words, just because you got a scholarship for 1L doesn't mean you get one for 2L or 3L.  Double check.

Not sure where you got your facts, but DA jobs are not easy to land, generally.  They are stepping stones for DOJ and a T3 grad with subpar grades isn't going to make a very strong candidate. 

My advice is to keep working hard this semester and try to raise that gpa.  However, IMO, I wouldn't take on 40k or more of debt to get a JD from a T3 with minimal job prospects, but that's just me.

jacy85

  • LSD Obsessed
  • *****
  • Posts: 6859
    • View Profile
Re: Should I drop out?
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2008, 03:17:35 PM »
Most people from T3's or T4's end up going into private practice or working for the DA.  You'll make about $50k starting out.

I would question whether the 2.0 is sufficient to keep your scholarship.  Most schools re-evaluate scholarships annually.  In other words, just because you got a scholarship for 1L doesn't mean you get one for 2L or 3L.  Double check.

Not sure where you got your facts, but DA jobs are not easy to land, generally.  They are stepping stones for DOJ and a T3 grad with subpar grades isn't going to make a very strong candidate. 

My advice is to keep working hard this semester and try to raise that gpa.  However, IMO, I wouldn't take on 40k or more of debt to get a JD from a T3 with minimal job prospects, but that's just me.

I think this is 100% true re: DA offices in metro areas.  If you're willing to live in middle-of-nowhere GA or somewhere similar, the rural DA offices are more forgiving.  You definitely won't make a lot of money, and you might be bored in a small, rural area, but you'll probably be given a rather significant amount of responsibility right away, and the cost of living will be low.

3Loser

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 38
    • View Profile
Re: Should I drop out?
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2008, 06:44:00 PM »
2.0 from T3? You should probably drop out if you want to work in law unless you don't accrue any debt whatsoever during LS. Also, your career prospects might be better (monetarily) if you drop out and save the opportunity costs of the next two years. That being said, if you "want it bad enough"--whatever that means--you should stay. Just remember, the job market is not great, and is going to get worse.

smujd2007

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 2417
  • January 6, 2007
    • View Profile
Re: Should I drop out?
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2008, 09:49:31 PM »
This is the credited response.

Yes, the job market is not great, but that's for everything.  You are probably much better off staying for the next 2 years and doing the best that you can than dropping out now and have to worry about finding a job, etc.  I was in a similar situation after my first semester of law school (except at a lower tier 1 school), but I decided to stay.

Lots of legal jobs (and those related to law) don't ask for transcripts, especially once you graduate and pass the bar. Don't offer it unless they ask for it--its not being deceitful, its being stragetic.  They have a strategy, why shouldn't you?  But you can't expect to make 6 figures right off the bat either. You might have to be creative in your job search--try some paralegal positions, teach at a technical school/ community college, do temporary agency work, work at a smaller firm, or even for a nonprofit to get some experience. 

I would advise you not to make the decision about dropping out until you totally finish the first year.  It could get a lot better. If you do stick it out, use second and third year to make some meaningful contacts, get some part time jobs (paid or unpaid) so that people can get to know you--great references are always good to have, and depending on who you know, can make a world of difference.

Also, in terms of paying back loans with a low salary, there are some programs in some states that assist with loan repayment while you work in government or with a nonprofit.  You should check those out as well.

Its not the end of the world, it just requires a change in perspective.  And, if you really want to work for a firm, get to know some people and you may be able to lateral in after practicing for 2-5 years.

Good luck!


$40k debt isn't bad. Lots of people graduate undergrad with that kind of debt. If you lost your scholarship though...you may want to seriously reconsider law school. Paying full price for a T3 would be rough.

At the very bottom of a T3 I'd still say the options are broader than roy is making them out to be. Assuming you're in a small or midsize market where your school is respected, and if you're not shy about getting your name out there, I'm sure you could get an associate position and eventually rise through the ranks of a respectable local firm.

Government work, on the other hand, might require more than a JD and a pulse, depending on local supply and demand.

Don't lose hope. It's only the first semester. Figure out what happened and do it better next time.


smujd2007 is now an Attorney at Law!